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READY FOR A CLOSE UP — An open casting call by the producers of the UPN reality show 'America's Next Top Model' drew a crowd at Copley Place mall yesterday.
READY FOR A CLOSE UP — An open casting call by the producers of the UPN reality show "America's Next Top Model" drew a crowd at Copley Place mall yesterday. (Globe Staff Photo / Jonathan Wiggs)

Chasing a Kate for new flick; early action for director

CASTING CALL There's promising news about the big-budget movie based on Belmont author Tom Perrotta's bestseller ''Little Children." The Hollywood trades are reporting that four-time Oscar nominee Kate Winslet is in negotiations to star, and ''In the Bedroom" director Todd Field will be behind camera. No word on where the film will be shot, but since the story takes place in a nice but largely nondescript suburban town, Belmont might work well. Perrotta, whose book ''Election" was turned into a fine film starring Matthew Broderick, co-wrote the screenplay with Field. ''I'd love it if Kate Winslet was in the movie, but it's always weird when they say 'in negotiations,' " Perrotta told us yesterday.

IT'S SHOWTIME His father's a Boston cop, but Brian Scannell's a low-life mobster. At least, he plays one on the Showtime drama ''The Brotherhood." A Bulger-esque tale of two Irish brothers -- one good, one bad -- the series starts filming this summer in Rhode Island. ''The whole Irish thing hit a little too close to home here, I guess," said Scannell, who grew up in West Roxbury but lives in LA now. ''Providence also made us feel welcome." And the Robin Dawson/Mark Drago crowd didn't? ''All I know is what I've seen in the press." The highly anticipated series is being directed by Phillip Noyce and stars Jason Clarke and Jason Isaacs.

ADVANCED SCREENING Someone get director Werner Herzog a Palm Pilot. The legendary German filmmaker showed up at a conference at Williams College the other day -- a year early. That's right, the celebrated director of ''Aquirre, the Wrath of God" was expected in April 2006 but arrived in the Berkshires last week. Whoops. Notorious for his erratic behavior (he once threatened to kill Klaus Kinski when the actor asked out of ''Aquirre"), Herzog agreed to hang around Williamstown. A screening of his latest film, an unfinished science-fiction flick called ''Wild Blue Yonder," was hastily arranged at Mass MoCA in North Adams.

BARD ON THE BOARDS As they do every year, the city's legal eagles will gather tonight to recite Shakespeare. Lawyers, judges, and elected officials taking part in the reading of ''Romeo and Juliet" at the Schubert Theatre include Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey as Juliet, state Senator Jarrett Barrios as Romeo, US attorney Michael Sullivan as the Prince, and Middlesex DA Martha Coakley as the Nurse. Others in the production, ably directed by Steven Maler of Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, are US Civil Rights Commissioner Jennifer Braceras, state Supreme Court Justice Martha Sosman, and attorneys Harvey Silverglate, J.W. Carney Jr., and Leonard Lewin.

GOOD SPORTS Yankees pitchers Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright used their off day to get new 'dos at Avanti on Newbury Street, and Sox scourge Hideki Matsui was in the Union Oyster House for lunch yesterday. . . . No ballplayers showed up for Chris Berman's surprise 50th birthday bash at the Greatest Bar the other night, but new Patriots receiver Tim Dwight did stop by, along with teammates Lonie Paxton and Dan Koppen. Also there were Boston Concession big shot Joe O'Donnell, Yankees play-by-play guy Michael Kay, and talk show host Eddie Andelman.

OF PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE Showing up at Mayor Tom Menino's press conference yesterday to announce the renovation plans for the Paramount Theater were arts benefactor Ted Benard Cutler, Emerson College president Jacqueline Liebergott, Tony Pangaro of Millennium Partners, owner of the Paramount, and Rob Orchard, founding member of the American Repertory Theatre.

SPY WHERE Word is a former chief of MI6, Britain's secret intelligence service, is spooking around the Fletcher School at Tufts. Sir Richard Dearlove, who's master of Pembroke College at Cambridge University these days, is on a monthlong fellowship at Fletcher and delivered a lecture last night on ''The Craft of Intelligence." Let's hope someone from the CIA was listening.

TV LISTING Need your daily Johnny Damon fix? The Sox center fielder will be featured on next week's episode of ''Cribs," showing off his sweet spread in Orlando. Also opening their homes to MTV's cameras are Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil and motorcyclist Ivan Tedesco. (''Cribs" airs Tuesday at 10:30 p.m.) . . . Perched atop the Hotel Commonwealth, CBS4 sportscaster Bob Lobel will be enjoying a bird's-eye view of Sox games this season. Lobel's broadcasting his UPN 38 postgame show live from the roof all season and occasionally will do his 11 p.m. sportscast from the rooftop.

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