A PAIN IN THE BASS
Take heart, all ye struggling screenwriters: Even a pro like Ron Bass (My Best Friend’s Wedding, Entrapment, and a gazillion other monster hits) occasionally gets the shaft. After pitching Mozart and the Whale, a.k.a. The Newports, to DreamWorks four years ago, Bass watched as his drama about an autistic couple went into turnaround. All right, so DreamWorks paid Bass $2 million for the project anyway, but rejection still bites. ”People either get the feeling that the movie is valuable or not,” says a mournful Bass, who thinks the movie could be made for a relatively lean $15 million. ”We have interested actors and directors, but we haven’t found [another] studio that wants it.” While Kevin Spacey had expressed interest in starring, ”he’s moved on to 3,000 other things,” says Bass, who does have an inside track to his dream lead: Spacey is set to star in The Shipping News, and Bass wrote the screenplay.
ROCK & ROLE
And now for a happier story about a movie placed in turnaround: After Warner Bros. dropped The Adventures of Joe Dirt, a comedy starring David Spade as a man searching for the parents who abandoned him as a child, Adam Sandler jumped in as producer and set the film up at Columbia. Spade then tried to persuade Kid Rock to make his acting debut as Dirt’s nemesis, but ”Spade only got him to ‘maybe.’ I got him to ‘yes,”’ says TV director Dennie Gordon, making her feature debut. ”I just told him it made sense that this be his first role — the character’s a real badass, Trans Am-driving, tattoo-wearing dirt ball.” Gordon, who began editing this week, hopes to have the film — complete with a Kid Rock title track — in theaters by January.