1 - MTV Splash Page reports that the latest draft of Jim Uhls' script for Rex Mundi is finished, and that the producers, who include star Johnny Depp, are hunting for a director. Depp will play Dr. Julien Sauniere and if that name sounds familiar then you're probably thinking of curator Jacques Saunière from 2006's The Da Vinci Code. It's neither plagiarism nor coincidence: Bérenger Saunière was a priest who figured prominently in the conspiracy theories that inspired both Dan Brown's novel and the comic book that Rex Mundi is based on which also concerns "the Holy Grail and a descendant of Jesus Christ". The major difference between the two seems to be that Rex Mundi seems to suppose that Martin Luther was assassinated before the reformation got going and that, as a result, Roman Catholic Church now dominates the world.
2 - And it looks like 2009 or 2010 might be the year of the adapted comic books that sound a bit like The Da Vinci Code. Gale Anne Hurd is the producer for an adaptation of the comic-book series about a woman who discovers that she's the latest in a long line of holy female warriors descended from Jesus and Mary Magdalene. The Magdalena (not to be confused with the evangelical women's film Magdalena) will feature ex-Bros star Luke Goss (who recently played Xerxes in One Night With the King) as an agent who works with the Inquisition. More from The Hollywood Reporter.
3 - There's no knowing what Lars von Trier's psychological thriller / horror film Antichrist will be like, but Variety is reporting that it has finally raised its $11 million budget. Also in Variety is news that Last Temptation of Christ's Willem Dafoe will star. Will he be playing the eponymous villain, and if so is this the first time that an actor has played both Christ and the Antichrist? (Max von Sydow's turn as "The Tracker" in What Dreams May Come doesn't really count).
4 - Staying with Variety, they are reporting that Mark Ruffalo is going to direct his first film Sympathy for Delicious. Ruffalo will also be in front of the camera along with James Franco and script writer Chris Thornton. Thorton will play the role of wheelcahir bound faith healer "Delicious" Dean O'Dwyer, whilst Ruffalo stars as "a Jesuit priest who tries to help him come to terms with the limits of his gift".
Thanks to Peter Chattaway for all of the above.
5 - Meanwhile, Jeffrey Overstreet reports that Martin Freeman is starring in a comedy about two rival schools seeking to outdo each other with their Nativity plays. Jeffrey got the story from Variety which claims that Ashley Jensen of Extras fame will also have a role. No mention of Ricky Gervais or Stephen Marchant, who worked with Freeman in The Office and Jensen in Extras. Incidentally the writer of the last Nativity movie, Mike Rich, has penned a script for Secretariat.
6 - The release date for the highly anticipated Prince of Persia has been pushed back by almost a year. Whereas it was originally scheduled for release June 2009, Hollywood Reporter says it's looking like it won't arrive until May 2010.
7 - Finally, Film.com have an article on Steve Coogan's Hamlet 2. They report that whereas a film featuring a "Sexy Jesus" would normally be getting slammed by Conservative groups, Hamlet 2 isn't being because they criticise the ACLU.