by Kevin Dreyfuss
>> Billy Dee is Back
Veteran smoothie Billy Dee Williams ("The Empire Strikes Back") is one part of the ensemble cast of writer/producer/director Jordan Walker Pearlman's ("Snow Taxi") indie drama, "The Visit," which just wrapped principal photography in Los Angeles. Obba Babatunde ("Miss Evers' Boys") and Hill Harper ("Beloved") headline the cast, starring as brothers who have taken different roads in life, one ending up behind bars fighting to gain parole. Along with Billy Dee, veterans Marla Gibbs ("Lost and Found"), Rae Dawn Chong ("The Color Purple") and Felicia Rashad ("Cosby") anchor the cast. Morris Ruskin and Vicky Pike will executive producer for Shoreline Entertainment, with Shoreline also controlling worldwide rights.
>> Gomez Drowning Mona
Nick Gomez ("Illtown") is taking an interesting turn with his next film, "Drowning Mona," a black comedy currently in pre-production. Written by Peter Steinfeld, the quirky, darkly comic mystery set in a small town stars Danny DeVito ("Living Out Loud") and Bette Midler ("Get Shorty"), as well as Jamie Lee Curtis ("True Lies"), Neve Campbell ("Wild Things") and Casey Affleck ("Good Will Hunting"). The high profile cast is joined by a high profile team of producers, as DeVito, Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher and Jonathan Weisgal from Jersey Shore are executive producing. Producers are Al Corlet, Eugene Musso and Bart Rosenblatt for Neverland Films.
>> Cox and Arquette Shrinking
Erstwhile director Richard Benjamin ("The Pentagon Wars") is currently filming the indie romantic comedy "The Shrink is In," in Los Angeles, starring Courteney Cox and David Arquette (Of the "Scream" series), with Cox also taking the role of Executive Producer. Written by Joanna Johnson, from a story by Johnson and Alison Balian, the film tells the story of a writer with panic disorder who pretends to be a psychiatrist to get closer to another anxiety sufferer. The cast also includes the great Jon Polito (forever immortalized in "Barton Fink"), and is produced by Andrew Form and S. Tag Mendillo. Along with Cox, Executive Producers include Devesh Chetty, Warren Kohler and Patrick Palmer.