Relearn the Alphabet with Spike Lee and Robert De Niro
· The New Yorkiest project of 2010 could arrive courtesy of Spike Lee and Robert De Niro, who are in talks to collaborate on a TV series about life in Manhattan's gritty, ravaged, semi-bohemian Alphabet City during the '80s. Lee would direct and De Niro would produce the pilot for Alphaville, which will survey the butting of the neighborhood's gang and drug culture against its thriving art and music scenee. I can hardly wait to see which power-mad, break-dancing MC dominates the show's power rankings. [THR]
Oprah Winfrey anchors an unlikely dream team, apes run wild on MTV, and more Hollywood Ink after the jump.
· As far as matches made in heaven go, this one is probably on page 89 of a very long list. Nevertheless, Oprah Winfrey will team with cinematic war criminal Sam Mendes on Netherland, Focus Features' adaptation of the acclaimed novel about a Dutch expat learning cricket and establishing new bonds in New York's immigrant community. Winfrey and Mendes will co-produce, and the latter may direct a script commissioned from Christopher Hampton (Atonement, Dangerous Liasons). Somewhere, Oprah's other, justifiably bitter partner Tyler Perry sulks in disapproval. [Variety]
· MTV will invest in the enduring cult of Greg the Bunny, offering a spinoff to that series' Warren the Ape. The show will follow the travails of titular puppet in a mock-nonfiction format, according to an exec who kind of brilliantly confessed to taking the piss out of his own network: "[Warren] has fallen so far from grace, all he can get is an MTV reality show." [Variety]
· This one is still sinking in: NBA superstar LeBron James will make his feature debut starring as himself in Universal's comedy Fantasy Basketball Camp, about a couple of guys who sign up for their hero's sports camp only to accidentally involve him in their "various life issues." And Brian Grazer will produce. His motivation? "I initially sought LeBron out because my 8-year-old son, Thomas, and I were just dying to meet him," Grazer mentioned. Great -- but a whole movie? Would an autographed jersey or maybe a joint trip to Medieval Times have not been enough? [Variety]
· Gael Garcia Bernal is starving for some cheese, and Overture Films has obliged him with Earthbound. Bernal will star opposite Kate Hudson, who portrays a terminally ill woman who falls for her doctor. Bring Kleenex. [Variety]