the industry

Robert Redford to Get to the Bottom of the Lincoln Assassination

Lincoln Killers: Sorry, Spielberg! Robert Redford will direct The Conspirator, a historical drama telling the story of Mary Surratt, a D.C. boardinghouse owner who allegedly supplied John Wilkes Booth with weapons after he had assassinated Lincoln. It’ll also focus on Mary’s son, John, another alleged, never-convicted member of the conspiracy, and a Union hero named Frederick Aiken, who believed Surratt was innocent and defended her in court. He didn’t do too good a job, though, because she totally got hanged. [HR]

Sick Jokes: James McAvoy will star in I’m With Cancer, the Seth Rogen–produced adaptation of Will Reiser’s novel based on Reiser’s own experiences successfully battling the disease as a twentysomething. Reiser is also writing the screenplay, with Nicole Holofcener directing; Seth Rogen is producing with Evan Goldberg and also co-starring. First Funny People, now this — so who wants to step up and make this terminal-illness-comedy thing a real-deal trend? [Variety]

Will & Doug: Will & Grace executive producer and co-showrunner Gary Janetti has landed an untitled comedy at NBC about a gay man and a straight … man … who are best friends. Brilliant! The good news is, NBC will probably end up reusing the old Will & Grace ampersand, currently in storage in Burbank, for this show. [HR]

Moat Movies: Michael Douglas’s Further Films has optioned Shirley Jackson’s 1962 novel We’ve Always Lived in the Castle. The book revolves around the Blackwell family, who are forced into seclusion after the unexplained lethal poisoning of several of their family members. The main characters are younger sister Merricat, agoraphobic older sister Connie, and batshit-crazy uncle Julian; the plot kicks into gear with the arrival of a long-lost cousin looking to secure the family’s fortunes. Jackson’s best known for writing the short story The Lottery which, if that plot description somehow didn’t give it away, means Castle is going to be super-duper creepy. [HR]

Lucky Dog: Natasha Henstridge will star in the Hallmark Channel original movie Family Gathering. She plays a woman who comes home to her family farm and trains a sheep dog, Lucky, who not only saves the farm but also becomes a town hero. We know it’s a long shot, but we’re going to hold out hope that Henstridge impales someone with her tongue, Species-style, in this one, too. [HR]

Hugs and: Kiss will release a new three-disc set, Sonic Boom, exclusively at Wal-Mart, on October 6. Along with a greatest-hits collection and a live DVD will be a new studio album which is, according to Gene Simmons, “the best new record we’ve done since Destroyer. It is Rock and Roll Over meets Love Gun … If you’re a fan of our stuff from about 1977, you’ll feel right at home.” Damn you, Gene Simmons, and your Jedi Mind Trick–like selling tactics. [Billboard]

Robert Redford to Get to the Bottom of the Lincoln Assassination