GIRLS, START your engines.
Production is underway in and around Nashville on "Hannah Montana: The Movie," starring Miley Cyrus. It will be in theaters next spring, probably timed to Miley's first stint in rehab.
Just kidding! She's a delightful young woman.
The feature-length plot follows Miley Stewart, whose growing popularity as Hannah Montana is making her do crazy stuff (like pose half-naked for Vanity Fair) while she loses her inner Mileyness. So she returns home to Crowley Corners, Tenn., and small-town America teaches her what's really important.
R U XIted?
From Cannes and beyond
The Hollywood Reporter says Jonathan Demme will direct a documentary about Bob Marley, replacing the previously announced Martin Scorsese.
The goal is to release the film Feb. 6, 2010, the 65th anniversary of Marley's birth.
* Oliver Stone has found his Dick
The Hollywood Reporter says Dreyfuss is likely to join Josh Brolin's George W. Bush in Stone's upcoming "W."
Also in the cast are Thandie Newton (Condoleezza Rice) and Elizabeth Banks (Laura Bush).
In what would be super-quick for a Hollywood film, "W" begins shooting this month in Louisiana, with a goal of being in theaters in October.
* While all the above movie news was coming out of Cannes, there is another film festival going on in the world - in Dammam, Saudi Arabia.
Thirty-three Saudi movies are competing in the event and will be shown on a screen hanging from a metal rod. The films are short, ranging from three to 56 minutes.
The first movie, "Innocent Dreams," was an 18-minute short directed by 28-year-old Bashir al-Muhaishi, about a boy's passion for filming.
"It's a big honor for me," said al-Muhaishi. "I never thought a film of mine would ever be screened at a premiere."
One can see why al-Muhaishi was surprised. There are no movie theaters in Saudi Arabia. Saudis who want to watch flicks can do so only in small cultural clubs or at home - either on satellite TV or censored DVDs in which kisses and other such scenes have been cut out.
(The Saudi version of "Sex and the City," for instance, is actually shorter than the film's trailer.)
Other ways this fest is different from Cannes': There are no celebrities, no champagne and no women in the audience (unless they sneak in when the lights go down).
Oddly enough, several newspapers in this movie-free country now have a weekly movie page that highlights the cultural value of cinema. A few Saudi movies also have taken part in international film festivals.
That has angered conservatives who have flooded papers with statements denouncing movies for encouraging decadence, showing the drinking of alcohol and portraying men and women together.
Beheading infidels? Those movies rock.
And while conservative groups here may decry the sex and nudity in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," a few days ago in Saudi Arabia, Sheik Abdullah al-Obailan issued a condemnation against a cultural club in the northern city of Hayel for screening an Indian movie.
Instead of merely giving the film a "thumbs down" or taking a chopped-off thumb and pointing it down, the sheik called the club's members a "gangrene in the body" with "thoughts shrouded by illicit lust."
Pass the popcorn.
* Yesterday we mentioned that Har-
rison Ford and Calista Flockhart were husband and wife.
We could say Calista asked us to write that to put pressure on Ford, but we just goofed. Sorry to those of you whose day was ruined because you thought you hadn't been invited to the wedding.
* Yesterday we also mentioned that area-born screenwriter Matt Holloway and his writing partner, Art Marcum, had been tapped to pen a new version of "Highlander."
We heard back from the Episcopal Academy grad after deadline: " 'Highlander' is one of those great movies from our childhoods that can really benefit from an update," Holloway said. "First of all, the mythology is terrific. Who doesn't want to live forever? And because of the first film, immortality and 'Highlander' have become virtually synonymous. But is immortality a blessing or a curse? How can you have any kind of personal or romantic relationships knowing that you will eventually have to watch the ones you love grow old and die?
"Second, thanks to movies like 'Iron Man' [which the duo co-wrote], 'Batman Begins' and the 'Bourne' franchise, there is a real appetite for fantastical action presented in a realistic, bone-crunching way. We're going to broaden 'Highlander's' unique action universe. In other words, there's more than one way to lose your head."
* The Hollywood Reporter says New
York Times columnist Frank Rich has become a creative consultant for HBO.
Rich will get to keep his day job, but will not write for the Times on anything relating to Time Warner or HBO, unless he adds a disclaimer.
In related news, Tattle is now available for TV consulting work. *
Daily News wire services contributed to this report.