Cover Story

'American History X'

Fall Movie Preview 1998

STARRING Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly D'Angelo, Fairuza Balk, Avery Brooks

DIRECTED BY Tony Kaye

Norton stars as an ex-skinhead trying to save his brother (Furlong) from a life of hate crimes. And if that sounds hard-hitting, you should hear the backstage bitching. Kaye, a British commercial director making his feature debut, dumped approximately $1 million of his own money into the project. When he turned in his first director's cut to New Line, the studio put together its own version (with extensive input from Norton). During the summer, Kaye took on New Line president Mike De Luca with a series of one-page ads in Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, which contained cryptic messages and quotes from Abraham Lincoln and John Lennon. ''I thought they were funny,'' says De Luca, who fired back with his own ads. ''We knew what we were getting into when we hired Tony.'' Kaye's not laughing. ''If somebody takes my material and manipulates it, then I don't have authorship of it,'' says Kaye, who as of press time had decided to remove his name from the film after the studio chose to release its version. ''I'll regret it'' if Kaye removes his name, says De Luca, ''because I think it taints the movie in an unfair way.'' (Oct. 16)

THE LOWDOWN And the Oscar goes to ... Alan Smithee? Somehow, we doubt it.

Originally posted Aug 21, 1998 Published in issue #446-447 Aug 21, 1998 Order article reprints