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Reel World

RKO Pictures, ”Jack Frost,” and ”Halloween: H20” made the movie news this week

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STOP, YOU’RE KILLING ME! Masked maniac Michael Myers must be spinning in his grave — if in fact Jamie Lee Curtis really iced him at the end of Halloween: H20. Miramax’s genre division Dimension Films (the haunted house behind the Scream series) has just bought the script for the horror spoof Scream if You Know What I Did Last Halloween by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer (Spy Hard). When asked how the studio would manage to send up Scream, a movie that’s already a send-up, a Dimension spokesperson, who didn’t quite see the irony, said, ”What better place to make this movie than the home of Scream?” adding that Dimension head Bob Weinstein was so sanguine about the slice-and-dice comedy that he’s put it on the fast track for a 1999 release. Does this mean we get to see Leslie Nielsen in a hockey mask?

SINGIN’ IN THE SNOW Call it ”Jingle Bell Rock — The Next Generation.” Director Troy Miller wanted to inject his ”rock & roll influence” into the upcoming comic fantasy Jack Frost. So Michael Keaton, who stars as a deceased musician reincarnated as a snowman, matched him note for note: The actor — who sings on the Frost soundtrack — also learned rhythm guitar, played the harmonica, even wrote a song, Miller says, ”all to make everyone believe.” According to Keaton, his one-man-band ambition suited the super-busy character of Jack Frost. ”He’s a father and husband, but also an artist,” the actor says. ”And that [creative] part of the brain isn’t real organized.”
— Joe Neumaier

INDEPENDENCE DAY, THE PREQUEL? Get ready for those Minutemen action figures and Eggs McBenedict Arnold Value Meals. Director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin (the tag team behind Independence Day and Godzilla) are gung ho about making the American Revolutionary War film The Patriot their next event movie. Penned by Saving Private Ryan screenwriter Robert Rodat, the Columbia Pictures epic is at the top of Emmerich and Devlin’s docket along with, gulp, a Godzilla sequel, which a spokesperson says Emmerich may or may not direct, but the duo will definitely produce.

RKO A-OK There may be no second acts in American lives, but what about former Hollywood powerhouses? RKO Pictures, the studio behind classics like Citizen Kane, King Kong, and It’s a Wonderful Life (not to mention the famous ”beeping” radio-tower logo), is trying to move from mothballs to major player. The first in its new slate of remakes, an update of the 1949 giant-gorilla flick Mighty Joe Young, will be released by Walt Disney on Dec. 25. RKO, which has inked deals with Fine Line and Miramax (the latter is developing an update of the 1943 chiller I Walked With a Zombie with The Rat Pack director Rob Cohen), is also dusting off its stash of 800 or so unproduced scripts, including the Orson Welles thriller The Way to Santiago, in development with producer Debra Hill (Escape From L.A.). ”Most people in Hollywood grew up on RKO pictures,” says RKO chairman and CEO Ted Hartley, ”and we believe these stories can be given a ’90s spin.” But all those purists wary of a Psycho-style uproar can rest easy. Says Hartley: ”I wouldn’t allow anyone to remake Citizen Kane or Bringing Up Baby.”