Richard Natale

Hollywood updates ''The Women''

Sisterhood, as they say, is powerful. Just a few months ago The Women — the all-female dream project pairing Julia Roberts and Meg Ryan in a remake of George Cukor’s snippy 1939 classic — was looking like more of a dream than a project. Hollywood cognoscenti had heard nary a peep about the new script. And the stars’ schedules, it seemed, would never untangle long enough for the film to happen: While Roberts was completing Michael Collins, Ryan was jetting off to the set of Courage Under Fire.

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Studios have high hopes for movie sequels

Never let it be said that Hollywood left a dead horse unbeaten. The studios have been busier than ever churning out sequels, from the obvious (the fourth Bat caper, starring George Clooney, will start filming later this summer) to the not so obvious (a second act to 1987’s Dirty Dancing is now in the works). Here’s a look at other follow-ups headed our way.

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Winona Ryder's next role

Of all the actresses in Hollywood, Winona Ryder is the last one you’d expect to see on the final frontier, but there she goes. The Little Women and Crucible star will appear opposite Sigourney Weaver in the new Alien sequel, Alien: Resurrection. Ryder plays an android recruited by Weaver’s Ripley to thwart the now Earth-bound alien. (Actually, it’s a clone of Ripley; the original met her demise in Alien 3.

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''Dead Man Walking'' soundtrack features star lineup

When is a movie soundtrack not a soundtrack? When it’s a ”companion piece.” That’s how Shawshank Redemption star Tim Robbins describes the album that will follow the year-end release of his latest directing effort, Dead Man Walking, a taut drama about a death-row inmate and a nun starring Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon.

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''Divine Rapture'' filming shut down

After the CineFin Corp. film Divine Rapture shut down on July 23, two weeks into filming in Ballycotton, Ireland, local pub owner Stephen Pearce erected a memorial stone in the coastal village that read, ”R.I.P. Divine Rapture.” Fat chance. The corpse is likely to be dissected in court, where creditors, cast, and crew will sort out how such a high-profile film could get so far without firm financing.

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'Showgirls' vs MPAA

On the hot-pink neon set of Showgirls you’ll see more exposed flesh than in an issue of Playboy. But while gorgeous women bump and grind on the nearby stage, male crew members barely look up from their crossword puzzles and newspapers. ”I went to art school,” shrugs production designer Allan Cameron, ”so this doesn’t faze me.” Chances are, however, these people will be the only ones unfazed by yet another envelope-pushing exploration of sexuality from screenwriter Joe Eszterhas and director Paul Verhoeven.

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''Interview With the Vampire'' casting drama

The clamor over casting Tom Cruise in the film version of Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire continues. This time, it’s comic-book fans who are biting mad. It’s not that they don’t want the superstar to be in the film — it’s just that some say he should be playing Louis, the ”young, dark haired, planter [plantation owner],” not the fair and wily vampire Lestat.

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