the industry

Will Smith Now the Fresh Prince of Egypt

Not Afraid of West Nile Virus: Braveheart’s Randall Wallace will write The Last Pharaoh for Columbia. Will Smith will star as Taharqa, the pharaoh who fought against Assyrian invaders in ancient Egypt. The story, of course, is all about how the pharaoh’s life got flipped, turned upside down, and Taharqa would like to take a minute — just sit right there — and he’ll tell you how he became the God emperor who battled Esarhaddon in 677 B.C. [Variety]

Alba Squared: Jessica Alba will star in the modern-day fable, An Invisible Sign of My Own, directed by Mad Hot Ballroom’s Marilyn Agrelo from a script by Pam Falk and Mike Ellis (The Wedding Planner). Story follows a woman who retreats from the world to study math and then becomes a second-grade math teacher. Complications ensue when she forgets to Please Excuse [Her] Dear Aunt Sally. [Variety]

Arachnomania: Tobey Maguire and Sam Raimi are keen to make Spiderman 4 and 5 a reality with Sony, thus leaving behind well-worn trilogy territory in favor of a more Star Trekkian “let’s keep making ‘em until they stop being profitable” strategy. Zodiac’s Jamie Vanderbilt is onboard to write the first script, which producers are looking to shoot back to back with the second movie. As for Tobey’s involvement, “The studio never considered any other actor,” said a Sony spokesman, adding, “especially not Josh Bednarsky.” [HR]

Two Rake the Leaves: Susan Sarandon and Richard Dreyfuss will join Ed Norton in Leaves of Grass, a comedic thriller by actor turned writer-director Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou?). Keri Russell is in negotiations to join them in the story of a professor and his pot-growing twin brother who gets involved in a doomed scheme against a drug lord. Of course Dreyfuss knows all about doomed schemes: Remember Mr. Holland’s Opus? [HR]

Paramount Spanks it: Paramount has optioned New York–based eighth-grade teacher Jake Wizner’s debut novel, Spanking Shakespeare, the story of a high-school kid trying to get into college and find a girlfriend. Spiderwick ChroniclesMark Canton and Ellen Goldsmith-Vein are producing. One Amazon reviewer couldn’t recommend it to teenagers “due to its obsession with masturbation, sex, drug-use and alcohol, and other (very real) stuff.” Color us EXCITED. [Variety]

Will Smith Now the Fresh Prince of Egypt