Hilary Duff

AP Photo/Kristie Bull/Graylock.com

Hilary Duff is chillin', Christina Ricci is channeling her inner Crayola, and Simon Cowell and George Clooney are going behind the scenes for their latest projects.

First up is Duff, who has signed on to star in the new Polish brothers comedy Stay Cool, joining a cast that includes Winona Ryder, Sean Astin, Chevy Chase, Jon Cryer and Mark Polish.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film, touted as a "knowing-your-age comedy," revolves around a thriving writer (Polish) who returns to give a commencement speech at his high school and encounters the unrequited love he left behind.

Duff, currently starring as a feisty foreign pop star opposite John Cusack in War Inc., will play a sexy senior who has eyes for the author and invites him to the prom.

Mark Polish cowrote Stay Cool with sibling Michael, who'll direct. Cameras roll in July, after which Duff will head to the studio to record a new album.

Other deals noted in today's trades:

  • Ricci is lending her pipes to the lead crayon, Yellow, in the computer-generated animated feature The Hero of Color City, about a diverse bunch of loquacious crayons who must protect their magical, multihued land from an evil tyrant.
  • YouTube phenom Paul Potts, a cell phone salesman-turned-amateur opera star and winner of Britain's Got Talent, will have his rags-to-riches tale adapted into a movie by Simon Cowell. The American Idol judge will produce the flick and had enlisted Justin Zackham (The Bucket List) to write the screenplay.
  • George Clooney will executive produce a half-hour dark comedy for Showtime called Bob. The series follows a character who narrates the events of his life as they flash before his eyes when he leaps off a building.
  • Anne Archer, who's recurring as Jennifer Love Hewitt's mom in CBS' Ghost Whisperer, has come aboard to costar in the CW's new dramatic series Privileged, about a Yale-educated woman who's hired to be a live-in tutor and life coach to two spoiled 16-year-old rich girls. Archer will play their grandmother, a wealthy widow tasked with raising the kids after their parents die in a plane crash.
  • Former Roseanne regular Laurie Metcalf will headline the CW's Easy Money, a drama series about a family of loan sharks. The Emmy winner will play the matriarch who runs the business with her middle son.
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