By EW Staff
Updated April 21, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT
Marni Grossman

”You probably wouldn’t guess it from that pie- f—ing scene in our last movie, but we really love the old films from the ’30s and ’40s,” says Chris Weitz. ”That’s one of the things that attracted us to this project.” The project is a remake of Warren Beatty’s 1978 ”Heaven Can Wait” (itself a remake of the 1941 classic ”Here Comes Mr. Jordan”). Rock plays a failing comic who gets hit by a bus and lands in a white millionaire’s body.

”Nobody has seen me in a movie like this before,” he says. ”Usually I play the fifth lead. I walk into a scene, say something funny, and walk out. But this one is a total Chris Rock vehicle.” Before signing on, Rock chatted up Beatty. ”Turns out Warren had originally wanted Muhammad Ali to play the lead in his movie,” Rock says. ”He thought it made more sense for a black guy to play the part. But our movie actually isn’t that similar to Beatty’s. It’s an extensive rewrite.” The rewriting continues: The Weitzes are battling to change the film’s title. Given their success with pastry, Paul favors Rock’s idea: ”Coconut Cake.”