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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, December 26, 2006

SHOW BIZ
Julia Roberts to produce Kailua writer's movie

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Columnist

Scott Coffey

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Julia Roberts

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Gail Mack-Nowicki

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Chris Jones

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HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD: Local boy Scott Coffey, a sometimes actor as well as a writer-director, is quite excited about "Happiness Sold Separately," a novel by Lolly Winston, which he is adapting and writing for the screen. The hook: Actress Julia Roberts has signed on to produce, via her Red Om Films Banner, but also may star in the vehicle, and Fox Searchlight is in early negotiations to distribute. Coffey is a Kailuan best known for "Ellie Parker," the movie starring Naomi Watts. "Happiness" is a love story focusing on a woman who withdraws from her hubby into a world of anger and heartbreak, when she discovers he has a fling on the side.

"I've been looking for something to do with Julia for a really long time, and I finally found the project that was worthy of her," Coffey was quoted in the Hollywood Reporter, a trade publication. Roberts, meantime, provides the voice of the title character in "Charlotte's Web," and is now doing a film with Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour Hoffman titled "Charlie Wilson's War." Coffey also is in post-production for "K-Town Super Frog," a film he adapted from Haruki Murakami's "All God's Children Can Dance," and is prepping to adapt as well as direct "Miss Misery," a film based on Andy Greenwald's novel. ...

COCONUT WIRELESS: Lloyd and Janet Jones (bearing lei, of course) are off to San Francisco to catch son Chris Jones in his role as Frankie Valli in the Tony Award-winning "Jersey Boys," playing at the Curran Theatre. The Jones clan plans to convene and support their "star" Dec. 22 to 27. Chris, meanwhile, has spent time on the phone, asking role originator John Lloyd Young, who won a Tony Award this year, for tips on how best to conquer the 19 songs he sings. "Well, that's the first Tony Award winner I have on speed dial," said the actor. ...

Damon Wayans shopped at the Tori Richard shop in Wailea last week and scooped up one of the Island Christmas shirts (Tori's signature embroidered palm, bedecked with ornaments). ...

Ross Shimabuku, former local broadcaster who's now with KTVK in Phoenix, surprised mom Gladys Shimabuku on her 75th birthday Dec. 3. ...

AROUND TOWN: Gail Mack-Nowicki, whose Christmas CD this year was a welcome arrival, has a cut on the disc, "That's Christmas to Me" (penned by Gordon B. Kim), being considered for the soundtrack of the upcoming flick "Kris: the Making of a Saint." It's based on the book, "Santa Is Real," which probes the legend of Santa Claus. The film is in pre-production and is set to roll next year. ...

Alfredo Romero, formerly with the Society of Seven, is teaming up with Kit Samson in a New Year's Eve gig at the Hilton Hawaiian Village's Paradise Lounge. Which means he won't be able to catch granddaughter Chauntel, who is the featured female singer, with Zanuck Lindsey and Rock Hard Hawai'i, doing that New Year's Eve show at the Blaisdell Center. ...

Wayne DeMello, 'Iolani School director, reports that 'Iolani has snagged Disney's "High School Musical," March 1 to 3 at the Hawai'i Theatre. Rob Duvall will direct, Manny Dayao will conduct and Katherine Jones will choreograph. ...

WHEE, THE PEOPLE: Now that the dust has settled and the tears have dried, we ought to mention Jim Nabors' sterling and emotion-charged performance in his final "A Merry Christmas With Friends & Nabors" Dec. 17 at the Hawai'i Theatre. For his 10th and final appearance, he dusted off the "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" to open Act II, joining the Diamond Head Theatre's Shooting Stars in the popular lineup. If you wondered why the tyke jumped out from beneath Nabors' legs to do Nabors' usual kick-and-strut routine, it's because the star was still recovering from a bout of shingles (he never complained). He sang and cavorted and earned standing ovations triggered by "O Holy Night" (with Emma Veary doing the Hawaiian). Bless him for his passion for and gift of song and laughter. ...

And that's Show Biz. ...

Show Biz is published Tuesdays and Thursdays. Reach Wayne Harada at 525-8067, wharada@honoluluadvertiser.com or fax 525-8055.