- 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]