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Reel World

This week in Hollywood: Skänkster pranksters and “Company Man” just makes it to Paramount

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SKANK HEIST Two young wannabe filmmakers have thrown Hollywood into a tizzy with a faux directors’ reel, introducing themselves as Skänk, four Nordic supermodels-turned-directors who declare, ”We’re not just a bunch of pretty faces, we have big t—, too.” The pranksters — who work for production companies — then created a website (http://www.skank-film.com) to promote the collective and started the rumor that it would direct Madonna’s next video. ”We wanted attention, but we never thought we’d be taken seriously,” says one of the Skänksters. But execs bit — including the ICM agent who ultimately signed the duo — and the ”girls” are being flooded with offers. Says one caller, Fox Searchlight creative exec Josh Deighton: ”My feeling was whether these were beautiful blond women…or [filmmakers] who were just so good at hype, I wanted to meet them.” The filmmakers hope to remain anonymous until they secure a deal to direct a romantic comedy they’ve written.

SPY GAMES Writer-directors Douglas McGrath (Emma) and Peter Askin (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) thought they had wrapped Company Man — starring Sigourney Weaver as the wife of a CIA operative in 1950s Cuba — last April, but due partly to troubles with financier Intermedia Films, the comedy’s just recently made it to Paramount Classics. After seeing footage of the romp, which co-stars John Turturro, Intermedia asked the directors to step aside during editing. McGrath and Askin responded by suing Intermedia for $1.5 million, alleging breach of contract, but settled out of court, retaining the right to deliver their version. But by then, Weaver was making Galaxy Quest and Turturro was working on the Coen brothers’ O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and the month of reshoots wasn’t completed until December. ”The issue was remedied early on,” an Intermedia rep says, ”and we’re looking forward to a successful release of the film.”