Chased off

Chris Columbus was floundering after directing the 1988 flop "Heartbreak Hotel," and a chance to direct "Christmas Vacation" seemed like a godsend. So he met with the film's star. "Chevy [Chase] treated me like dirt," he says. He forged ahead, shooting establishing shots, before another contentious meeting with Chase. He then told writer/producer John Hughes, "There's no way I can do this movie. I know I need to work, but I can't do it with this guy." Two weeks later, Hughes sent Columbus another script — "Home Alone."

A project with legs

Chloë Grace Moretz will star in the long-gestating live-action adaptation of "The Little Mermaid," to be written by Richard Curtis ("Love Actually"). … Mariah Carey will voice the mayor in "The LEGO Batman Movie." … Adele might be added to the cast of "The Death and Life of John F. Donovan," the English-language debut of her "Hello" video director Xavier Dolan. She would join Jessica Chastain, Susan Sarandon, Kit Harrington and Kathy Bates.

'Downward' mobility

Allison Tolman, "Fargo" Season 1's breakout star, will star in the ABC yoga comedy "Downward Dog." … Jada Pinkett Smith will be a district attorney in ABC's "Murder Town." … Olivia Munn plays a 1970s sportscaster in a drama for the CW. … The Republican presidential candidates who aren't Donald Trump are entitled to 12 minutes and 5 seconds of airtime on NBC, as per FCC regulations. Wait, he was only on "Saturday Night Live" for 12 minutes and 5 seconds? … "American Horror Story" has been renewed for a sixth season.

No love

J.K Rowling has revealed that her stateside word for muggle — "no-maj" — will appear in the prequel "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," provoking a mugging on Twitter: "It sounds racist"; "No-maj is a no-go"; "I've just learned I'm a no-maj, not a muggle. Ugh!" USA Today points out that "mug," the British slang for fool that the term borrows, would not have traveled to the United States at the time "Fantastic Beasts" takes place.