HASTA LA VISTA, ALAMO Ron Howard is officially out as director of Disney’s epic drama. After disagreements with the studio over the budget, the project has bounced to John Lee Hancock (The Rookie). Says Nina Jacobson, president of the Buena Vista Motion Pictures group, ”I very much want to do it with Hancock — now I just have to figure out a way to make it happen.” We’re doubting that Russell Crowe, who bonded with Howard on A Beautiful Mind, will stick around and go to war with the new leader.
DOUBLE DEALING Here is what’s undisputed about writer-director Tom DiCillo’s $4 million comedy-thriller Double Whammy, starring Denis Leary and Elizabeth Hurley: Lions Gate bought the film at Sundance a year and a half ago for $1 million, and then, after a tepid test screening, decided to banish it to video. But DiCillo charges that the delays have given the movie the stink of a too-long shelf life, and that the studio never informed him of the film’s fate (he says he learned that it would go directly to video from EW). Lions Gate’s president of releasing, Tom Ortenberg, begs to differ: ”Tom was fully communicated with…. He just didn’t like what he was hearing.” Says DiCillo, ”That’s total horses — -. Quote me on that.” Consider it done.
DEATH STARS Roc-a-fella Records founder Damon Dash’s current directing project, a spoof of the hip-hop world called Death of a Dynasty, includes cameos from scenesters like Flavor Flav, Ed Lover, and Dr. Dre. But Dash’s connections couldn’t get him one he really wanted: The surprisingly def…Ivana Trump. ”She’s away,” he says sadly, ”But she parties with us. Ivana outdances me, and I thought I could dance.” Trump that.