MARTHA & ANGIE? Martha Coolidge is the director of choice to replace Jonathan Kaplan on “Angie, I Says,” the one-time Madonna/now Geena Davis starrer that has had its share of behind-the-scenes mishegoss (Yiddish for “maybe we should have not have acquired this project out of turnaround in the first place”). Former Fox movie chief-turned-indie producer Joe Roth confirmed yesterday, “We’re going to make an offer for Martha” today, when she and her agent return to town. “We’re hoping she’ll do it, we’re assuming she will,” said Roth, who’s producing the edgy comedy with Roger Birnbaum and Larry Brezner. “Martha’s a good director and if ever there was a women’s movie, this is it.”
But that’s not why Jonathan Kaplan lost the gig.
Brezner said he still doesn’t exactly understand why Davis refused to work with the director, but that he and his producing partners personally “feel bad” about what happened when Kaplan got booted off the project. Brezner said he heard, however, that Kaplan’s settlement was “pretty pleasing”–money-wise, anyway.
Brezner said Coolidge was one of the names on Davis’ “wide list of directors” with whom she wanted to work. “Geena was very open about a list of directors she was interested in. She gave it a lot of thought and felt most comfortable with Martha.”
While Brezner declined to say what other directors were on that list, sources leaked that Garry Marshall passed last week because he’s doing another pic.
Roth said once a deal can be sealed with the “Rambling Rose” director, the other roles will be cast, including that of Angie, who plays Davis’ best friend in the movie, which is targeted to begin lensing in April. Madonna was originally set in the Davis role of Tina, but wound up off the project and peeved because she thought Roth didn’t have confidence in her acting abilities. Brezner now hopes all the bad karma surrounding the project is over. “I got a call from (Disney Studios chairman) Jeffrey (Katzenberg) saying, “‘Your movie is blessed’ … So everything in the end is working out.”
IS RODNEY KING HEXED?: There’s a scene in Alan Spencer’s upcoming “neurotic, erotic” comedy thriller “Hexed” that’s sure to cause some controversy, as it appears to parody the not-so-funny Rodney King beating. A sneak peak at the movie, which Columbia Pix will preview to the press in L.A. and New York Thursday and will release on Jan. 22, shows four cops beating up on a guy–even though he’s a white villain who deserves his comeuppance. But the movie’s writer-director Spencer, whose “Sledge Hammer” series ran three seasons on ABC, claims, “I’ve never intended to imitate the Rodney King beating.” He says, “I’ve always done comedy about police brutality and over-the-top violence, and this was more a satire of ‘Planet of the Apes’ when the gorillas beat up Charlton Heston.”
The filmmaker says, in fact, he wrote the script, including that scene, prior to the King beating. Spencer does admit, however, that when he was actually filming the movie in Dallas last fall, after the King incident, he added a shot where somebody is recording the beating with a hand-held Camcorder.
“I included it at the end of the scene to show how so many things these days are captured on Camcorders,” Spencer said, acknowledging he had the King beating in mind.
Spencer says that even if he does get any backlash about the scene, “It can’t be taken out because it’s a key plot point” in the movie, which he says is about a hotel desk clerk who gets entangled with a gorgeous but psychotic model “who is 51 cards short of a full deck.”
The writer-director also quipped, “I tell people not to worry. There are much more offensive things in the movie than that scene. … And, besides, the guy who gets beat up in my movie is a rich, white, Republican putz who drives a Corvette–so he clearly deserves it.”
SONY EXEX RESOLVE ’93: When Sony Pictures Entertainment exex were polled about their thoughts and resolutions for the coming year for the company’s in-house newsletter, there were those who took it seriously, those who kept it light and those who didn’t take at all and refused to be quoted.
From the humorous side of the company’s street, Columbia Pix TV prexy Scott Siegler said, “I resolve that I will grow taller and lose less hair in 1993.”
Lester Borden, Col’s merchandising VP and general manager, said his ’93 resolution was to “wake up each morning first on (Col’s exec VP/marketing prexy) Sid Ganis’ phone list and to be in my office when he calls.”
The more serious, always flag-waving Ganis, on the other hand, resolved: “Want to win … want to love … be healthy!”
In DISH’s estimation, Gary Martin, president of physical production for Sony’s motion picture group, wins the least inspired quote award: “Let all our budgets be low and our revenues gigantic!”
SPE chairman Peter Guber was equally dull with his common refrain from “Lawrence of Arabia”: “Next year, Aqaba!”
Taking the all-time altruistic cake, though, was Columbia Pix global guru Mark Canton, who waxed: “My New Year’s thoughts are: Peace and happiness in a meaningful way. Real joy for children. Safety in the world. Keep our feet on the ground and our heads in the air. May our hearts and heads find balance with each other so that the world is a great place to be.”