Hours after murder arrest, Oscar Pistorius movies in the works
By Bill Zwecker February 14, 2013 7:46PM
A picture taken on January 26, 2013 shows Olympian sprinter Oscar Pistorius posing next to his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg. South Africa's Olympic sprinter Oscar "Blade Runner" Pistorius was taken into police custody on February 14, 2013, after allegedly shooting dead his model girlfriend having mistaken her for an intruder at his upscale home. AFP PHOTO / WALDO SWIEGERSWALDO SWIEGERS/AFP/Getty Images
Updated: February 14, 2013 9:29PM
Only in Hollywood — or should I say “Hollyweird!”
Literally hours after the news broke about former South African Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius’ arrest on murder charges Thursday, I was tipped to not one but two separate film projects already being developed either for TV or the big screen, based on this tragedy.
“Of course, any project would have to be developed using the history of Pistorius’ huge Olympic challenge and all that,” said an individual working on one project — requesting anonymity, due to the sensitivity of the case.
According to reports from TMZ and other outlets, Pistorius has been involved in what South African police authorities call “previous incidences” and numerous “allegations of a domestic nature.” However, there are conflicting reports about whether any of those incidents involved Reeva Steenkamp, the live-in girlfriend he is accused of shooting to death.
† Speaking to a source knowledgeable about a second Pistorius film (simply based on his Olympic experiences and already quietly in the works), I asked about casting for the role of the double-amputee athlete. “With all the digital filmmaking wizardry and special effects, that isn’t an issue,” said the source.
As for possible actors? Ryan Gosling was one name that cropped up late Thursday.
TV TALK: While no one enjoys losing a television program, I’m hearing Ricki Lake is not exactly devastated by the axing of her latest talk show gig. According to sources close to Lake, the longtime TV presence had been unhappy with the way the daily chatfest was being produced and the less-than-lofty topics being showcased.
† Talk about a heart of gold! During a recent taping of his Chicago-based show, Steve Harvey was so touched by Kendra Harris’ tale of woe, he truly stepped up. The Maywood resident has been saddled with a half-finished “fixer-upper” house and lacks the funds to finish the work. After she won $651 in the Harvey show’s “Makin’ It Rain” money booth, Harvey wrote Harris a personal check for $10,000 — and promised to connect her with Chicago’s Maya Construction and show designer Mikel Welch to make sure the house truly would become Harris’ dream home.
† Congrats to the local TV standouts named to received this year’s Silver Circle Award, being presented by the Chicago /Midwest Chapter of the TV Academy May 17 at the Knickerbocker. Those talented folks include WGN-Channel 9 news director Greg Caputo, WTTW-Channel 11 producing veteran Jamie Ceaser, WLS-Channel 7 entertainment reporter Janet Davies, WFLD-Channel 32 political reporter Mike Flannery, WBBM-Channel 2 reporter Mike Parker and WLS-Channel 7 sports anchor Jim Rose. The group’s Pioneer Award will be presented to NBC Chicago legend Norm Barry, whose career dated back to the true infancy of television.
OSCAR BITS: Several excellent Motion Picture Academy sources are buzzing about the best supporting actor’s race and how it is likely one of the closest contests for Oscar gold in years.
“A lot of folks are betting on [Christoph] Waltz winning [for ‘Django Unchained’], but Tommy Lee Jones’ win at the SAG Awards has upped his chances,” said a veteran producer and Academy voter.
“Don’t count out [Robert] De Niro,” added another Academy member and longtime studio exec. “There are a lot of people who loved him in ‘Silver Linings Playbook,’ and he has a ton of built-in popularity and affection from many. … Plus though he’s won two Oscars, he hasn’t won in more than 30 years, and many feel he deserves a third one.”
† Chicago’s own Jan Lewis, the wife of jazz legend Ramsey Lewis, is delighted her hand-painted bangle bracelets are among the freebies being included in this gift bags given to nominees, presenters and plus host Seth MacFarlane.
I’s only fitting that at Chicago’s officially sanctioned Oscar party at the Gene Siskel Film Center, there will be a drawing for one of the bangles — allowing the winner to wear a piece of jewelry matching those being given to the likes of Jennifer Lawrence or Anne Hathaway.