FEWER PRETTY HORSES When Columbia and Miramax teamed up to produce All the Pretty Horses, Columbia agreed to handle the domestic release, with Miramax overseeing international distribution. Now the studios have switched roles, in part because Miramax has a lighter load at Christmas. But people involved with the production say another issue was writer-director Billy Bob Thornton’s reluctance to cut the film from its original four-hour running time. ”We were getting nowhere,” says a Columbia executive. ”Harvey [Weinstein] can do more with Thornton than we can.” Says Thornton, who has made Sling Blade and Daddy and Them for the studio, ”The film is progressing perfectly in the manner it should be. I’m happy to have the support of both Columbia and Miramax.” In handing over U.S. marketing duties to Miramax, Columbia has stipulated that the film run no longer than two hours and 15 minutes. Makes (horse) sense to us.
SMALL WORLD Austin Powers‘ Verne Troyer could actually be appearing in a dramatic Academy Award-nominated film, thanks to his big role in the, um, short Bit Players. Troyer costars with fellow little person Phil Fondacaro in Andy Berman’s directorial debut, depicting the making of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory from the Oompa-Loompas’ point of view. The film has been given a run at a Los Angeles AMC theater, thus qualifying it for Oscar consideration. ”We don’t get too many opportunities to have real acting jobs,” says Troyer. ”We’re usually stuck playing elves and leprechauns.” He is now doing duty as a ghoul in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.