BALKING THE PLANK Is Disney changing its musical ‘toon template since Tarzan’s non-singing characters clicked with audiences? When Jeffrey Katzenberg ran the place, he nixed Treasure Planet, a proposed animated reworking of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island set in a fantasy universe filled with galleon-style spaceships and robotic pirates. But the men who pitched the tale, codirectors John Musker and Ron Clements (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules) persisted, and when Katzenberg left for DreamWorks, they got a green light. ”It’s something Disney has never done before,” says Clements. ”It’s not a traditional musical, and it doesn’t have a romance element. It’s basically a father-son action movie.” Aiming for a 2002 release, the picture has completed preliminary voice casting; no word yet on who’ll play who, mateys.
STRANGE LOVE Nearly two years ago, Miramax’s Dimension Films announced plans for a three-part sci-fi anthology feature about aliens and humans. In Spring 1998, Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) filmed the first segment, Alien Love Triangle, starring Heather Graham, Courteney Cox, and Kenneth Branagh; shortly thereafter, Gary Fleder (Kiss the Girls) went to work with Gary Sinise and Madeleine Stowe on part 2, Imposter. But Dimension was so impressed with Fleder’s 40-minute short about warring extraterrestrials that the studio has decided to transform Imposter into a feature-length film, leaving Triangle two legs short. While Imposter will begin production this winter with the same cast, no decisions have been made about how—or when—to finish the anthology. A Miramax executive says it’s in active development, but no start date has been set.