News from Hollywood for the week of March 20, 1998

THE MARTIN CHRONICLES The Rat Pack put on hold? Could happen, as Paramount/Touchstone and Warner Bros. are now vying for the services of Martin Scorsese. Contractually, the director’s next film — the proposed Dean Martin biopic Dino — will be for Warner Bros., but sources say the script (by Scorsese and Nicholas Pileggi) still needs work, and the studio has yet to greenlight the project. Meanwhile, Scorsese has shown interest in Paramount/Touchstone’s Bringing Out the Dead, an urban drama from producer Scott Rudin, about a paramedic haunted by the people he couldn’t save. A source close to the situation says that if the studios can work it out, Dead may shoot before Dino.

SELECTION PROCESS Is it that age-old problem in Hollywood — a lack of decent roles for women — or is it just that today’s top actresses are extremely picky? Whatever the case, three of this year’s Oscar nominees — Helen Hunt, Julianne Moore, and Kim Basinger — have yet to line up their next films. Hunt may meet in the next two weeks about one movie, but she has already passed on nine projects.

ROYAL FLUSH Devastating volcanoes, Olympic track star Steve Prefontaine, earth-threatening comets, and now studios just can’t get enough of an Asian monarch. Two films based on the novel Anna and the King of Siam are currently dancing around Hollywood. One, an animated musical, adapted from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s play The King and I, is set for a spring 1999 release from Warner Bros. and will feature the voices of Miranda Richardson and stage vet Martin Vidnovic. The other is a live-action drama for Fox 2000 from Pulp Fiction and Good Will Hunting producer Lawrence Bender. ”It’s a straight, nonmusical period piece,” says Bender, who adds that it could likely be his next movie. ”It’s not like the [Rodgers and Hammerstein] play at all.” And who will take on the role made famous by his bald badness, Yul Brynner? None other than supercool Replacement Killer Chow Yun-Fat.

FURTHERMORE Kevin Costner is attached to star in Universal’s Thirteen Days, a drama set during the two weeks leading up to the Cuban Missile Crisis. It would be the first Costner project at the studio since Waterworld…. Look for Alan Parker, director of the 1991 Dublin-set music drama The Commitments, to return to Ireland for his next film. At press time, Parker was in advanced negotiations to helm Paramount’s Angela’s Ashes, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning memoirs of Frank McCourt….Who else but John Malkovich would get the offer to star in Being John Malkovich, a surreal indie comedy about people obsessed with the actor, to be directed by music-video whiz Spike Jonze (Bjork, the Beastie Boys).