COVER CHARGE No classic work of literature is so great it can’t be improved with an extra dose of sex — at least according to Hollywood. Exhibit A: Cousin Bette, based on the Balzac novel about the 19th-century French demimonde, which has been given an R rating by the MPAA because of sexual content. ”It’s not Tom Jones or anything, but it is a little ribald,” admits Bette cowriter and producer Lynn Siefert. Exhibit B: This November’s The Wings of the Dove, an R-rated adaptation of Henry James’ novel about a love triangle involving a young English couple and an American woman in which Helena Bonham Carter offers a portrait of a lady totally nude. As Balzac once put it, ”Va-va-va-voom!”
TARANTINO. QUENTIN TARANTINO Although the pulp aficionado’s next movie is Jackie Brown, based on Elmore Leonard’s Rum Punch, Tarantino was considering bringing a very different author to the big screen: Ian Fleming. ”I tried to get the rights to Casino Royale,” he says of the 007 thriller, which was spoofed in the 1967 movie featuring Woody Allen as Jimmy Bond. ”I would have done something totally new with it — maybe even have a narrator. But we got outmaneuvered.” According to Tarantino, Royale’s rights were ultimately purchased by the Broccoli family, who’ve produced almost all the Bond flicks (not including the Casino Royale send-up). The Broccolis haven’t yet decided if they’ll lens a new Royale — they’re busy right now with their own December release, Tomorrow Never Dies, the 18th Bond flick.
FURTHERMORE Tarantino is in discussions to make his Broadway debut as the psycho antagonist in a revival of Frederick Knott’s 1966 thriller, Wait Until Dark….And Rupert Everett, hot off My Best Friend’s Wedding, will get to wear the dress in the London stage production of The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore, which begins performances Oct. 23; Everett will depict Tennessee Williams’ unhappy widow as a man in drag dying of AIDS.