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Tuesday, 31 October, 2000, 11:39 GMT
Myers' $20m Clouseau role
Austin Powers star Mike Myers
Myers is one of Hollywood's most bankable actors
Actor Mike Myers has reportedly been offered $20m (13.7m) to star in a remake of The Pink Panther - as studio bosses step-up production ahead of a threatened writers and film actors strike next May.

The Austin Powers star is already in multi-million dollar negotiations with Interlight Pictures to star with Helen Hunt and Anne Heche in the comedy Timepiece.

Peter Sellers
Peter Sellers starred as Inspector Clouseau in five Pink Panther movies

MGM says negotiations with Myers over reprising the bumbling Inspector Clouseau role, made famous by the late Peter Sellers, have not been finalised, according to industry journal Variety.

However, the invitation makes Myers the latest in a crop of high-profile stars being snapped up for non-stop film projects to be shot before mid-March.

Studios fear members of the Writers Guild of American (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) will stop working when their current contracts expire.

Both unions feel their members have not received fair payments for TV shows and films in the booming cable and overseas markets.

Stockpiling

Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp: Pondering multiple roles
Hollywood is still reeling from the cost of the recently ended six-month walkout by actors striking over pay rates for commercials.

Studio bosses are currently trying to pre-empt strike action by the WAG and SAG by attempting to persuade them into contract talks as soon as possible.

In the interim, they are preparing for the worst by stockpiling projects - along with many of Hollywood's most bankable stars.

Myers has become one of the hottest properties in Hollywood following his success in the two Austin Powers movies.

Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow will be working non-stop for months
In Timepiece, Myers would play a director making a documentary about a woman from a quiet rural community, played by Heche, fighting against the tyrannical rule of the nearby big city.

The Pink Panther remake could, if accepted and successful, seal Myers' future as Hollywood's number one comedy talent, leading to multiple sequels as it did for Sellers.

Other big name actors in demand over the next few months include Johnny Depp.

Depp has been offered numerous projects including action movie Takedown and Marlowe, based on the theory that Christopher Marlowe was the true writer of much of Shakespeare's work.

Gwyneth Paltrow will have three films to work on - Disney comedy The Royal Tenenbaumns, Bobby and Peter Farrelly's Shallow Hal and romantic comedy View From The Top.

Other A-list actors involved in multiple deals over the coming months include Julia Roberts, Julianne Moore, Richard Gere and Jet Li.

See also:

19 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Hollywood fears writers' strike
25 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Hollywood bruised by strike
30 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Striking actors back at work
11 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Myers settles Dieter dispute
06 Sep 99 | Entertainment
Myers voted hottest star
28 Apr 00 | Entertainment
Spacey not in the Pink
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