No time like the present


Tick, tick, tick.

That's the sound of a big clock above the heads of agents who anxiously attempt to book their clients work in the greenlighted movies that are going into production before a potential writers strike.

On the flip side, studio execs have pressure to fill slots for movies from a dwindling supply of name actors.

Some actors are booked solid, while others have potential slots they can fill. Jim Carrey is looking to shoot Warner Bros. Pictures' "Yes Man" in October, followed by "A Christmas Carol," which Robert Zemeckis is directing for Walt Disney Pictures, and then a third movie. Christian Bale is shooting the Batman movie "The Dark Knight" until year's end, then is freed up. Will Smith is shooting Columbia Pictures' "John Hancock," previously known as "Tonight He Comes," then will be on a press tour for "I Am Legend" at year's end.

Meanwhile, some actors aren't sweating the work. Matt Damon is said to be taking a break, though he could move to Universal Pictures and Working Title's Iraq War drama "Imperial Life in the Emerald City." Johnny Depp is rumored to be taking time off until 2008.

So who's available? Jake Gyllenhaal, Hugh Grant and Joaquin Phoenix are open for offers, as are Gwyneth Paltrow and Halle Berry.

Tick, tick, tick …