MTV enlists stars for awards shorts

Stiller, Sandler, Downey to do spoofs for Movie Awards

MTV has enlisted a slew of talent -- including Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr. and Adam Sandler -- to play an even bigger role in Sunday's Movie Awards, which airs live from the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City.

For starters, several stars have signed on to create their own short films to premiere during the show, including Stiller, Downey and Jack Black, who co-star in Paramount/DreamWorks' upcoming "Tropic Thunder" (Paramount is MTV's corporate sibling). Movie Awards host Mike Myers also created two shorts featuring two new characters he created.

In addition, Sandler created a promo for the show, playing his character from Columbia's upcoming "You Don't Mess With the Zohan," that's already airing. (Sandler also is receiving a special award during the show, but the details are being kept under wraps.)

"In the past, our short films have been parodies of films, where we've come up with the ideas and presented them to the studios (for their approval)," said Robin Reinhardt-Locke, senior vp studio relations and celebrity talent at MTV360. "This time, we're putting (creative control) in the stars' hands."

She said the stars really embraced the idea, pointing out that Stiller even he hired his own writer (Mike Bender) and director (Nick Stoller) to work on the short, which she said is a "very funny tribute to viral films" but declined to elaborate. The video also will air at and other sites after its on-air premiere.

Additionally, the Movie Awards are expanding on something MTV started last year with its Video Music Awards, during which the network partnered with Universal to screen "The Kingdom" for fans with talent and producers.

This week, working in partnership with various film studios, MTV has scheduled what it's calling the "2008 MTV Movie Awards Sneak Peek Week," running every day through Friday at theaters and studio lots in and around Los Angeles.

Along with generating buzz for the awards show and the movies, the event is intended to give fans the chance to watch several films ahead of their opening and participate in a Q&A with the stars. The movies being screened include "Zohan," Paramount Vantage/MTV Films' "The Foot Fist Way," Fox's "The Rocker," Warner Bros.' "Get Smart," Paramount/DreamWorks' "Kung Fu Panda" and Columbia's "Pineapple Express." Sandler, Black, Will Ferrell and Seth Rogen are among those slated to participate.

"The Movie Awards truly kick off the bulk of the summer movie season, and the studios understand the power and positioning of the show and our audience reach," Reinhardt-Locke said.