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Reel World

This week in Hollywood

Sphere of Influence Warner Bros. and New Line, both in the Time Warner family (as is this magazine), have had a bout of sibling rivalry over … Dustin Hoffman. With a month of downtime during preproduction on Sphere, Warner’s $90 million sci-fi flick, director Barry Levinson decided to recruit the film’s star to act in his $9 million political satire, Wag the Dog, for New Line. Although the films’ subjects aren’t likely to appeal to the same audiences, a source says that ”Warner didn’t want [to release] a Hoffman movie opposite a Hoffman movie” and wanted two months between openings. And when Sphere’s intensive postproduction necessitated that film’s move from December to February, Levinson was still held to the agreement, which meant that Wag the Dog could either follow on the heels of March’s Primary Colors or race through postproduction for a December release. Levinson and his crew chose the latter. — Rebecca Ascher-Walsh

— Private Part Attention, Sundance selection committee. Brace yourselves for the most revealing documentary you’re likely to see: The Legend of Forrest Tucker, an exposé of the late F Troop star that explores, according to cocreator Paul Starke, ”the myth that he was the most gifted actor in show business — if you know what I mean.” Using the legendary ”contest” between Tucker and Milton Berle as a springboard, Starke and fellow cable TV producer Brendan Conway have extracted juicy tales from such Tucker contemporaries as Steve Allen, F Troop costar Ken Berry, and Mission: Impossible’s Lynda Day George (”His dresser … said he was very hard to fit”). The pair plans to submit the 25-minute short to Sundance, then market it to cable. From there, Starke says, ”I’d like to see it in IMAX 3-D.”