Even when Sylvester Stallone goes small, he does it in a big way. Flailing about in search of a hit, the action hero announced last week that he’ll work for scale (that’s less than 1 percent of his usual $20 million fee) in a low-budget Miramax film called Copland. Stallone, ever the star, discussed his indie jones in front of some 40 photographers and 10 TV news crews at a Miramax media circus in New York. Somehow we got the feeling Sly won’t be downshifting for long. After meeting the press, he rubbed his hands together, excitedly grabbed girlfriend Jennifer Flavin (now four months pregnant), and exclaimed, ”Let’s go shopping!”
— Casey Davidson
If you’re looking for an alternative to Lollapalooza, try ”Homerpalooza,” a May episode of The Simpsons in which Homer becomes a sideshow freak on a festival tour that also features Smashing Pumpkins, Cypress Hill, and Sonic Youth. ”We’re all big fans of the show, and it seemed like the perfect thing for us,” says Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo. ”I mean, we’re somewhat of a cartoon on at least one level.” The band will close out the episode with a dissonant version of the Simpsons theme song. ”It’s really loud,” warns Simpsons executive producer Josh Weinstein. ”If any old people are still watching by the end of this show, they’re either gonna walk out or crawl out.”
— Dan Snierson
We’ve heard of script approval, but Dalai approval? Well, the Brad Pitt flick Seven Years in Tibet has it, thanks to the efforts of Richard Gere. Hollywood’s best-known Buddhist was instrumental in getting the screenplay, based on writer Heinrich Harrer’s 1940s encounter with the then- adolescent Dalai Lama, greenlighted by the Tibetan spiritual leader himself. According to Mandalay Entertainment president Todd Black, who met Gere via company chairman Peter Guber, ”Richard got the Dalai Lama to sign off on the script. The Dalai looked at it and said he liked it.” But having Buddhist carte blanche didn’t help resolve Tibet‘s other preproduction dilemma: Will Brad have long or short hair? ”It will be both,” says Black. ”No joke, the hair has been a major issue on this film. His hair is such a thing. I can’t believe it.” Maybe they should get Richard Gere to call Vidal Sassoon.
— Cindy Pearlman
Separated at mirth — Jason Alexander and Nathan Lane. The Birdcage star says he can hardly go anywhere without fans mistaking him for Seinfeld‘s grumpy young man. ”Jason and I have discussed this,” elaborates Lane. ”People keep asking him what ‘Hakuna Matata’ means.”