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Entertainment news for July 12, 1991

”My Fair Lady,” Jack Valenti, and Michael Douglas made headlines this week

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TV
+ The idea is enough to make musical-theater purists cringe. CBS is quietly developing a two-hour small-screen remake of the 1964 Oscar-winning musical My Fair Lady, which starred Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison. The network also owns TV remake rights to West Side Story, but CBS insiders say it may be a long time before either project reaches fruition.
+ The debate over identifying rape victims in the press is about to get another workout on TV — this time in a two-hour movie about a woman who chose to go public. Warner Bros. TV plans to film The Nancy Ziegenmeyer Story, based on a prizewinning series of Des Moines Register articles, for CBS next season. Shooting is expected to begin in the fall.

MOVIES
+ The situation has been a veritable hot blintz. In mid-May the USSR’s Central Television showed clips from Die Hard 2, apparently culled from a videocassette copy, before the film even played in Soviet theaters. In response, Jack Valenti president of the Motion Picture Association of America, announced that, effective immediately, major U.S. studios would cease film sales to the Soviets and, except for a handful of previously promised studio releases, would boycott this month’s Moscow Film Festival. Valenti says the organization had simply had enough of rampant Soviet film piracy and that efforts over two years to improve the situation have been a bust. Vladimir Ivanov of the biannual Moscow festival, which relies on ticket sales, called the boycott a virtual death knell for the event.
+ Ex-New York City policeman Sonny Grosso (executive producer of TV’s Night Heat and the current Top Cops) has joined forces with Michael Douglas for his first big-screen effort, tentatively titled After the Fall. Naturally, the Columbia Pictures movie will be based on a true-life cop story: the bizarre saga of NYPD’s Matt McSherry, who quit the force to pursue a man who disappeared with his own child; McSherry ended up marrying the child’s mother. Douglas will star as McSherry, and his company, Stonebridge, will coproduce with Grosso. William Friedkin, who made 1971’s The French Connection (in which Grosso’s police exploits were dramatized by Roy Scheider), will direct.
+ Director Tony Richardson (Tom Jones, The Border) has penned a screenplay based on Elmore Leonard‘s non-detective 1987 novel, Touch, about a stigmatic with the power to heal. Hemdale Films will finance the project, which begins filming in early August. Lou Diamond Phillips will play the gifted one. Finding an appropriate female lead was more difficult, says Richardson, who finally opted for an actress he’d never worked with — Natasha Richardson, his daughter with ex-wife Vanessa Redgrave.
— Leonard Klady, Mark Harris