From Mariah Carey to Mike Myers, some stars with teetering careers

By EW Staff
Updated October 27, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

Sony Music’s very own Rapunzel. The 30-year-old diva (and ex-Mrs. Mottola) has been quietly singing the blues about getting out of her Sony contract but owes the label an album. In the meantime, she’s taking that big step and making All That Glitters, filming in Toronto.

Ex-Fox studio chief BILL MECHANIC
Exiting the lot after seven rocky years, he can claim Titanic-size victories as well as the failure of the pricey animation division, which reportedly helped cost him his job. His sequel? The popular 50-year-old is lining up financing for his own shingle in the mold of ex-Disney Studios chief Joe Roth’s Revolution Studios.

Even as The Spy Who Shagged Me was grooving to the tune of $300 million-plus worldwide, things were less than shagadelic behind the scenes. Imagine and Universal sued Myers for backing out of Dieter in nasty lawsuits that called the 37-year-old actor-writer ”egomaniacal,” ”selfish,” and an ”inexcusable” bigot. (The sides reached a settlement, with Myers agreeing to make another movie for Imagine and Universal.) Still a genius? Definitely, but now typecast as Austin and Dr. Evil.

What could possibly heal the sting of getting pushed out from the label you founded 25 years ago? How about $150 million and a 50 percent stake in a new label — which BMG gave the legendary music man to start J Records? Davis, 67, has already signed soul smoothie Luther Vandross and boy band O-Town, and struck a joint venture with Wyclef Jean’s Clef Records. The downside: Most of the big-ticket names he nurtured (Whitney Houston, Santana) will remain at Arista.

Franchise Pictures’ ELIE SAMAHA
Thanks to a complex web of financing and foreign tax shelters, the former dry cleaning operator- turned-movie mogul opens his checkbook to major stars with expensive pet projects: Sylvester Stallone in Get Carter and Driven; Kevin Costner in 3,000 Miles to Graceland; The Pledge, directed by Sean Penn and starring Jack Nicholson. Sometimes Samaha, 43, lands a sleeper hit (The Whole Nine Yards). But catering to star whims can lead to red ink (John Travolta’s Battlefield Earth).

The 55-year-old CEO of Vivendi-controlled media group Canal+ is supposed to help bridge the culture gap between Vivendi and Seagram’s Universal (he’s no stranger to players in the foreign film market). But — sacre bleu! — there are rumors of a rift between him and Vivendi head Jean-Marie Messier over Lescure’s role in the company. Messier has denied tension, but the contretemps won’t inspire much Hollywood confidence.

Interscope’s TOM WHALLEY
Got the job of his dreams, and a reported $30 mil deal, to help run Warner Bros. Records, but not until his contract runs out in 2002. Until then, the 48-year-old exec is the lame-duck prexy of Interscope Geffen A&M, where he oversaw such hitmakers as the Wallflowers, Sting, and Limp Bizkit.