Entertainment news for the week of February 23, 1996

By Chris Nashawaty and Chris Willman
Updated February 23, 1996 at 05:00 AM EST

Trek fans can bust out that Romulan ale. After months of hush-hush negotiations, Paramount has finally picked a director for the next Star Trek movie, and you could say he was the ”No. 1” choice. Jonathan Frakes, better known to the franchise’s legions of fans as Commander Riker (a.k.a. No. 1), will follow in the footsteps of former Trekkers Leonard Nimoy (Spock) and William Shatner (Captain Kirk) and helm the $40 million flick due this Thanksgiving. ”They wanted someone familiar with the language of Trek,” says Frakes, 43, who’s logged many hours directing episodes of Next Generation, Voyager, and Deep Space Nine. ”I’m under strict orders to bring the fun back.” Though Frakes reveals that all of the Next Gen cast members will return, he’s mum on the subject of the crew’s alien foe. ”I can’t say,” he insists. ”But beware the Borg…they’re like cockroaches. They always come back.”
Chris Nashawaty

Joel and Ethan Coen’s upcoming black comedy Fargo includes a most curious end credit: Listed as ”Victim in Field” (an innocent bystander shot in the back after witnessing a cop’s murder) is [symbol for the artist formerly known as Prince]. Could it be…? ”Oh, no, it wasn’t actually Prince,” says producer Ethan Coen. ”Believe me, I would’ve noticed.” The symbol, explains Coen, belongs to the Storyboard Artist Formerly Known as J. Todd Anderson, a crew member who changed his name just in time for his acting debut. But Coen says the Purple One needn’t fear his mark being usurped. ”It’s not the same,” says Coen. ”Prince’s symbol is sort of longways; J. Todd Anderson’s is sideways.” Anyway, adds Coen, ”I don’t think you can copyright a name. There are a lot of people named J. Todd whom J. Todd never took legal issue with.”
Chris Willman

Crumb director Terry Zwigoff has been thwarted in his plan to chronicle yet another thin, geeky genius. The filmmaker was hired by Woody Allen’s producer and longtime friend Jean Doumanian to make a documentary about Allen and his jazz band. But last week Zwigoff abruptly left Allen’s $500,000 vanity project. At issue: who had final cut. ”They were like, ‘Who do you think you are, Orson Welles?’ ” says Zwigoff, adding that any planned rehashing of Allen’s tabloid headaches had nothing to do with the split. ”I told [Allen] I wouldn’t take it easy on him,” says Zwigoff. ”And he told me that that’s what made Crumb such a good film.” Doumanian insists it’s simply a matter of ”company policy. No one gets final cut, except for Woody.”
Chris Nashawaty

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