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Reel World

Michael Douglas, Mario Van Peebles, and John Berendt made the news in Hollywood this week

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VAN PEEBLES GOES BAM BAM Mario Van Peebles, of New Jack City fame, is the latest mainstream filmmaker to go indie: He’s producing, directing, and starring in Love Kills, an ”artsploitation” comedy featuring Donovan Leitch, Alexis Arquette, and Lesley Ann Warren. Made for less than $5 million, the film, which Van Peebles describes as ”Pulp Fiction mixed with Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” went into preproduction just two days after he finished the script. ”It doesn’t look like it’s shot on someone’s armpit, like some independents,” says Van Peebles, who hopes to make the festival rounds. ”But I paid myself zero to direct, act, cater, and sweep the floors. I guess next I gotta do Revenge of the Ninja Bimbos, convince myself it’s fabulous, and pocket the money.”
— Rebecca Ascher-Walsh

MICHAEL MORE Michael Douglas might want to investigate the possibility of cloning himself, because Hollywood is suddenly buzzing with potential sequels to some of his biggest movies. Producer Jack Brodsky, who had a hand in 1984’s Romancing the Stone, starring Douglas and Kathleen Turner, as well as its ’85 sequel, The Jewel of the Nile, is developing a still-untitled third installment. ”We have a very surprising story outline — and I’m not going to reveal any of its secrets,” says Brodsky. ”But we’re very hopeful that Michael will like it.” And MGM/UA is talking of mounting Basic Instinct 2, in which Douglas might face off once again against femme fatale Sharon Stone. A spokesman for Douglas — now filming A Perfect Murder with Gwyneth Paltrow — said that while the actor is monitoring developments, he hasn’t committed to either project. Novelist-screenwriter Warren Adler, who’s currently scripting a sequel to Douglas and Turner’s 1989 hit, The War of the Roses, doesn’t have to court Douglas’ approval: Both leads died at the end of the black comedy, so the sequel, tentatively titled The War of the Roses — The Children, will focus on that dysfunctional union’s two children. Laughs Jana Brainard, production company Stone Canyon’s acquisitions exec, ”Douglas and Turner won’t be coming back — unless they come back from the dead.”
— Gregg Kilday

MIDNIGHT MOVES Despite the fact that author John Berendt has admitted finagling some elements of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, the book has been on The New York Times‘ nonfiction best-seller list for more than three years. So why do the movie’s credits read ”based on the novel” (indicating fiction), instead of ”based on the book” (as the print ads proclaim)? ”[Warner Bros.] made a ghastly error, and they feel terrible about it,” says Berendt, who couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw the mistake at the Nov. 17 L.A. premiere. According to a Warner Bros. source, who received a ”courteous but grave” letter from Berendt’s reps at ICM, the gaffe was simply an oversight, and, says the source, ”we’re going to fix it in all the fixable places.” The studio could not alter the 824 prints already sent to theaters for Midnight‘s Nov. 21 opening, but it’s issued a corrective press release and plans to change the credit on future prints.