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In The Works: Williams to Play Ol' Dirty Bastard, Imagine Going to '1984,' Russell's 'Bullshit'

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood March 22, 2012 at 4:12PM

HBO favorite Michael K. Williams (Omar Little on "The Wire," Chalky White on "Boardwalk Empire") has signed on to star as the late Ol' Dirty Bastard (aka Russell Jones) in "Dirty White Boy." The true story charts the rise of the VH1 intern who became Ol' Dirty Bastard's manager...
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Michael K. Williams
Williams photographed by Terry Richardson

- HBO favorite Michael K. Williams (Omar Little on "The Wire," Chalky White on "Boardwalk Empire") has signed on to star as the late Ol' Dirty Bastard (aka Russell Jones) in "Dirty White Boy." The true story charts the rise of the VH1 intern who became Ol' Dirty Bastard's manager and his misadventures with the rapper before his death in 2004. He died of a drug overdose two days before his 36th birthday.

Joaquin Baca-Asay (cinematographer on James Gray's "We Own the Night" and "Two Lovers") will direct for the first time, from the original script by Brent Hoff. The producers behind Mike Mills' "Beginners," Lars Knudsen and Jay Van Hoy of Parts & Labor ("Old Joy," "Cold Weather"), are teaming with Todd Hagopian (Ocean Size Pictures.) K5 International's Oliver Simon and Daniel Baur are financing and handling sales.

- Brian Grazer and Ron Howard's Imagine Entertainment, along with Julie Yorn's LBI Entertainment, are developing an adaptation of George Orwell's 1949 dystopian novel, "1984," about endless war, surveillance, propaganda, paranoia and mind control -- you know, like our current society. Street artist Shepard Fairey brought the project to Imagine, who then met up with Yorn when they discovered they were both seeking rights through Orwell's estate. They are currently out to writers. The novel has been adapted many times for film and television, including the 1984 version starring John Hurt and Richard Burton (the trailer is below).

- While David O. Russell, who is currently in post on "The Silver Linings Playbook," has not yet chosen his next film, he is in early discussions to direct "American Bullshit" for Sony Pictures and Atlas Entertainment. The director's Oscar-winning star of "The Fighter," Christian Bale, is also rumored to be linked to the project. The script comes from Eric Singer; it follows a con artist who is working with the FBI to uncover a corruption case that reaches from Atlantic City to Washington, DC. [Variety/DH]

This article is related to: IN THE WORKS, CASTING WATCH, News, News, Directors, Genres, Remake, Books


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.