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Hollywood responds to the L.A. Riots

Hollywood responds to the L.A. Riots — Producers Bert Schneider and Bob Rafelson are suing over missing footage

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Hollywood’s response to the L.A. riots has resulted in an outpouring of sympathy, offers of help, and — since business never stops — a flurry of project planning and shuffling

Booking Suspects One of the four police officers acquitted in Rodney King’s beating is already at work on a book, and at least two of the attorneys involved in the case say they would like to follow suit. ”I’ve kept careful notes about the things that have happened,” says John D. Barnett, who represented Theodore Briseno, the only cop to break with his fellow defendants in the case.

While Sgt. Stacey Koon is the only defendant to have started work on a book, his attorney, Darryl Mounger, isn’t looking for his own book or movie deal. ”I think all sides have already been put on national TV,” he says. ”It appears that people already have their minds made up.”

Looters Shelved Slated for a July 3 release, director Walter Hill’s The Looters was pulled from Universal’s schedule two days after the verdict in the King trial was delivered and rioting broke out. With Ice-T and Ice Cube in supporting roles, and William Sadler (Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey) and Bill Paxton (Aliens) as the leads, the film tells the story of two white fire fighters searching for a cache of gold in a condemned inner-city building. The film will probably be released this fall; one of the new titles being considered is The Trespassers. ”Perception is crucial, and that includes the title,” says Tom Pollock, chairman of MCA Motion Picture Group. ”You can be sure that if it were released today, Fox would not call a film White Men Can’t Jump.”

Central Casting Meanwhile, South Central, a father-son melodrama set in Los Angeles, has just been picked up for distribution by Warner Bros. by the end of the year. Featuring a cast of unknowns, the movie was produced for $2.2 million by Oliver Stone’s Ixtlan. Producer Janet Yang says that ”no snap judgments” have been made about how, if at all, the L.A. riots may influence the marketing of the film: ”It’s about healing.”

A Different Tale At video stores this week, the promotional displays for New Line Home Video’s The Taking of Beverly Hills will read: ”This film burns up the screen with the most explosive, hard-hitting action you’ll ever see this side of Rodeo Drive.” In this release of a 1991 movie, Ken Wahl’s battle with a deranged billionaire leaves America’s wealthiest city evacuated. A New Line spokesman says of the coincidence between the plot and the riots, ”It’s one of those weird things.”