Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
March 03, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

When it comes to his latest project, who could blame Oliver Stone for thinking there’s a conspiracy afoot? Beyond Borders, his romance for Mandalay Entertainment about a foreign aid worker’s relationship with two men, was set to roll May 1. Then Catherine Zeta-Jones got preggers and dropped out; with the start date in question, costar Kevin Costner fled to Pearl Harbor. ”Until you find the woman, you can’t cast the man,” says Stone. ”That’s why you can’t have one piece like Kevin, who’s a very attractive hunk of man. But he goes only with certain types of women.” Stone was reportedly in talks with Julia Roberts, but she’s in serious negotiations on The Mexican, with Brad Pitt, which is also scheduled to begin filming this spring. Says Mandalay president Adam Platnick of starting production on time, ”We’re confident we’re going to be able to do it.” Adds Stone, ”The script has been through six drafts, so it’s close.” The director will spend the next month playing matchmaker: ”I have to. It’s a love story, so what do you want? Two people who f—ing hate each other?”

Stone wouldn’t have been our automatic go-to guy for a romance, but neither would we have pegged Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused) as a ‘toonsmith. Linklater shot Waking Life, an ensemble drama starring Julie Delpy (Before Sunrise), Adam Goldberg (Saving Private Ryan, Dazed and Confused), and Timothy ”Speed” Levitch (The Cruise), in less than a month last fall, but audiences won’t be seeing any of these actors on screen. The director is now spending six months in postproduction turning Life, which he describes as ”a series of encounters between all kinds of people in a whole nonrational world,” into an animated feature. ”We’re melding the computer world and the animation world,” says Linklater of the process, which, like rotoscoping, requires artists to trace the live-action characters and ”paint” each scene by hand on a computer screen. On becoming a cartoon, the already cartoonish Levitch says, ”It was really cool. It’s like a freewheeling graffiti artist drawing over the reality you and I see.” Linklater hopes to find a distributor for the film on the festival circuit this summer. ”It’s definitely something you haven’t seen before,” says the director, ”but that doesn’t mean it’s good.”

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