2nd 'Pants' for Ferrera, grudgingly


What a difference a hit TV show makes.

"Ugly Betty" star America Ferrera is in negotiations to reprise her role as Carmen in "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2," along with Amber Tamblyn, Alexis Bledel and Blake Lively.

Multiple sources say Ferrera's return isn't by choice. The actress, whose star turn in the ABC series has catapulted her to cover-girl status, is being forced to the negotiating table by the film's Alcon Entertainment, which exercised its sequel option on Ferrera.

In fact, the actress was eyeing a starring role in "An Invisible Sign of My Own," a film in development at MGM, sources added. That project is being produced by Ventanazul, MGM's recently launched Latino label run by Salma Hayek, who also is executive producer of "Ugly Betty."

In 2005, when "Traveling Pants" hit theaters, Ferrera received third billing behind TV starlets Tamblyn and Bledel. Now, Warners and Alcon are fast-tracking a sequel based on Ferrera's newfound star power. "Traveling Pants 2" will start shooting in June, coinciding with Ferrera's "Ugly Betty" hiatus.

A similar situation occurred when 20th Century Fox exercised its sequel option on Halle Berry for "X2: X-Men United." Berry was coming off a best actress Oscar win for "Monster's Ball" when she grudgingly returned to the comic book franchise.

Will Ferrell ran up against a similar situation. DreamWorks tried to wrangle the actor to do a sequel to "Old School," hoping to build a story around Ferrell's Frank the Tank character. However, Ferrell nixed that plan.

Music video and TV director Sanaa Hamri will helm "Traveling Pants 2." Elizabeth Chandler is penning the screenplay.

Denise Di Novi and Deborah Martin Chase are producing the coming-of-age story alongside Alcon's Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson. Kira Davis and Alison Greenspan are executive producing.

Kevin McCormick is shepherding the project for Warners.

Ferrera, who broke out in the indie hit "Real Women Have Curves," is repped by Endeavor, manager Jon Rubinstein and attorney Jodi Peikoff.

Tamblyn, who starred in CBS series "Joan of Arcadia" and was last seen in "The Grudge 2," is repped by Endeavor, manager Joan Hyler and attorney Jason Sloane.

Bledel, best known for starring in the CW's "Gilmore Girls," is handled by Endeavor, Flutie Entertainment and attorney Marcy Morris.

Lively, who last appeared on the big screen in last year's comedy "Accepted," stars in the CW's "Gossip Girl." She is repped by Gersh.

Hamri is handled by ICM. Her manager is Larry Kennar; attorney is Patti Felker.

Chandler is repped by Endeavor.