The Summer Movie Preview was written by Rebecca Ascher-Walsh, Jess Cagle, Jeff Gordinier, A.J. Jacobs, Heather Keets, Albert Kim, Gregg Kilday, Chris Nashawaty, Beth Pinsker, Jessica Shaw, Benjamin Svetkey, and Anne Thompson.
Starring Kevin Costner, Dennis Hopper, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Tina Majorino.
Directed By by Kevin Reynolds.
Here’s the complete, unvarnished truth about Waterworld: Everything went just fine. At least on the first day. Well, at least for the first few minutes. On the morning of June 27, 1994, on location in Hawaii, everything began right on schedule. Without incident, Kevin Reynolds set up the first shot — a scene in which Kevin Costner’s lean trimaran docks off an enormous metal, man-made atoll. ”The director yells, ‘Action!’ and I looked at my watch and I say, ‘This ain’t bad,”’ recalls producer Charles Gordon. ”The first day, 10:30 in the morning, first shot. All of a sudden I hear ‘Cut! The cable broke.’ I knew we were in big trouble.”
Big trouble indeed. Big as in big thunderstorms that caused big production delays. Big as in the big bad press, which swooped down to report every clash, every crisis, and every clang of the cash register. And, oh, yes, big as in big budget. At a cost estimated anywhere from $150 to $185 million, Waterworld — a futuristic, ”Mad Max Rides the Waves” clash between good (Costner) and evil (Dennis Hopper) — is now the costliest movie ever made. ”We’re definitely over budget, but nowhere near where the press is printing,” says Gordon. ”Every other action movie coming out this summer should pay us, because we’ve kept the press off of them. They’re all over budget.”
Ah, but they have directors, which is more than Waterworld can say; Reynolds, whose fractious relationship with Costner last fell apart over Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, quit after delivering his cut to Universal; Costner, the studio, and the producers will take the film the rest of the way. Which leaves only one question: Is Waterworld any good? Says Hopper, ”It would be so wonderful to kick everyone’s ass on this one.”
What’s at stake Everything from Kevin Costner’s wounded pride to Universal’s newest ride. And did we mention it was kind of expensive?
Starring Sean Connery, Richard Gere, Julia Ormond, Ben Cross.
Directed By Jerry Zucker.
There’s no Holy Grail, no Merlin, no mysticism whatsoever,” Zucker says of this $60 million retelling of the King Arthur legend. ”It’s just a big sweeping romance — a love triangle with a lot of action.” Connery, natch, plays Arthur — King Arthur, Gere is Lancelot, and up-and-comer Ormond is Guinevere, the babe they both chased around the Round Table. ”Here’s the thing about Ormond,” Zucker says. ”I needed an actress who was beautiful and youthful, but who could also stand up to Sean Connery. You can’t just put some perky young thing up next to him and expect her to survive. You need somebody with depth, or he’d eat her alive. You need to believe Connery would want her. And with Ormond, believe me, you believe it.” Connery isn’t saying if he wanted her or not. ”She’s a very good actress” is all he offers.
What’s at stake Expectations for Ormond are sky-high after Legends of the Fall — and Gere, 45, and Connery, 64, will have to quell criticism that they’re a little creaky to be running around in heavy metal.