The baby-faced Scottish actor James McAvoy ("Atonement," "Chronicles of Narnia") will be starring in an upcoming biopic about the life of Ian Fleming, the man who created James Bond. Pajiba.com notes this puts him out of the running for Bond.
•Meanwhile, "Salt," a nearly two year-old film starring Angelina Jolie, is slated to be released July 23rd, 2010. Originally called "Edwin A. Salt," the name of the CIA-thriller was changed after Sony couldn't land Tom Cruise to play the male lead. A dozen interns were sad on that day, for their duty was to go through the script and replace every "he" with "she." [Variety]
•Audiences said "Nein" to "Nine"! [Disengage Entertainment Weekly writing style.] The Fellini-inspired musical is about one more terrible weekend away from being a certifiable flop. In its second week "Nine" pulled in just $5.5 million despite starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman and other famous actors. Probably because it wasn't in 3-D or something. [THR]
•Today Variety wonders how much influence critics actually have on the Oscars race. Basically, it comes down to critics' ability to champion smaller movies that might otherwise get overlooked by Oscar voters. Case in point: "The Hurt Locker," which has lots of Oscar buzz thanks, in part, to winning a number of critics awards. [Variety]
•USA! USA! USA! USA Networks was number one in cable ratings for the year. The network's two most-watched series—"Royal Pains" and "White Collar"—propelled it to a record 3.27 million viewers in prime-time. Fox news Channel was 4th, effectively killing CNN whose ratings fell off 30% this year. Although to be fair, the CNN new years special with Kathy Griffin, Lance Bass and Anderson Cooper hasn't happened yet. It will be huge. [THR]