Kevin Costner moves from "Dances with Wolves" to this summer's "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" movie.
"Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves," scheduled for release by Warner Bros. June 14, is being touted as the picture to beat this summer. It is Kevin Costner's first outing after seven "Dances With Wolves" Oscars. And in its two test screenings, it has scored better with the audiences than any other Warners film ever.Still, those close to the $45 million production say all is not quiet on the post-production front.
Director Kevin Reynolds, after presiding over what all parties agree was a pressure-cooker of a shoot, left an April 12 meeting convinced that Morgan Creek Productions and the film's producers wanted him "distanced" from the film. The following day, Morgan Creek Chief Operating Officer Gary Barber informed editor Peter Boyle that his services were no longer required. The locks on the editing room were changed that night and three assistant editors subsequently resigned.
"I was certainly fired, told I was being relieved of my post," says Boyle, who in the wake of his dismissal sought a financial settlement from Morgan Creek. "Why all this is happening now is a mystery to all concerned - especially since the preview that was so successful was basically Kevin Reynolds' cut."
"Boyle wasn't fired, just released because the movie was basically done," says John Watson, who, along with Pen Densham, produced the film and wrote the $1.3 million screenplay. "And Kevin is most definitely still on the project. We're doing some fine-tuning, but it's substantially the same movie as was previewed."
The headstrong Reynolds has adopted an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach, nevertheless. He is said to be unhappy not only with changes in a cut screened for him April 25, but with what he perceives as a lack of response to his suggestions.
If so, says the production team, he has unrealistic expectations. "Reynolds has done a fantastic job, but this is his first `big one,' " says David Nicksay, president and head of production for Morgan Creek and one of three executive producers on the movie. "Films of this size on such tight schedules always require a collaborative team effort. The strong role played by creative producers and executives from the financial team can be difficult at times but, we expect, makes for a better movie."
Watson calls the situation business as usual. "The final cut is Morgan Creek's, not Kevin's," he points out. "I don't anticipate a director of his current status would ever have final cut - though maybe, after `Robin Hood,' he will. There's nothing sinister or bizarre going on. As the most high-profile film of the summer, people are just trying to put us down." - ELAINE DUTKA
- For Eyes Only:
HOLLYWOOD - The hottest ticket in Hollywood these days? A tour of the five sound stages on Columbia's Culver City lot, where Steven Spielberg's "Hook" - a twist on the classic "Peter Pan" tale - is under way. Personalities who have obtained passes to the tightly guarded sets include David Geffen, Michael Ovitz, Bruce Willis, Warren Beatty, Billy Crystal, Barry Levinson, Penny Marshall and artist David Hockney.
On some of the same stages on which "The Wizard of Oz" was shot sits an elaborate re-creation of Never Never Land - including the Lost Boys' tree house and a playground (shown in each of the four seasons) complete with its own "wind-coaster," a skateboard with a sail that careens along on a hidden wooden track.
Most impressive, however, is the 80-foot-tall black-and-gold replica of Captain Hook's pirate ship with rigging built by London shipyard workers that consumes an entire 235-foot-long sound stage. "You could drop this ship in San Pedro (Calif.) Harbor and it would fit right in," says one dazzled observer.
The film, scheduled for a December release by Tri-Star Pictures, stars Robin Williams as a middle-aged Pan, who in his terms has sold out: He has grown up, married and fathered children of his own. When the raspy Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman) kidnaps Pan's progeny, our hero returns to Never Never Land to recapture them - as well as his youthful outlook on life. Pan's companion through thick and thin, the fairy Tinkerbell, is played by current box-office powerhouse Julia Roberts.
One source estimates that the film may log in near the $50 million mark - even though the stars (and Spielberg) deferred their "Hook" salaries for a percentage of the gross profits. Such numbers notwithstanding, Tri-Star is confident.
"Unlike `Color Purple' and `Empire of the Sun,' this isn't alien turf for Spielberg," says an insider. "The story, about rediscovering one's youth, plays perfectly into his strengths." - ELAINE DUTKA
- Can't Wait:
HOLLYWOOD - Funny how the luck of the dice can change. . . .
Last year, the raunchy and controversial comedian Andrew Dice Clay (remember the Sinead O'Connor "Saturday Night Live" flap?) had two movies on the summer schedule: his first leading role, in the 20th Century Fox feature "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane," and a concert film, "The Andrew Dice Clay Concert Movie," due from Fox later in the summer. Then "Fairlane" came out and, well, crashed after an initial surge at the box office. Fox scrapped its plans to release the concert film. Permanently.
The concert film, now called "Dice Rules," has resurfaced care of the independent company Seven Arts. Drawn from a performance at New York's Madison Square Garden and other original work, "Dice Rules" has drawn (of course) an NC-17 rating.
With the heat on his career barely burning lately, Clay has scheduled an uncharacteristic news conference for Friday in honor of Mother's Day.
Uh, that's right: Mother's Day.
The invitation says that Mr. Niceguy himself will welcome "you and your mother (or a reasonable facsimile thereof)" to a "special Mother's Day breakfast and press conference." (Even Andrew Dice Clay has a mother, it says.) The purpose, his publicist says, is for the press to talk with Clay about his movie. One problem: The publicist says that no one in the press will get to see the movie until a week after the news conference. - DAVID J. FOX
- Uncut (Sort Of):
HOLLYWOOD - Bravo, cable's cultural network, is heavily promoting the fact that it is presenting the exclusive American television premiere of the original, restored, 5-hour, 11-minute version of Bernardo Bertolucci's epic "1900" May 25.
Rated NC-17, the restored "1900" was re-released theatrically in January to great acclaim in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.
The 1976 film, starring Robert De Niro, Gerard Depardieu, Burt Lancaster, Dominique Sanda and Donald Sutherland, chronicles more than 70 years of Italian social and political history through the eyes of two contrasting families.
When "1900" was released in the United States in 1977, the film was cut from five to four hours. No new scenes were added to the NC-17 version; editors just restored scenes to their original length.
But take note: Bravo is not really showing the complete restored version.
Bravo executives admit that the restored "1900" will be edited for airing. "We didn't know it was NC-17," says Kathy Dore, general manager and vice president of Bravo.
The problem is that Bravo, which has more than 6 million subscribers, is a basic cable service (10 percent of the subscribers to Bravo - which was formerly a pay service, still pay for it).