CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS: THE DISCOVERY
The first of two films scheduled for this 500th-anniversary year of Columbus’ landing in the New World (1492, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Gerard Depardieu, is due in October), Christopher Columbus has George Corraface, an unknown, in the title role and features Marlon Brando (as the Grand Inquisitor Torquemada), Tom Selleck (as King Ferdinand), and Rachel Ward (as Queen Isabella). Producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind (Superman) made the $47 million adventure on faith and with foreign funds-they didn’t even have a distributor until after the shooting was finished.
Inside Story: This one was a magnet for bad press form the start. Original star Timothy Dalton dropped out after lack of financing stalled shooting once too often; many of those involved in the production — including crew members, hotel people, and an Indian tribe — claimed they hadn’t been paid (the Salkinds refused to comment); and last month Brando denounced the film’s mostly positive depiction of Columbus, who, he charges, ”was directly responsible for the first wave of genocidal obliteration of the native peoples of North America.” Director John Glen (License to Kill) says Brando never read the shooting script and so didn’t quite know what he was getting into. ”We did take into consideration the Indian question, ” Glen says, ”and tried to be as truthful as we could. Brando gave us a lot of comments, and we tried to fix up some of the things which worried him.” Apparently, they didn’t succeed.
HONEYMOON IN VEGAS
When a young teacher (Sarah Jessica Parker) finally convinces her her skittish private-eye boyfriend (Nicolas Cage) to marry her, they fly off to — where else? — Las Vegas. But there the private eye meets a gambler (James Caan) and loses his wife-to-be to the shark for the weekend in a high-stakes card game. Cage could see his career back on track and Parker could make another big jump on the star charts if the good buzz that surrounds this project actually pays off.
Inside Story: Writer-director Andrew Bergman (The Freshman) says there’s one big drawback to shooting in America’s capital of weddings and wandering: ”Your crew is broke after about an hour and a half.” Well, not everyone: Bergman came out about $800 ahead, and one assistant cameraman won $11,000 on the slots. The stars were divided. Cage poured thousands of dollars onto the roulette tables and left them there; Parker, who had never gambled, couldn’t stomach the game. ”Nick would put it all on red,” she says, ”and shout, ‘Rainbow, rainbow.’ If he lost, he’d put down double the amount. I would be physically ill.”
This brooding meditation on mid-life follows John LeTour (Willem Dafoe), a 40- year-old drug delivery ”boy,” as he rides through a sweaty and rain-soaked Manhattan in the back of a limousine, making sales for an upscale dealer (Susan Sarandon). A chance meeting between LeTour and his lost love (Dana Delany) makes it clear that the damage they’ve done to each other in the past is nothing compared to what could happen if they get involved again.
Inside Story: Writer-director Paul Schrader sees Dafoe’s edgy, frustrated messenger as a progression of the characters Schrader wrote for Taxi Driver and American Gigilo. ”In his 20s,” he says, ”he was hostile, in his 30s, very narcissistic, and in his 40s, very anxious.” And who is the woman from this archetype’s past? ”I think,” laughs Delany, ” I was sort of a composite of Paul’s old girlfriends.”