STUART GETS A LITTLE For next summer’s ”Stuart Little 2,” that cute mouse voiced by Michael J. Fox will do some serious interspecies dating with a CGI bird named Margalo. ”She’s been there, done that,” says producer Doug Wick. ”She’s a little bit of a flapper.” Providing the avian voice: Melanie Griffith. ”The first movie I ever made was ‘Working Girl,”’ Wick says. ”Melanie played a street girl in that and she does in this, too — just with wings.”
SHOOTING BLANKS Just a year ago, the Shooting Gallery seemed right on target. The indie company helped produce the Oscar-nominated ”You Can Count on Me” and released the $7 million hit ”Croupier” as part of an innovative series of independent films in a special distribution program, which won an award from the New York Film Critics Circle. Even its TSG logo was hip, thanks to a cap sported by Monica Lewinsky. But on June 27, just two months after acquiring the outfit, Canadian tech holding company Itemus announced that the financial situation at its new subsidiary had ”deteriorate[d]” and that virtually all of its employees had been pink-slipped. How could a company that appeared to be at the top of its game go under so suddenly?
Shooting Gallery Films president Eamonn Bowles, one of those now out of a job, blames it on the company’s ”insane rapid expansion trying to chase the dotcom dollars. They went from 35 employees to 275 in the course of a year, totally changing their whole business ethic.” Meanwhile, the latest season of the film series faltered miserably, with only one of the six entries (”The Day I Became a Woman”) earning more than $200,000 at the box office. Fans of the Shooting Gallery’s output shouldn’t lose hope: Miramax plans to kick off its similar World Film Series by the end of the year.
REINCARCERATION ”Tomb Raider” director Simon West will tackle another cult phenomenon with his next project: an update of the 1968-69 British TV series ”The Prisoner,” about a man (played by Patrick McGoohan in the original) who wakes up in an unknown place with a new name, No. 6. ”It’s a very tough nut to crack,” admits West, who’s been developing the Universal project, rumored to be written by ”Planet of the Apes” scribes Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal, for more than three years. ”It’s got to be as innovative and thought-provoking as the series was, though it won’t be an exact replica. The world has changed a bit since the ’60s.” West, who denies online speculation that a love interest for the prisoner will be added, says that he hopes to start filming in the spring for a 2003 release.
Additional reporting by William Keck