A SECOND ROW
Quick, name the movie. A teary-eyed Susan Sarandon stares dolefully into a death chamber as a prisoner is brought in to be executed. Yes, that’s right, it’s the climactic scene from Robert Altman’s 1992 black comedy, The Player. Of course, it also happens to be the penultimate scene from the current bleak drama Dead Man Walking, an eerie parallel that is lost, surprisingly, on Tim Robbins, star of The Player and writer-director of Dead Man Walking. ”It was just a coincidence,” says Robbins. ”There’s no possibility it was a takeoff.” Robbins may not have seen the parallels, but what about Altman? Any sense that it was deja vu all over again? Altman won’t comment, but a spokeswoman for the director offers: ”You guys are losing your minds to be comparing these films.”
— Dave Karger and Michael Szymanski
Thanks to Seven, everyone can now recite the deadly sins. But how ‘bout the Ten Commandments? Not so simple, right? That may change with Universal’s Commandments, starring Aidan Quinn as a doctor whose wife is killed, sparking him to strike back at God by systematically breaking all 10 of his holy don’ts (Courteney Cox costars as his suspicious sister-in-law). ”It’s really more like a modern-day remake of Job,” says first-time writer-director Daniel Taplitz, fending off parallels. ”People are more familiar with the Ten Commandments than the seven deadly sins, anyway.” Besides, he adds, ”I haven’t even seen Seven.” Obviously, he’s hip to Hollywood’s Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s box office grosses.
— Chris Nashawaty
He’s mean, he’s green, and he’s back. Producer Cary Woods says that Godzilla has risen from the ashes. TriStar’s proposed film starring the 262-foot scaly one was derailed last year when Speed director Jan De Bont — wanting a gargantuan $130 million budget — bailed out. But now, says Woods, ”we’re about to close a deal for a major director and we’re aiming for summer 1998 release.” Aladdin writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio are scripting, and Woods notes that the fire breather is sparking behemoth-size interest in Hollywood. ”Godzilla fans have come out of the woodwork,” says Woods. ”I don’t want to embarrass them, but if you see Brad Pitt in the movie.” Does that mean what we think it means? ”Oh, no,” he says. ”Brad is not going to play Godzilla.”