The latest in movie news the week of October 5, 1990
Four More for Dinner
It’s been more than 20 years since Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner enlightened audiences with it’s story of a black man-white woman love affair, yet interracial movie romances seem to be in vogue again. Four new films featuring racially mixed couples are in production and set for release next year. In Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever, Wesley Snipes plays a married architect who has an affair with an Italian-American secretary (True Love‘s Annabella Sciorra; in Randall and Juliet (a remake by French director Coline Serreau of her 1989 romantic comedy Mama There’s a Man in Your Bed), an as-yet-uncast white business executive falls in love with black cleaning woman Sheryl Lee Ralph (ABC’s summer series New Attitude); Michelle Pfeiffer and Dennis Haysbert (Navy SEALs) are strangers who meet and get deep on the day of JFK’s assassination in Love Field; and in Mississippi Masala, a contemporary comedy-drama directed by Mira Nair (Salaam Bombay!), Denzel Washington brews a racial stew in Bible Belt territory when he’s smitten by an Indian woman (Sarita Choudhury).
Only in Never-Never Land
Warren Beatty playing Dick Tracy was offbeat enough, but here’s some casting news that should make even that comic flatfoot’s square jaw drop. Robin Williams will play Peter Pan and and Dustin Hoffman Captain Hook in Hook, an upcoming adventure-comedy that Steven Spielberg is scheduled to direct. A source close to the project told Entertainment Weekly that ”Hook is a variation on Peter Pan, but it’s not the same Peter Pan story that Michael Jackson has been trying to make for five years.” Shooting is scheduled to begin early next year in the never-never land of the Virgin Islands. In the meantime, Williams is searching for the perfect pair of green tights.
Learning the Ropes
In his first feature-film role — as the teenage version of mobster-on-the-rise Henry Hill in GoodFellas — Christopher Serrone plays a boy anxious to learn the workings of the local mob. On the New York set, the 14-year-old actor learned a lesson or two about movie making from director Martin Scorsese. ”He wanted everything detailed, from the biggest thing to the smallest little pimple,” says Serrone, who wore imported blue contact lenses, gel in his eyebrows, and two red marks on his face to resemble star Ray Liotta. And Scorsese taught Serrone not only the ropes but some of the tricks, too. For one scene, Serrone had to smash several car windows before setting the vehicles on fire. ”Marty told me, ‘We only have one set of break-away glass, so we only have one chance. Don’t mess it up,”’ recalls Serrone. The actor was so intimidated that he executed the take flawlessly. ”Only then,” Serrone says, ”did Marty tell me he had five other sets!”
Hermes Pan, the Academy Award-winning choreographer who designed the fancy footwork for hoofers such as Astaire and Rogers, among many others, died Sept. 19 at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 79. Pan’s credits in Hollywood span more than three decades and include such sprightly ’30s musicals as Top Hat, Swing Time, and A Damsel in Distress.
But What’s My motivation?
Narrow Margin may be the name of the latest thriller from director Peter Hyams (Running Scared), but it doesn’t describe the creative space he provided for stars Gene Hackman and Anne Archer on the set. ”Some directors inspire great performances from their actors. I am not one of those directors,” says Hyams. Instead, he creates ”a corridor of controlled accidents, which is wide enough for experiment,” he says. ”Fertile actors provide you with things you don’t expect.” For instance, Hackman, for his role as deputy DA Robert Caulfield, wanted to wear wire-rimmed glasses throughout the film. Hyams thought it was a mistake. But when Hackman put them on, the director realized it was the perfect prop to ”make this very large man more frail and vulnerable.” ”My theory,” says Hyams, ”is, if I’m the smartest person on the set, I’m in deep sh–.”