In her new concert film, "Truth or Dare," to be released May 10 by Miramax Films, Madonna was determined to put herself out there, warts and all. But unfortunately, ex-boyfriend Warren Beatty - a man whose antipathy toward public exposure is exceeded only by Madonna's addiction to it - didn't share her agenda.
One of the segments he insisted be cut: a phone conversation recorded by the singer without his knowledge."Truth or Dare" editor Barry Alexander Brown (whose own directorial debut - the comedy "Lonely in America" - was screened last week at the American Film Institute International Film Festival) says that it was the personal nature of the conversation - as well as being caught "blindside" to which Beatty objected. "It wasn't fair," Madonna said in an interview in the May 7 issue of the Advocate. "Plus it's a federal offense."
"Warren was most uptight about the statement `I love you, honey,' " Brown recalls. "He thought it looked bad for him now that the two are no longer together. I thought that moment was endearing, very sweet, myself. It showed a side of him few people see."
Madonna agreed and, Beatty's protest notwithstanding, applied her considerable ingenuity to keep the segment in. "We tried taking out Warren's voice and using subtitles instead - which, in itself, is probably just this side of the law," Brown says. "The matter never came to a head, however, because a phone conversation with subtitles just looked silly." - ELAINE DUTKA
- Talk of the Town:
HOLLYWOOD - Even Roger Smith's barber wants to know: Will "Terminator 2" really be the most expensive movie in history, topping out at as much as $110 million?
"We're amused that everyone is so concerned about our profits," the Carolco executive vice president says of the rumor, which started at $60 million several months ago and seemed to jump another $5 million every time some agent circulated it at lunch.
But much as Carolco executives would like to laugh off the rumors, there is no doubt that "Terminator 2," which opens July 3, will rank among the most expensive films Hollywood has ever made.
Sources close to the company estimate the direct production cost at upwards of $75 million, which includes $10 million to secure the "Terminator" rights from Hemdale and Orion (which produced and distributed the first film) and a $14 million Gulfstream jet bought for star Arnold Schwarzenegger as his salary. Interest costs add another $5 million to $10 million to the overall budget, and studio overhead will come to several million more.
Tri-Star, which is distributing the film, can probably be expected to kick in another $20 million to market it.
Carolco officials refuse to say how much the film costs. But Smith insists that "Terminator 2" - which is laden with state-of-the-art special effects - ran only "modestly" over budget. A contingency fund equaling 10 percent of the budget was drained to cover the overage.
"This is not a picture that started cheap and then ran wildly over-budget," Smith says. "It started expensive," with Schwarzenegger, a major director (James Cameron) and a hot property (the first "Terminator" was a surprise hit), he added.
Larry Kasanoff, head of Camer-on's production company, Light-storm Entertainment, said another reason for the high cost was the summer opening; the supertight production schedule meant extra crews working overtime to get the film ready in time.
"Terminator 2" is an expensive film, Kasanoff acknowledged, but "we're not flying caviar in from the Soviet Union. The money's all on the screen."
Smith is quick to point out that because Carolco finances its films by pre-selling the rights to foreign markets, his company is not exposed for the full cost. He added that despite all the talk about the high cost of "Total Recall," analysts have estimated that it yielded about $35 million in profits for Carolco.
"We are extraordinarily happy with ("Terminator 2")," Smith adds. "We want people to review the film, not (its) budget." - NINA J. EASTON
- Just Plain Folks:
HOLLYWOOD - Kevin Costner hit Dallas last week and not a moment too soon. The town had been stalking him in absentia for two weeks.
The anticipation began building months ago, when Dallas-ites learned that the star of "Dances With Wolves" would be coming to town to play investigator Jim Garrison in Oliver Stone's Kennedy assassination movie, "JFK."
Then the town started drooling when Costner dropped in to get the lay of the land. Alas, he left after only a few days. But that did not stop the Dallas Morning News from starting a "Kevin Watch" hotline and fax line and inviting readers to notify the paper of sightings. (Rivals at the Dallas Times Herald considered calling in to report a sighting of Costner last Friday night - there he was on TV, ringside at the Foreman-Holyfield fight in Atlantic City, N.J.)
Now he is back, and Dallas is all a-twitter. Wednesday, the Morning News, tongue stuck firmly in cheek, ran a Kevin Watch update and map that pinpointed Costner sightings (some real, some not) culled from the calls and faxes. Near the set, hordes of miniskirted women paraded their early '60s beehives hairdos, hoping to be pulled in as extras.
Despite the fact that you can't get to Fort Worth from Dallas because filming has shut down the major entrance to Interstate 30, it really doesn't matter. What matters is that Costner was seen eating linguine at Capriccio. As for director Stone, he's doing OK too. This week, a restaurateur suggested he run for mayor. - HELEN BRYANT
- You Are There:
HOLLYWOOD - Sean Connery and Lorraine Bracco knew going in, that this project had, well, wires attached.
"We have a number of scenes that are staged in trees 70 to 125 feet in the air," says director John McTier-nan from the set of "The Last Days of Eden" in Veracruz, Mexico. "And you have to do it with the actors."
The Disney Christmas release involves Bracco's travels deep into a majestic rain forest to assist "medicine man" Connery as he endeavors to locate a rare plant with powers to cure.
"At first there was a certain . . . not trepidation, but caution, and we started with this `tree school' while we were shooting other things," says McTiernan ("Die Hard," "The Hunt for Red October").
Connery is taking his lofty harness-and-hardware acrobatics with typical 007 nonchalance.
"Sean at this point is sort of blase about it," McTiernan says. "He's not worried that he's going to fall and it's just work."
Bracco's another story.
