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News Update: Grand Ole Opry Flooded, Spielberg Picks War Horse, Stone Tours South America

by Amy Dawes
May 4, 2010 1:26 AM
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Thompson on Hollywood

Flood damage to the Grand Ole Opry House was reportedly topic number one in the Nashville music community Monday. At least three feet of water encroached on the historic venue, whose stage is considered hallowed ground in country music. This weekend's shows have been relocated to the Ryman Auditorium downtown, an equally revered venue that fortunately was unaffected. Heavy rains and the rising waters of the Cumberland River devastated middle Tennessee over the weekend.

Somehow, first-time author Nicole LaPorte, who's a staffer at The Daily Beast and a former Variety scribe, completed a book about the making and unmaking of Dreamworks, even though its employees were forced to sign lifelong nondisclosure agreements and its founders - Spielberg, Katzenberg and Geffen -- put their considerable influence into dissuading the town from talking. Some 200 interviews took place, often in dark corners and seedy diners. LaPorte gives her first reading of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's The Men Who Would Be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies And A Company Called Dreamworks this Friday at 8 p.m. at Book Soup in West Hollywood.

Thompson on Hollywood

Speaking of Spielberg, post-The Pacific, the director is continuing to pursue his love for epic war films by choosing War Horse as his next project for DreamWorks, which acquired film rights to the 1982 Michael Morpugo children's book and subsequent stage play in December. Produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Revel Guest, the World War I film about a boy and his horse was adapted by Lee Hall (Billy Elliott) and Richard Curtis (Love Actually). Spielberg had a wealth of projects to choose from, including biopics of Lincoln and Gershwin. Distributor Disney is aiming to release the film on August 10, 2011, well before Spielberg's 3-D performance-capture collaboration with Peter Jackson, The Adventures of Tin-Tin: The Secret of the Unicorn, hits screens on Dec. 23, 2011.
Oliver Stone will tour South America next month with his doc South of the Border, aiming to develop an audience for the documentary about Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and his influence, reports Michael Cieply in the New York Times. The doc debuts June 25 in New York.

A web series isn't such a bad gig, according to Illeana Douglas, who spoke on a panel at the Digital Hollywood technology conference in Santa Monica Monday. Douglas, who created and stars in the Ikea-sponsored "Easy to Assemble," said creatives get better treatment and greater latitude in the new medium than on television. Viral marketing was another hot topic at the annual event, which kicked off with keynote speaker Joe Roth, former studio head and "Alice in Wonderland" producer, and continues through Thursday.

Anonymous Content and Rocklin/Faust plan a feature about the Catholic Church's cover-up of its pedophile priest scandal as reported by the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative team at the Boston Globe.


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