WHAT BEFITS A LEGEND MOST? Industry buzz is now in the high-decibel range in regard to Seagram’s stepped-up investment in Time Warner. Inside and out of the studio gates, the consensus is that Seagram’s Edgar Bronfman Jr. will soon be sitting on the company board. One insider is confident the Canadian company, which has increased its stake to 9.3%, will be TW’s single biggest shareholder within six months. This has also stirred those recurring rumors that the guy who got Bronfman involved in Time Warner — uberagent Michael Ovitz — just might be interested in running the company. Now, we’ve all heard stories that Mikey wants to run a studio. And there are just as many tales that contend he doesn’t want to wind up limiting his vision. “Yeah, but this isn’t just a film operation, it’s Time Warner,” insists a source at the company. “He’s really more than intrigued, and Bronfman, who’s not exactly the most politic guy, somehow has managed to push all the right buttons.” However, an Ovitz colleague said he’s heard these rumors before, ad infinitum. “He’s his own boss. This is a guy who isn’t going to jibe with a board of directors. It wouldn’t be any fun for him. I think I know him pretty well and I can absolutely, 100% assure you he won’t do it. At least, I don’t think he will.”
A FEW EYEBROWS WERE RAISED several weeks back when England submitted “Hedd Wyn” as its foreign-language submission for the Oscars. Now, we all know they talk a little funny in the U.K., but it is officially the same language we speak in the continental U.S. Actually, the Brit film is in Welsh and marks the second time in Academy history that the Isles have submitted in the category. Which brings us to a knotty little question involving Columbia’s “El Mariachi.” The low-budget indie would like to become the first-ever American submission in the foreign-language category. According to the rules, it qualifies, and filmmaker Robert Rodriguez is game to enter the Oscar sweepstakes. What’s got Rodriguez and his agent Robert Newman a bit perplexed is how to submit the film. It appears that the Academy doesn’t deal with a U.S. agency when it comes to clearing films. Queries to the American Film Institute about sponsorship have been met by blank stares, but a source at the pic’s studio said Columbia would like to facilitate the situation. This despite the fact that the closing date to submit has already passed. After all, the Academy also has a human side. When the national committee of Slovenia asked cine-officials about submitting its “When I Close My Eyes” in the foreign-language category, they were kept on tenterhooks until it could be determined whether the new republic was legit. After all, most nations automatically get a qualifying form. Well, the U.N. gave the nod and the Oscar folk had to admit a diplomatic oversight. They told the gang in Slovenia that the deadline would be extended a whole extra day just for their situation.
THAT OLE OSCAR MAGIC! “The Perils of P.K.” is one of those prophetic titles. Advertised as the “too muckin’ futch” flick, it snuck into the AMC Century City two weeks ago to qualify for Oscar consideration. It had a single screening daily at 10 a.m. for a week. To give an idea of its vintage, the cast includes Dick Shawn and Sammy Davis Jr. The lovable, madcap “P.K.” is played by Naura Hayden. Naur Ahayden is credited as editor, the presumably Indian Nau Raha Yden is the exec producer and Naurah Ayden wrote the screenplay. Music and lyrics are by Nau Rah Ayden and the vaguely anagramatic Joseph Green directed. Hayden, the actress, called to explain that shortly after filming was completed, and prior to post, Shawn died. His character was supposed to narrate the yarn. She said his death so unsettled her that she simply could not bear to deal with the picture. But time heals all wounds, and about six months ago she decided to finish the film as a tribute to the late actor. Additionally, she feels she has a pretty fair shot at an Oscar nod for best original song. The tune is delightfully titled “My Heart and I Miss Buenos Aires” and immediately conjures up visions of a samba. Laura Hayden — though uncredited on the poster — has the words and music by on the CD.
VERBAL DEALS PHOOEY? You can’t keep a good man down and Michael Myers is expected to rise again in “Halloween 6” or “Halloween VI,” depending on upcoming deal arrangements. Long before “Wayne’s World,” the other Mike scared up a big horror hit and four sequels of diminishing quality. “Halloween I” alums John Carpenter and Debra Hill decided if their creation was to live on, they’d like to have a hand in its future, and future profits. So, they concocted a yarn that’s gist is Mike in outer space. They rapped on doors, made the pitch, and many bruised knuckles later came to an agreement with New Line — proud owners of Freddy and, more recently, Jason. That concluded, the duo went to see co-rights-holder Moustapha Akkad to work out his participation. To their shock and horror, Akkad would have no part of it. He wanted the opportunity to go out and negotiate his own deal. When push came to shove, all parties converged at the court house. However, Hill and Carpenter realized they had the trump card. They had the story, the agreement from New Line and the tech talent ready to go to work. When Akkad entered the hearing, however, he was not alone. In tow was Miramax exec Tony Safford. A cloud descended, sealed bid deals were asked for and when the dust settled, Harvey and Bob Weinstein were proud owners of a new franchise.