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Searching for stars ...

Ben Affleck is seeking two actors for the lead roles in his big screen directorial debut, reports

Affleck is adapting Dennis Lehane's best-selling kidnap-mystery novel "Gone, Baby Gone" into a screenplay he will also direct. He bought the film rights in 2002 and originally planned to co-star with then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez.

Affleck plans to start shooting in Boston this fall although only supporting roles have been cast so far. "I feel like the supporting actors are the most important," he says. "You're only as strong as the weakest link."

The "Daredevil" star has directed only once before -- a short film called "I Killed My Lesbian Wife, Hung Her on a Meat Hook, and Now I Have a Three-Picture Deal at Disney" -- while he was at college in 1993.

Rap sheet ...

Rapper DMX, 34, was arrested following a three-vehicle accident on a Bronx expressway that injured a woman and two police officers, police said Monday.

DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, was driving Friday night on the Major Deegan Expressway when his car struck a car which then hit an unmarked police cruiser. The female motorist and two officers were treated for minor injuries. Simmons wasn't injured.

He was expected to appear in court next month. His lawyer wasn't available for comment Monday.

Last June, the rapper was arrested for allegedly smashing his sport utility vehicle into a gate at Kennedy Airport after telling a parking lot attendant he was a federal agent. He later admitted to being on Valium. Simmons was sentenced to a conditional discharge, meaning further violations within a year could land him in jail. He also was fined and ordered to forfeit his SUV.

Eminem's bully loses suit ...

A tormentor from Eminem's past has failed to bully a Michigan appeals court into reinstating a lawsuit against the rapper, E! Online reports.

DeAngelo Bailey, who attended elementary school with Eminem in Detroit, claims the rapper's 1999 tune "Brain Damage," which names Bailey as a schoolyard bully, trashed his reputation by portraying him in a false light. Bailey, now a sanitation worker, contends the worst he did was "bump" the then-wimpy Marshall Mathers III and give him a "little shove." But a Michigan state appeals court has ruled that the track from "The Slim Shady LP," has such an exaggerated depiction of Bailey's bullying that it cannot be taken seriously.

"I was harassed daily by this fat kid named DeAngelo Bailey/An eighth-grader who acted obnoxious, cause his father boxes/So every day he'd shove me into the lockers," the song goes. In their unanimous opinion, the three-judge panel appeared specifically cited a passage in which the rapper claims that due to Bailey's handiwork his "whole brain fell out." The justices ruled: "It is apparent that a reasonable listener would not take the song lyrics about the defendant literally."

Filming gets OK ...

Environmentalists are giving the green light to a Warner Bros. romantic drama that involves restoring a popular lake at a Cook County forest preserve.

Many scenes for the movie "Il Mare," starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, will be filmed at a glass-sided house built by Warner Bros. near Maple Lake, about 15 miles southwest of Chicago. In addition to a $100,000 shooting fee, Warner Bros. Pictures agreed to pay for much of the $40,000 needed to stabilize the shoreline and pay for new plantings that the Cook County Forest Preserve District already had planned.

"Everybody at the table said this is a cool project," said Doug Chien of the Sierra Club.

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