Business As (Ouch) Usual
In Taking Care of Business, Charles Grodin plays uptight account executive Spencer Barnes, a man who keeps his entire life in his precious Filofax. When he loses the trendy organizer — and his identity — poor Spencer suffers much comic abuse: He is mugged, stuffed into a garbage Dumpster, forced to walk miles in the cold rain, and made to rely for help on an irritating bimbo he knew in high school. ”The comic protaganist has to be abused, that’s the nature of the beast,” says Grodin, who stars opposite Jim Belushi. ”You are supposed to be this person that people can identify with, and then all the trouble hits you. Besides, after Midnight Run (his 1988 movie with Robert De Niro), nothing is really that tough. I still have scars on my wrist from that.” Grodin is referring to the time he spent handcuffed to De Niro for the film. Grodin, or what’s left of him, is set to begin a new comedy called Clifford, in which-you guessed it-he will get abuse from a new source, Martin Short, who plays Grodin’s nightmarish 10-year-old nephew.
For those who enjoyed Presumed Innocent’s desktop lovemaking sequence featuring Greta Scacchi and Harrison Ford, there’s more sexy cinema from the beautiful Scacchi on the way. Director Wolfgang Petersen (Das Boot) is finishing up The Plastic Nightmare, starring Tom Berenger, Bob Hoskins, and Scacchi. In the film, an amnesiac (Berenger) searches for his true identity after surviving a car crash. So why is the picture billed as an erotic psychological thriller? ”Because of the love scenes between the amnesiac and his wife (Scacchi), who get to know each other all over again,” explains a source in Petersen’s editing room. Expect the steamy release next fall.
Christian Slater, currently double exposed in Pump Up the Volume and Young Guns II, is set to portray Will Scarlet, Kevin Costner’s sidekick in the Robin Hood remake Prince of Thieves. Beginning production early next month, and set for a spring release, the movie’s high-profile cast (Morgan Freeman has also signed on) has knocked two other planned remakes, by Twentieth Century Fox and Tri-Star, right out of the running. Tri-Star has dropped the project and Fox plans to release its version on TV in the U.S. and theatrically abroad.
Lost in the Amazon
Shooting a movie deep in Brazil’s Amazon jungle is bound to have its share of snafus, but even Argentine director Hector Babenco (Ironweed, Kiss of the Spider Woman) didn’t anticipate the sudden disappearance of a jumbo prop while filming his latest project, At Play in the Fields of the Lord, a movie version of Peter Matthiessen’s 1965 novel, featuring John Lithgow, Tom Waits, and Daryl Hannah. It seems that while scouting locations for the film, Babenco met a local minister who offered the use of his personal floatplane for the movie. But three days into the production, after shooting several scenes featuring the aircraft, the minister decided the script was too violent and took off in his plane, never to be seen again. Not surprisingly, a stand-in for the unique-looking plane couldn’t be found, and every scene had to be reshot. What was the fly-by-night damage? ”I can’t tell you the exact figure,” says Lee Katz of the Completion Bond Co., the film’s unlucky insurer, ”but let me assure you it was not a cheap exercise.”
In Hollywood, gas prices aren’t the only things being changed by Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. The makers of the upcoming action-thriller Team 6 have already begun revising their script to incorporate the latest Middle East developments. Now, instead of attacking a missile base in a generic Arab nation, the movie’s Navy SEAL team will invade Iraq to disable chemical weapons aimed at U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf. But this is not the only effect the gathering of troops in the Middle East has had on moviemakers. The currently-in-release Navy SEALs has been promoted with an ad campaign linked to the recent military action (in efforts to drum up business for the poorly received film), and several other companies, including Walt Disney, are now developing features that focus on similar events. Meanwhile, Team 6 director Shimon Dotan is already on location overseas gearing up for his film’s mid-September shoot. Rob Lowe, Gale Hansen, and Jan-Michael Vincent have been drafted for the mission.