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Industry Roundup: Titans and Center of the Earth Get Sequels

Sam's onboard for 'Titans 2.'

Take Two: Warner Bros. is moving ahead with two high-profile sequels, though both may be made without key players from the first films. The studio is looking at a desired spring 2012 arrival for a sequel to Clash of the Titans, with Sam Worthington returning to star. However, they have decided not to bring back director Louis Leterrier, though he will remain onboard in an executive producer capacity. For the sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth, the studio is looking to replace director Eric Brevig, which reportedly doesn’t sit well with star Brendan Fraser, who is threatening to ditch on the sequel. Though to us, that seems less like a threat and more like offering the studio a favor. [Deadline]

Howard's End: Bryce Dallas Howard will join the DreamWorks adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s best-seller The Help, playing the villainous role of Hilly Holbrook, the “beehive hairdo-wearing busybody who is cruel to the black maids and generally rubs everyone the wrong way.” Emma Stone and Viola Davis are attached to the film, which will be directed by Tate Taylor, who also wrote the screenplay. After her role as evil Victoria in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, when it comes to channeling Hilly, Howard shouldn’t need any help. [Deadline]

Ice Breaker: Ice Cube will star alongside Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster in Rampart, a police-corruption drama written by James Ellroy and directed by Oren Moverman (The Messenger). Cube will play a homicide detective sent to investigate a shady cop (Harrelson). Harrelson, Foster, and Moverman worked together on The Messenger, which means the trio's surely riotous inside jokes will sadly go right over his head. [Deadline]

Empire Grows
: Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, co-creators of Gossip Girl and The O.C., are expanding their recently formed Fake Empire production company to incorporate the development of feature films. Paramount has given them a two-year first-look producing deal, empowering them with “a lot of autonomy to buy projects with a hip youthful vibe.” Considering Schwartz’s Chuck is eternally near-death and Gossip Girl is running out of pairings that wouldn’t constitute incest, this is probably a welcome new avenue for the duo. [Deadline]

Burning Up: Paramount has picked up George Mahaffey’s spec script Heatseekers, which will be produced by Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes. No director is attached, and no details are yet available about the plot. And with that information alone, we’re going to predict this will be a Taylor Lautner espionage thriller, filmed in 3-D of course. [Variety]

Common Ground: Common announced today he will be releasing a new album, tentatively titled The Believer. He is working with producers Kanye West and No I.D., both of whom he has worked with on previous albums. He’s aiming for a fall release, with a single by late summer or early fall, depending on how long it takes for him to get things just wright. [Billboard]

The Sin Crowd: Michael Seater (Life With Derek), Emily Meade (Twelve), and comedian Bo Burnham will star in Sin Bin, an indie coming-of-age comedy directed by Billy Federighi. The movie follows a “put-upon” high-school student (Seater) who lets his friends use his van (called “the Sin Bin”) for their sexcapades. He also finds himself in a love triangle with a cute classmate (Meade) and a “villainous student liaison" (Burnham). Somehow, neither Michael Cera nor McLovin is in this. [HR]

Jokey's on Him: Paul Reubens will voice the smurf “Jokey” in the upcoming live-action/CGI 3-D film The Smurfs, directed by Raja Gosnell. He joins an eclectic group attached to the project, including Neil Patrick Harris, George Lopez, Quentin Tarantino, Katy Perry, Sofia Vergara, and Michael Cera. If only all these folks were appearing in a giant episode of Pee-wee’s Playhouse, what fun that would be. [Deadline]

Common Ground: Common announced today he will be releasing a new album, tentatively titled The Believer. He is working with producers Kanye West and No I.D., both of whom he has worked with on previous albums. He’s aiming for a fall release, with a single by late summer or early fall, depending on how long it takes for him to get things just wright. [Billboard]

Spooky: Sara Paxton has nabbed the lead in The Innkeepers, a ghost horror film about "the last two clerks in a hundred-year-old haunted hotel" in the last days before it closes. And in a fun twist, the movie is being filmed in a real New England hotel “long suspected of actually being haunted," making this potentially the most authentic B-movie horror flick ever. [HR]

Photo: Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images