"Lorraine loves it," laughs the director. "She goes off and wants to be a circus performer. Sean'll come down and she'll just hang around up there and suddenly practice somersaults and things in her harness. She scares the bejeezus out of the safety men." - DAVID PECCHIA
- You Are Here:
HOLLYWOOD - Talk about your hyphenates. New York art dealer-Pace Gallery owner and sometime-movie producer, sometime-actor Arnold Glimcher is moving into his next phase: sometime-director.
He's in Los Angeles these days shooting "The Mambo Kings," a film based on Oscar Hijuelos' Pulitzer Prize-winning book "The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love." The story of two Cuban brothers trying to make their way in New York's music world, the movie stars Armand As-sante and Antonio Banderas and features, among others, Desi Arnaz Jr. and musicians Tito Puente and Celia Cruz.
"It's possible to have more than one interest," says Glimcher, who is making his directing debut with this project. "I've been a painter and did summer stock . . . this (directing) is a hybrid of both of those . . . a synthesis, if you will."
Glimcher had a small role in the not-well-received 1982 Robert Benton film, "Still of the Night," which starred Meryl Streep and Roy Scheider. More significantly, he was a producer on "Gorillas in the Mist."
Glimcher also happens to be the man that Creative Artists Agency chief executive Michael Ovitz turns to when he's adding to his art collection. It is an important connection, Glimcher would be the first to admit. Ovitz "is a very good friend and my agent," Glimcher says. But when it comes to his work in movies, Glimcher says it's director Benton who has been "the most encouraging. He's been my mentor."
The visual-art background that Glimcher brings to movies has served him well, at least in the view of "Gorillas" screenwriter Anna Hamilton Phelan. "On the `Gorillas' shoot, Glimcher was incredible, involved in every phase of production. With such a visual eye, he'd even rearrange the props on the set. Arnold was wearing more than a producer's hat even then . . . so I'm not surprised he moved on to directing." - DAVID J. FOX
- Just Asking:
HOLLYWOOD - Will Mike Ty-son go see his former wife Robin Giv-ens' screen debut in "A Rage in Harlem," which opens Friday? "I don't think he's planning on seeing it," said Tyson spokesman John Sol-berg. "There's a chance he may down the road."
Tyson will not be joining the cast and celebrities attending the film's premiere Monday night at the Apollo Theater in New York's Harlem. "I'm under the impression he wasn't invited," Solberg said. "Right now he's taking time off and getting ready to go back into training for his rematch against Razor Ruddock." - DAVID WALLACE
- Let's Eat!:
HOLLYWOOD - Food has replaced sex as the thing women are most obsessed with - and afraid of, as director Henry Jaglom sees it. From the response to his film "Eating," he is on to something.
Nearly six months after its November release, the movie - Jaglom calls it a "serious comedy" about women and food - is still drawing an audience. Mothers are seeing it with their daughters; society matrons catch weekend matinees after meeting for lunch; women see it with their husbands, then return with their women friends.
In Paris, critics who called the topic a "particularly American phenomenon" when the movie opened there in March have had to eat their words: "Eating" is now the city's No. 1 art-house film, and has been credited with nudging French bulemics out of the closet.
Jaglom says the idea for his eighth film has been incubating since childhood. "My mother and her friends would discuss two topics: relationships and food," he recalls, digging into the chicken salad sandwich, boiled coffee and frozen chocolate mints he consumes every day for lunch - at the same restaurant. "I can't remember talking about food with any man except Orson (Welles).
"Women - unlike men - are told early on that happiness and success depend on how they look in a bathing suit," Jaglom says. "Five hundred fifty of the 600 actresses I interviewed during the casting process admitted to food-related hang-ups. Very few were overweight, but it has to do more with mind than body."
"Eating" is set in Los Angeles, where 38 women (including Lisa Richards, Gwen Welles, Mary Crosby and Frances Bergen) have gathered to help Helene (Richards) celebrate her 40th birthday. One of the guests is a French journalist shooting a documentary on women and food and, interspersed throughout a variety of subplots, the characters take turns expressing their culinary angst. Food is love, solace, sex - "the safest sex there is," one character notes. "I'm still looking for a man who can excite me as much as a baked potato," says another.
"That line is the key to the film," said caterer-chef Judy Jeanson after she saw the film. "I remember in my promiscuous college days wishing a guy would leave so I could go downstairs and raid the refrigerator. I found the film erotic, very personal - almost like being at a slumber party."
Her friend, journalist Jeannie Kaufman, was back for a second time. "The first was with my husband," she says. "He's probably the only man in town who loved this movie - but, then, he's a voyeur."
Jaglom says that men make up a quarter of the "Eating" audience. "One man told me that he felt like he was listening to a foreign language," he says. "It's true. This movie puts men alone in a house full of women, letting them observe an intimacy that's never achieved when a man is around."
The film, which was made for $920,000, has ruffled feathers in some quarters. "I see myself as a feminist," the director says, whose previous films include "Always," "Someone to Love" and "New Year's Day." "I've been one long before the term was invented. But, as I expected, some people are upset at seeing women portrayed as self-involved creatures with little interest in the outside world. And they want solutions, not just a glimpse at the problem. I hope I'm helping just by bringing the situation out in the open. As in all of my films, the goal of `Eating' is to make people feel less isolated, crazy and alone."
The director grins broadly when informed that concession stand sales in some theaters were considerably above average.
"Great," he says, tugging on his trademark black hat. "I hope they're buying on the way out. At one point, I considered putting in an intermission with one of those old-fashioned commercials - the ones with the happy, bouncing candy bars and dancing confections on sale in the lobby. If this movie gives women permission to eat and enjoy it, that's the politics of the movie for me." - ELAINE DUTKA