Summer Movie Preview: August |


Summer Movie Preview: August

Inside looks at "The Fugitive," "Heart and Souls," and more films debuting in August 1993

Starring Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, Julianne Moore, Sela Ward. Directed by Andrew Davis.

Harrison Ford is making a career of stepping into roles once earmarked for Alec Baldwin. After replacing Baldwin in last summer’s Patriot Games, he’ll be on the run this summer as The Fugitive, a role Baldwin dropped.

Of course, the title character of Dr. Richard Kimble-unjustly convicted of murdering his wife, relentlessly tailed by Lieut. Girard, and relentlessly in pursuit of the one-armed man-was practically mythologized by David Janssen in the ABC drama that ran from 1963 to ‘67. ”We’re not religiously following the series,” says producer Arnold Kopelson. ”We take approximately two thirds of the story and then depart from it for some twists and turns.”

One plot alteration comes early: Kimble’s pursuer is now a federal agent (Jones). As in the original, the chase begins when Kimble is freed after a spectacular train wreck-achieved when director Davis sends a locomotive hurtling off its track at 35 mph. But the biggest stunt may be pulled off in postproduction: Principal photography finished May 16, which means four editors and six assistants will be racing the clock to assemble the $40 million movie in time for its release.

Buzz: Industry odds makers peg it as this summer’s final sure smash, although in the wake of Sly, Clint, and Arnold in action vehicles, moviegoers may not be so eager to cut to the chase again.

Starring Robert Downey Jr., Charles Grodin, Kyra Sedgwick, Tom Sizemore, Alfre Woodard. Directed by Ron Underwood.

The pitch must have been delicious: ”It’s a cross between Ghost and Herman’s Head, and we’ve got a Chances Are vet interested.” More being better in Hollywood, Heart and Souls attaches four souls (Grodin, Sedgwick, Sizemore, and Woodard) to a baby born the night they died. The baby, now grown into Robert Downey Jr., must complete their unfinished business on earth.

Heart and Souls was written mainly as a drama until Universal chief Tom Pollock persuaded deadpan Grodin (Beethoven) to play a dead history teacher whose frustration in life was that he never became an opera singer. ”I play the character like a talk-show guest who isn’t on camera,” Grodin says. ”He’s sitting further down on the couch and occasionally throwing in lines.” (Aug. 6)

Buzz: Not a peep but we like the cast.

Starring Mel Gibson, Nick Stahl, Margaret Whitton, Richard Masur. Directed by Mel Gibson.

In what looks like a blatant attempt to be dropped from People’s annual list of Most Beautiful People, Gibson endured a daily 21 2-hour makeup job to transform his photogenic mug into that of a badly scarred burn victim. Playing a Maine recluse who befriends a lonely 12-year-old boy (Stahl), Gibson is making his directorial debut with this adaptation of a novel by Isabelle Holland. (Aug. 6)

Buzz: The last time Gibson slathered on facial latex, the film, Forever Young, made $55 million. There’s no reason to think it won’t happen again.