CONEHEAD TURNS HOTHEAD: Dan Aykroyd lost it last week on the Paramount lot, where he’s shooting “Coneheads,” based on the “Saturday Night Live” skit he helped make famous.
In full “Conehead” attire, the actor reportedly threw a mega screaming fit at the studio’s Melrose Avenue gate after his personal wardrobe person was reprimanded by a security guard for busting the lot’s 8-mile-an-hour speed limit.MDBOAykroyd was so peeved after the incident — and after hearing that one of his production assistants was given a hard time when he tried to enter the lot late one night — that he burst into the guard station and “trashed it,” according to several witnesses at Par.
“He threw everything on the floor, pulled one of the phones out of the wall, threw papers, knocked the computer on the floor and held the button down on the wooden arm (that lets the cars in) and started motioning incoming cars to ‘please come right in … welcome to Paramount Pictures.’ ”
Sources said a female security guard witnessing the incident got so upset that she hyperventilated and had to go to the lot’s infirmary.
At one point during his tirade, Aykroyd commandeered one of the studio’s golf carts and drove around screaming and cursing.
Earlier in the “Coneheads” shoot, Aykroyd reportedly made such a stink about his makeup, hair and wardrobe people being, like the studio’s crew members, forced to park off the lot that Paramount finally made up special “Conehead” drive-on parking permits for the half-dozen or so involved.
Since last week’s incident, a Paramount source said Aykroyd has “calmed down and everything’s OK now.” The studio insider recalled a similar spectacle made by Aykroyd in the late ’70s when he was shooting “The Blues Brothers” for Universal and he tried to get a security guard fired for telling him he couldn’t park on the lot.
MDBOBRIT TO DRIVE “CITY SLICKERS II” HERD: It looks like English commercial director Paul Weiland will be making his feature debut with “City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold,” which Castle Rock is putting on the production trail for Columbia in late July.
With a script by Billy Crystal, Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, the follow-up to the successful 1991 Western comedy will take the boys (Crystal, Danny Stern, Jon Lovitz) on a search across the western United States for a lost treasure of gold.
Castle Rock partner Martin Shafer said “City Slickers” director Ron Underwood was “first choice” to helm the second installment, but his schedule didn’t jibe with the company’s plans to have the movie ready for release next May. Underwood just wrapped “Heart and Souls” for Universal and has 10 more weeks in post-production.
Shafer noted that he and his Castle Rock cronies were so impressed with Weiland’s work in commercials that they decided to “go on our instincts” and give the guy his feature break. A done deal with the Brit is said to be imminent.
TOWNE POLISHES OFF “DUST”: Robert Towne has finally wrapped his screen adaptation of John Fante’s 1939 novel “Ask the Dust,” which the “Chinatown” scribe will direct for Irving Azoff’s Giant Pix and for Warner Bros., if the studio signs off on the project as hoped.
Giant, which now controls the property and will produce the movie, submitted the Towne script to WB — its first-look home — and is awaiting a yea or nay from studio topper Robert Daly this week.
Towne’s CAA agents are said to be asking a pretty penny to make his deal, which could wind up being part of an overall arrangement, some sources speculate. The noted writer-director previously helmed two movies for the studio , 1988’s “Tequila Sunrise” and 1982’s “Personal Best.”
“Ask the Dust” has been a labor of love of Towne’s since he discovered the book 20 years ago while researching his 1974 classic “Chinatown.”
But he was only recently brought into the project, which over the years had been repeatedly optioned by funny man Mel Brooks, who previously commissioned a screenplay by Stephen Tolkin.
When Brooks let his option lapse last year, Giant quickly stepped forward and acquired the property in a partnership arrangement with former Fante estate agent Paul Yamamato.
“Ask the Dust” returns Towne to his “Chinatown” roots with its Depression-era story about a young writer from Colorado who moves to a seedy hotel in downtown Los Angeles and is ultimately forced to chose between his love for an earthy Hispanic waitress and his craft.
Sources said two actors being considered for the movie are Christian Slater and Winona Ryder.
MDBOFOX GOES AFTER TALKING MUTT: First there was a talking horse. Then a talking baby. Now Fox apparently can’t resist a movie about a talking dog that was pitched by producer Lauren Shuler-Donner.
Fox has purchased movie rights for the producer to Susan Meddaugh’s children’s book “Martha Speaks,” about a family who’s amazed when their dog Martha begins speaking after eating alphabet soup and the letters go to the mutt’s brain instead of her stomach.
The story is “really funny and has got an edge — it’s not saccharine sweet,” says the producer, noting Martha is “totally unrestricted, uncensored” and has no problem speaking her mind. “Why is that man so fat?” she asks about a man at the bus stop. “Yo, Rinty! Good dog. How’s the flea problem?” she asks another pooch on the street. “You people are so bossy. Come! Sit! Stay! You never say please,” she tells the family.
After discovering the book through her director of development, Julie Durke, MDBOthe producer said she submitted it first to Warner Bros., where she and director-husband Dick Donner have a first-look deal.
But when WB exex were “slow” in deciding and “waffling,” Shuler-Donner said she took the book to three rival studios, and “Fox was the most enthusiastic.”
The producer said she was talking to a screenwriter this week about adapting the material.