Movie news for August 10, 1990 -- ''Navy SEALs,'' Harrison Ford, and ''Arachnophobia'' made news this week

Seal School
Navy SEALs aren’t furry creatures with stripes on their flippers. They’re a highly trained elite commando corps specializing in top-security, high-risk tasks. Named for the scope of their operations (on SEa, Air, or Land — anywhere within 50 miles of water), SEALs are perfect movie heroes. So it’s not surprising that Hollywood finally got around to telling their story in the recently released Navy SEALs, starring Charlie Sheen and Michael Biehn. Former SEAL Chuck Pfarrer, who wrote the story, served as the film’s technical adviser. He also brought in other onetime SEALs to coach the actors and handle the more complicated stunts, such as staying under water for long periods of time without any scuba gear. To simulate SEAL training, Pfarrer and company put the group through a rugged two-week course in Virginia that ended with a mock kidnapping mission. ”We showed them how not to handle their weapons like detectives in white linen suits,” says Pfarrer. ”Camp What-a-Deal,” as the cast came to call the program, also included instruction in other SEAL traditions. ”We closed down this club at about 5 in the morning for five nights running,” says Pfarrer. ”And guess what would happen at 6 a.m.? ‘Knock, knock. Time to go to work.’ And a hangover is no excuse. Nobody wants to hear about it. You’re going on a 14-mile run anyway.”

Ford’s Future
For a man who made his name in Hollywood as a laser-gun-wielding spaceship pilot and bullwhip-snapping adventurer, Harrison Ford seems toobe getting mighty comfortable lugging a briefcase these days. With the role of Presumed Innocent‘s embattled attorney Rusty Sabich under his belt, the former action ace is three-piece-suiting up again for Regarding Henry, which is set for release in ’91. Mike Nichols (who directed Ford in Working Girl) reunites with the actor when shooting starts in September. This time Ford plays a trial lawyer who suffers amnesia after he’s shot in the head during a street assault. His fans are hoping that the geek hairdo he sported for Presumed Innocent will have grown out in time for these new proceedings.

A New Hollywood
Walt Disney Studios has the Midas touch this year. Pretty Woman and Dick Tracy, from the company’s Touchstone Pictures division, are certain to be among 1990’s top box-office grossers. And now it looks like the spider- starring Arachnophobia — the first offering from Disney’s brand-new production unit, Hollywood Pictures — is also crawling toward megasuccess. The fledgling division has three more rrleases scheduled for this year: Taking Care of Business (August 17), an odd-couple comedy starring Jim Belushi and Charles Grodin; Run (fall), an action-comedy featuring Patrick Dempsey; and The Marrying Man (December), a Neil Simon-scripted comedy with Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger. Within a few years Hollywood Pictures hopes to crank out 10 to 12 movies for grown-ups annually, just as Touchstone does. So, why didn’t Disney just expand Touchstone’s current operations? Hollywood Pictures president Ricardo Mestres explains that a separate unit was necessary to insure quality. ”If you want to make 10 to 12 movies a year,” he says, ”you have to develop 75 to 100 products, due to the rate of failure.” Doubling the current output, he continues, ”immediately makes the structure unwieldy. No one knows what anyone else is doing and you can’t keep all the projects in your head straight. So it made sense to create a mirrorlike organization.” Will there be any sibling rivalry? ”Nah,” Mestres says. ”It will be a friendly competition defined more by cooperation. If we can be number one, then I would want Touchstone Pictures to be number two.”

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