Charlize Theron swings back into blond-bombshell mode, RenÈe Zellweger will channel Janis Joplin, and “Rings” master Peter Jackson is going ape.
The gold statues are still at the engravers, but it’s already back to work for these newly minted Oscar winners.
Early next week, Jackson returns to his native New Zealand to prepare for a remake of the classic 1933 film “King Kong.”
Jackson will pocket a whopping $20 million for helming the monster movie, starring Oscar nominee Naomi Watts as the damsel-in-distress.
Redoing “King Kong” has long been a dream for Jackson, who was forced to postpone the project back in 1996 because it conflicted with a couple of similarly ape-themed films.
“I’m making movies today because I saw this film when I was 9 years old,” Jackson has said. “It has been my sustained dream to reinterpret this classic story for a new age.”
The Oscar-winning “Rings” screenwriting fellowship – Jackson, his real-life partner Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens – have reteamed to tweak the ape tale.
While the 1930s original featured then-groundbreaking stop-motion special effects, its 21st-century update will be heavily computer-generated, with rumors that actor Andy Serkis – whose face and body were the model for Gollum in the “Rings” trilogy – will serve as the basis for Kong’s features.
Sean Penn will next appear opposite Watts in the drama, “The Assassination of Richard Nixon,” before teaming up with her compatriot Nicole Kidman for another assassination-plot movie, “The Interpreter.”
Sydney Pollack’s political thriller – in which Kidman plays a U.N. interpreter and Penn a skeptical FBI agent – is set to begin filming tomorrow at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
Meanwhile, Best Actress Oscar-winner Charlize Theron is back to her stunning best in HBO’s made-for-TV movie, “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers.”
Theron plays Swedish glamour girl Britt Ekland, Sellers’ second wife and sometime co-star, in the biopic, set to air in December.
“She looks gorgeous, totally glamorous again,” says an HBO spokeswoman.
“She’s very playful in the scenes. The film shows [Sellers and Ekland’s] meeting and their wedding and their life together – I think she had fun with the role.”
Fans who sighed at Theron’s lingering Oscar-night kiss with her Irish fiancÈ Stuart Townsend can look forward to the lovebirds pairing up on-screen for the just-wrapped 1930s-set romantic epic, “Head in the Clouds.”
Theron plays a hedonistic photographer who shares a Paris apartment with Townsend’s schoolteacher until his political activism drives a wedge between them.
“Cold Mountain’s” Best Supporting Actress RenÈe Zellweger will play Janis Joplin in a biopic tentatively titled “Piece of My Heart,” due in 2005.
Next month, Zellweger starts shooting in Toronto on “Cinderella Man” – a Depression-era drama in which she plays the wife of Russell Crowe’s boxer and folk hero, Jim Braddock – and she next appears on-screen in December as the titular ditz in the sequel, “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.”
Tim Robbins, meanwhile, follows up his Oscar-winning turn in the brooding drama “Mystic River” with a sci-fi romance – Michael Winterbottom’s “Code 46,” with Oscar nominee Samantha Morton – and a cameo in the 1970s-set Will Ferrell comedy “Anchorman,” set for release in August.
As for Sofia Coppola, who won a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for her sophomore effort, “Lost in Translation,” she’s weighing her options.
Backstage at the Oscars, she told reporters she was going to use her win as inspiration for her next project. “I want to get back to writing and write another screenplay,” she said.