Industry briefing

Will Ferrell tops Hollywood's most overpaid list, Warner Bros expands its Harry Potter empire, and more in film news.

Ferrell 'worst value'

Forbes magazine named Will Ferrell this week as Hollywood's most overpaid actor for the second year running. Bringing in a paltry US$3.35 (Dh12.30) in profit for every $1 that he was paid over the past year, the star of Anchorman and Elf held off the likes of Eddie Murphy (number two on the list with an average return of $4.45 per $1 earned), Tom Cruise (fifth) and Adam Sandler at number nine.

Efron is Akira favourite

Reports suggest that the actor Zac Efron is close to securing a starring role in the live-action adaptation of the manga novel, Akira. The actor, who most recently starred in the poorly received drama Charlie St Cloud, is being lined up to play Shotaro Kaneda, the leader of a Tokyo gang. The veteran actor Morgan Freeman has also been attached to the project as a possible candidate for the role of the main antagonist, The Colonel.

Possibilities for Oldboy helm

A Twitter comment, courtesy of the entertainment website Pajiba, has fuelled speculation that several A-list directors could be in the running to direct the long-awaited English-language remake of the award-winning 2003 South Korean revenge film Oldboy. The three directors rumoured to be in line for the plum job are Matthew Vaughn, Danny Boyle, and Steven Spielberg.

Another award for de Niro

The legendary actor Robert de Niro is about to add another award to his already impressive collection. The actor, who came to prominence in The Godfather Part II, will be presented with the Cecil B DeMille Award at next year's Golden Globes. De Niro has acted in more than 70 films since his debut in the Brian De Palma production The Wedding Party, which was released in 1968. He has won two Oscars.

Peli takes Poe project

Oren Peli, the director behind the popular supernatural films Paranormal Activity and Paranormal Activity 2, has signed on for the horror movie Eliza Graves. The screenplay is said to have been inspired by a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe. Given Peli's previous success in the genre, the film - about a newly graduated doctor working in an insane asylum - will be hotly anticipated by horror fans.

Warner buys Potter studio

Warner Bros, the studio behind the Harry Potter franchise, has announced its purchase in the UK of Leavesden Studios, a key player in the production of the Harry Potter films. In a move expected to create hundreds of jobs in the British film industry, Warner also revealed plans to redesign Leavesden, at a cost of £100 million (Dh5954m), providing two sound stages, filled with Potter memorabilia, which will be open to the public.