Summer movie season 1997 doesn’t kick off for 643 days — give or take — but in Hollywood, the future is now for two action giants: a Jurassic Park sequel and a fourth Batman. Michael Crichton’s much anticipated The Lost World is scheduled to hit bookstores Sept. 28. With its arrival, says Marvin Levy, an Amblin spokesman, screenwriting can begin in anticipation of a summer 1996 shoot. Steven Spielberg is considering directing. Galleys of The Lost World suggest that Jeff Goldblum’s character, chaos theorist Ian Malcolm, will return in a leading role but that Laura Dern and Sam Neill won’t be on hand. Then again, reminds Levy, for ”the first movie, there were quite a number of important changes made” that departed from Crichton’s Jurassic Park novel.
Meanwhile, Warner Bros. is aiming to pit its own biggest franchise against the dino sequel, and Batman Forever director Joel Schumacher isn’t being so coy. ”I’ve signed on to develop a fourth Batman,” he says from the Mississippi set of John Grisham’s A Time to Kill. ”I would want Val Kilmer and Chris O’Donnell for the roles. I’ve heard both Val and Chris say that they’d do another one if I directed it.”
And who will play the heavy now that the Joker, the Penguin, Catwoman, the Riddler, and Two-Face have all had their day? ”It will be Poison Ivy,” whispers a studio source. DC Comics’ Denny O’Neil, who oversees the Batman titles, seconds the nomination. ”She’s ruthless and irresistibly attractive. She’s immune to all toxins, and if she kisses you, you die.” Schumacher won’t confirm the choice but admits, ”It looks probable that there will be a gorgeous female villain, but no actress has been chosen yet.” Hmm. What amber-tressed actress could tempt both Kilmer and O’Donnell? We can think of one perfect suspect the director has cast in both Flatliners and The Pelican Brief: Julia Roberts.