John Sayles defends his new film, Kim Basinger CAN act, and Spike Lee talks about the 'Summer of Sam'

By Sandra P. Angulo
Updated May 23, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT


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NO END IN SIGHT John Sayles (”Lone Star”), whose ”Limbo” received both applause and boos at Saturday’s screening, defends the Alaska-set romance’s cliff-hanger ending: ”For me, the ending of ‘Limbo’ is not ‘open,’ it’s like ‘The Graduate.’ Instead of ending the movie as Dustin Hoffman and Katherine Ross get on the bus, Mike Nichols keeps the camera focused on them for an uncomfortable amount of time, until you realize that the future’s uncertain. That’s how ‘Limbo’ ends — you don’t know what’s going to happen next.” What do critics expect? Take a clue from the title.

RETURN TO AFRICA British director Hugh Hudson (”Chariots of Fire,” ”Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes”) was at Cannes to premiere his new Scottish comedy ”My Life So Far,” but he slipped in some news about his other upcoming movie, ”I Dreamed of Africa,” which stars Kim Basinger in her first post-Oscar role. ”Kim was on the shortlist of actresses we were considering, and I wasn’t sure she could do the part, but after we met, she convinced me she could do it,” Hudson told EW Online. The memoir-based drama (due in November) about an American woman who moves to Africa to start a farm with her new lover almost didn’t get made because the movie was originally set to film in Kenya. ”We decided to shoot in South Africa, and the day we got there, there was a bomb in the Nairobi U.S. embassy,” said Hudson. ”Frankly, if we had been in Kenya, Columbia Pictures would have pulled the plug on the movie.”

SUMMER OF SPIKE Spike Lee received a seven-minute ovation at the Director’s Fortnight press debut of his latest film, ”Summer of Sam.” With cast members John Leguizamo, Mira Sorvino, and Adrien Brody at the post-screening conference, Lee explained why ”Sam” was made despite protest from families of David Berkowitz’ victims.

”This movie is not just about Son of Sam, it’s about that whole crazy summer of ’77, with Studio 54 opening, Reggie Jackson, the blackout, everything,” Lee said. ”I knew I would hear from these parents, but nothing I could’ve done was going to bring their daughters back. We had Disney’s greenlight, and we were going to make this movie.” Lee had another reason to capture the frantic spirit of ’77: ”That was the summer I decided to become a filmmaker. I bought myself a Super-8 camera.”

TARGET MARKETING For the unofficial screening of Kevin Smith’s Church-censured ”Dogma,” Miramax reps are making sure the theater’s full of potential fans: ”How old are you guys? 25? Good, come to ‘Dogma,”’ the PR guy said to a couple of huddling groups of fraternity types. Guess the over-35 crowd could be too conservative for the controversial flick.

SUNDANCE SMASH Beside the few standouts — Pedro Almodovar’s ”Todo Sobre Mi Madre” and Jim Jarmusch’s ”Ghost Dog” — the films most buzzed about are the Sundance babies: newbie auteurs Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick’s camp creep-fest, ”The Blair Witch Project,” and directorial princess Sofia Coppola’s teen psychodrama ”The Virgin Suicides.” After continuously packed screenings, rumors on the Croisette suggest that Coppola’s a strong contender for the Camera D’Or (awarded to the best Cannes first-timer). Not that ”Suicides” needs hype: Josh Hartnett + Kirsten Dunst (not to mention four other beautiful blond teens, Kathleen Turner, and James Woods) = possible hit.

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