January 27, 2003 10:37 AM

CAST: Johnny Depp, 39, will star for “Spider-Man” writer David Koepp, who will direct his own adaptation of Stephen King’s novella “Two Past Midnight: Secret Window, Secret Garden,” reports Variety. Depp will play a recently divorced writer who’s period of feeling sorry for himself — alone in a lakefront house — is interrupted by a psycho who accuses him of plagiarizing. (Yep, sounds like a Stephen King story.) No start date has been announced,

REQUESTED: An attorney for Paul Reubens (aka Pee-wee Herman), 50, has filed a motion seeking to have the actor’s child pornography charges dropped. Attorney Blair Berk claims the sexually provocative images found in Reubens’s home were made years before California deemed child pornography ownership illegal. The actor has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor count of possessing child pornography.

DIED: Screenwriter Norman Panama, 88, who with his colleague Melvin Frank wrote such memorable movies as “White Christmas” (with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen) and “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House” (with Cary Grant, Myrna Loy and Melvyn Douglas), died on Jan. 13 of complications from Parkinson’s disease, his family revealed on Saturday. Panama and Frank received three Oscar nominations — for “Road to Utopia” with Hope and Crosby, “Knock on Wood” with Danny Kaye and “The Facts of Life” with Hope and Lucille Ball.

AWARDED: Stellar Irish-born actor Peter O’Toole, 70, who has received seven Best Actor nominations but who has never taken Oscar home, will receive an honorary Academy Award at this year’s March 23 ceremony, the Academy has announced. The citation will read: “Peter O’Toole — whose remarkable talents have provided cinema history with some of its most memorable characters.” His nominations were for his landmark leading man debut in David Lean’s 1962 epic “Lawrence of Arabia,” as well as for “Becket” (1964), “The Lion in Winter” (1968), “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” (1969), “The Ruling Class” (1972), “The Stunt Man” (1980) and “My Favorite Year” (1982).

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