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Reel World: News From Hollywood

'The Golden Bowl' was dropped from Miramax's fall lineup, while special effects pushed the cost of the 'Mummy' sequel to $88 million

BOWL CUT Director James Ivory and producer Ismail Merchant’s Henry James adaptation The Golden Bowl, which stars Uma Thurman, Anjelica Huston, and Nick Nolte, has mysteriously been dropped from Miramax’s fall lineup. While the studio isn’t commenting, a source close to the negotiations says arguments between Miramax and the filmmakers over 25 minutes of requested cuts have led the studio to offer to sell the film back to Merchant and Ivory: ”Ivory thinks the film is perfect where it is, but audiences at Cannes [where it screened] didn’t agree.” Merchant says there will be no deal. ”We are not buying back the film. As far as we’re concerned, the [release] is going forward. If it’s off their slate, that’s their problem — they’re contractually obliged to release it.” (Responds the source, ”Oh, yeah? Then what have they been negotiating for the last two weeks?”) As for the requested edits, says Merchant, ”Ivory has final cut, and we don’t do anything we don’t believe in.”

ROCK ON The latest $20 million-plus paycheck isn’t going to Brendan Fraser, star of the Mummy sequel, but to ILM, the Tom Cruise of special-effects houses. Although the $88 million sequel is costing only $14 million more than the original, director Stephen Sommers is determined that ”the special effects have to be bigger, better, and different. The pygmy skeletons will be worth the price of admission.” The movie also features WWF star The Rock as the Scorpion King, whose lair really is fit for a king, built at a cost of more than $1 million at London’s Shepperton studios. Still, the cavern may be a lasting investment: The filmmakers are considering making a third Mummy that will revolve around The Rock’s character.

FURTHERMORE We hear that Harrison Ford and Jonathan Demme are interested in Warner Bros.’ Insomnia, a remake of the 1997 Norwegian thriller.