It has been more than 15 Earth years, but that spacey family from the planet Remulak is back. In Hollywood’s latest attempt to pull big box office bucks out of the tube, Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin are dusting off their phallic foreheads, polishing up on their literal-minded techno-speak, and reprising their popular Saturday Night Live roles for the big-screen version of Coneheads. The comedy (currently in production on Paramount’s Los Angeles lot and expected to hit multiplexes in mass quantities this July) continues the awkward assimilation of Beldar and his wife Prymaat into the American ‘burbs. Steve Barron (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) directs the parental units (along with Aykroyd’s real-life daughter, 3-year-old Danielle, who makes her first screen appearance as baby Cone Connie) and a party of SNL stars past and present.
”I would not be here in this latex appliance were it not for Wayne’s World,” admits Aykroyd soberly. He’s right: The success of that movie ($122 million at the box office and a sequel due in December), which was based on a more recent SNL sketch, makes cashing in on its 1977-79 predecessor a no- brainer. ”We found there was enormous awareness of the Coneheads,” says SNL creator and Conehead producer Lorne Michaels. ”When [Kansas City Royal] David Cone pitches, there are always people wearing the conehead, and there were several kids with them on at MTV’s spring break.”
The movie’s screenplay is the combined effort of the Conehead originators, Aykroyd and Tom Davis, and Wayne’s World’s scribes Bonnie and Terry Turner. And in addition to original chrome-dome Laraine Newman as Prymaat’s sister, Laarta (newcomer Michelle Burke takes over from Danielle Aykroyd as the teenage Connie), the cast is reinforced by Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander and Michael Richards, and a gangly roster of SNL regulars, including Julia Sweeney, Adam Sandler, Phil Hartman, Chris Farley, Chris Rock, David Spade, and another alum, Jan Hooks.
While Aykroyd seems pretty cheery about the prospects of Coneheads, he has had his cranky moments on the set this month. When big Daddy Cone’s personal wardrobe assistant was reprimanded on the Paramount lot for exceeding the 8 mph speed limit, Aykroyd — in complete Cone regalia — flipped his metaphoric lid. Bursting into the guard station, the actor waved through incoming cars before making a golf cart getaway so vociferous that it landed a hyperventilating security guard in the infirmary. ”I was merely responding to the insulting verbal abuse directed at my wardrobe person, whom security frightened,” says Aykroyd, defending the tantrum, ”so I lost my French Canadian temper, flipped a plastic paper feeder, and sprinkled some parking passes — as well as admitting a few cars while in Cone.” Perhaps having a big head has its privileges. — With additional reporting by Billy Frolick