Is there anybody out there? |


Is there anybody out there?

What's going on with those projects that got press, and then simply faded

As Apollo 13’s Jim Lovell might say, ”Hollywood, we have a problem.” When we first heard about the projects below, they were rocketing toward a high-profile release. Now they’re lost in space. Entertainment Weekly scans the skies for signs of life.

Project: Roseanne’s Stateside version of the politically incorrect Brit hit Absolutely Fabulous, starring Carrie Fisher and former Bond villain Barbara Carrera. Status: According to an ABC spokeswoman, the network rejected the show’s original sex-and-drugs-packed script and that now ”Roseanne has given up her plan to bring the racy Absolutely Fabulous to ABC.” Currently, HBO is talking with Roseanne about picking up the show. ”It’s definitely not dead,” says Roseanne’s publicist, Marleah Leslie. ”It’s just in the early development stages. She’s got a lot of other projects [including a comedy/variety show on Fox], so it’s on hold.” Prognosis: Put the champagne back on ice.

Project: Guns N’ Roses’ next CD. Status: In the three years since their last album, 1992’s ”The Spaghetti Incident?” Axl Rose & Co. seemingly lost their illusion. Rose was busy jamming with ex-wife Erin Everly’s lawyers in a messy annulment, while also getting over a bitter breakup with ex-fiancee and Victoria’s Secret model Stephanie Seymour. Meanwhile, Slash released It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere last year, a critically and commercially weak solo effort. But with such worries behind them, Guns’ publicist, Bryn Bridenthal, promises a new album will hit shelves by the end of ‘96, adding that the band members are currently working on new songs and occasionally playing together. ”People are saying that music’s changed since their last album,” says Bridenthal. ”But they’ll do whatever they want.” Prognosis: ”In their world, they’re right on schedule,” says Bridenthal.

Project: A live-action Speed Racer starring Johnny Depp and Nicolas Cage, and directed by Gus Van Sant (To Die For). Status: Exec producers Richard Donner and Joel Silver’s adaptation, reportedly budgeted at $35 million, is mired in development at Warner Bros. (Both Donner and Silver declined to comment.) Depp and Cage were initially attracted to the project’s kitsch cachet last year, but without a script, they proved gun-shy about signing on. Problem is, there’s still no script, and even though Van Sant says he would still consider the project, both Depp and Cage seem to have moved on. Prognosis: Go, Speed Racer? No.

Project: Dolly Parton’s sitcom. Status: An early incarnation called Heavens to Betsy didn’t turn out so divinely. Planned for CBS and coproduced by Disney, the show was shelved last year after delays and even a reported fistfight between two producers. Parton then switched to Paramount Television with new producer Mort Nathan. ”I think nobody was happy with [Heavens],” says Nathan. ”Creatively, Dolly wasn’t happy. The Disney people weren’t happy.” But now even Nathan’s sitcom, tentatively called Dolly (with the singer playing the owner of a Beverly Hills hair salon), has fallen off the roster at CBS. Prognosis: There she goes again.