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Hugh Jackman Too Busy to Star in Weird-Ass Soderbergh Musical

Rejections to Cleo: Blaming "scheduling conflicts," Hugh Jackman has dropped out of discussions to star opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones in Steven Soderbergh's Cleo. The totally bizarre film will tell the story of Cleopatra (Zeta-Jones) and Marc Anthony (who Jackman would have played) like an Elvis-style musical, complete with singing, dancing, and a Ray Winstone as Julius Ceaser. Oh and all the songs were written by Guided by Voices, making this the first (and, we're betting, last) low-fi Egyptian indie love musical. For Jackman, this truly was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. [Variety]

Party Like It's 2009: Prince is set for a busy 2009. The Purple One will release three albums this year that will be distributed in physical form by a "major retailer" and on a "highly interactive" Website. This is Prince; he doesn't work with record companies. The trio will allegedly showcase Prince's rediscovery of the guitar, some experimentation with Pro Tools, and at least one duet with Q-Tip. Babies, prepare to be conceived. [Pop & Hiss/LAT]

Crises Averted: With just minutes to go on Wednesday night, Viacom and Time Warner reached a tentative deal to keep MTV Networks' nineteen channels on the cable provider's slate. A disagreement between the two companies had threatened to blackout MTV, Comedy Central, and VH1, among other channels, for the 13.3 million households with Time Warner services on January 1. The dispute centered on Viacom's desire to increase its fee to TWC by $39 million, which seems like a perfectly reasonable price to pay for MTV's top-quality programming. [HR]

At the Movies: Myriad Pictures and comic-book publisher Studio 407 are teaming up to bring the horror series The Night Projectionist to the big screen. The story focuses on Halloween Eve in a small-town movie theater. An all-night Draculathon brings in a big crowd that suddenly finds itself locked inside the theater, along with a bunch of vampires. Major blood-sucking follows. [Variety]

Hearing Voices: Zack Snyder's Guardians of Ga'Hoole has got itself a slew of voices to bring the owl story to life. Hugh Jackman, Ryan Kwaten, and Hugo Weaving will get behind the mike for the story of a young barn owl and his friends attempting to escape from a band of evil owls. We can't wait to see how Snyder handles animated owl blood! [Moviehole]

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