Culkin illness delays ‘Rich’ wrap

GOOD MORNING: Macaulay Culkin’s eye infection has forced “Richie Rich” to shutter for a second week. “And we only had two weeks left,” Joel Silver sadly said. The movie, directed by Donald Petrie, had been going along swimmingly on all its locations and principal photography in Chicago. The $ 30 million “Rich” is slated by Warner Bros. for Christmas release. Among young “Richie’s” (Culkin’s) pleasures: his own McDonald’s shop inside his palatial home — the Biltmore estate. And, as you might imagine, McDonald’s will team with WB on an enormous campaign for the movie. (And the eventual homevideo? Attention Jeffrey Katzenberg.) Silver, longtime king of actioners, admits, “People are responding the most now to family entertainment movies — but action is still my favorite genre.” Silver’s involved with another favorite genre, on both big and small screens, with “Tales From the Crypt.” The first (of three) “Crypt” features for Universal is now filming: “Demon Knight,” directed by Ernest Dickerson and starring Billy Zane, William Sadler and Jada Pinkett. Gil Adler is producer, Alan Katz, co-producer. The exec producers behind the “Crypt” concept, big and small, are Silver, Dick Donner, David Giler, Walter Hill and Robert Zemeckis. The features are budgeted at $ 12 million, with most of it going to the special effects, says Silver. The next crypt feature, “Fat Tuesday,” voodoo themed, will be directed by Adler. The first, “Demon Knight,” is skedded for a Jan. 13, 1995, release, at which time 15 of the vid “Crypts” go into production to air on HBO and Fox.

ONE OSCAR WINNER DESERVES ANOTHER. From the Houston location of the six-part NBC “A Woman of Independent Means,” producer/director Robert Greenwald confirms to me that Ellen Burstyn (“Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”), who was to have co-starred, bowed out because of illness — but Brenda Fricker (“My Left Foot” Oscar winner) has joined the cast led by Sally Field, Ron Silver, Charles Durning, Tony Goldwyn and Jack Thompson. Greenwald estimates the budget for the giant mini will be $ 16,750,000. Sally Field, who aged as “Forrest Gump’s” mom, ages from a young bride to her 70s in Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey’s best-selling novel spanning 1890-1960. Incidentally, Sally has her same dialect coach, Jessica Drake, in “Woman” as she did for “Forrest.” Greenwald says Houston will double for Dallas, Vermont, Cape Cod and even some European sites. Texas Gov. Ann Richards and the Texas Film Commission are giving the company full cooperation — the troupe is bringing an estimated $ 3 million-$ 4 million into the state … Isabella Rosselini and Gary Oldman are getting married in December. They met during the Prague locationing of “Immortal Beloved” and I am told they are “deliriously happy.” Oldman is skedded to next location in Nova Scotia in “The Scarlet Letter” with Demi Moore … Personal manager/producer Brian Rix and Mark Gill, Col Pictures’ senior VP of publicity and promotion, are in D.C. to meet tonight with President Clinton at the White House as part of “California Day.” The group represents business leaders from various industries. Rix will ask the president to find ways for the government to foster independent film production through the National Endowment, tax credits and other incentives. Rix and partner Jane Ubell just produced “Sioux City,” starring and directed by Lou Diamond Phillips … And Friday, thesp Julie Carmen femcees a Pasadena Hilton gala where Clinton’s skedded to be keynote speaker at the dinner benefiting the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project. Carmen will preem a PSA she exec produced/directed, “Latina Vote ’94,” featuring Raquel Welch, Daphne Zuniga, Liz Torres, Seidy Lopez, etc. It will hopefully encourage Latin American women to register and vote.

THE TV ACAD’S EXEC DIRECTOR James W. Loper’s pact is renewed two more years, through 1996. He took over his Acad post in 1984 after 25 years as president of KCET … You may not always agree with Steve Allen’s “Reflexions” (Prometheus), his 43rd (!) book, but you certainly will admire some of ’em. Steverino’s thoughts range from “Acting” to “War”– and “Talk Shows.” About this business, he says, “It’s a giant impersonal machine, an enormous idol standing in a prehistoric jungle. It does not answer prayers.” Steve and wife Jayne Meadows celebrate their 40th wedding anni Friday at the BevHilton — where, as the Friars’ abbot, Steve presents Charlton Heston with the Friars’ Lifetime Achievement Award. Tonight, Heston, who starred in “The Greatest Show on Earth” as ringmaster, will re-enact his role at the Variety Clubs’ benefit opening of the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus at the Sports Arena.

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