Though Elizabeth Taylor’s facing painful hip replacement surgery, she’s got something to look forward to. According to sources, she has agreed in principle and is close to signing for the starring role in “Daughters of Eve,” an international primetime series that is being co-produced and financed by Paramount and Procter &Gamble. The studio is currently in discreet talks with the networks for the right to air the show in the U.S. this fall, with Paramount also selling international rights.
This will be Taylor’s first regular TV role since she played a short stint on the daytime soap “General Hospital.” According to sources, Taylor will be paid close to $ 125,000 per episode. Her spokeswoman didn’t return calls.
The show is the creation of Terry Louise Fisher and Steve Brown, co-creators of “Malibu 2000.” Fisher also co-created “L.A. Law” with Steven Bochco. In “Daughters of Eve,” Taylor will play a wealthy matriarch of a high society clan. During her storied past, Taylor’s character accumulated a long list of dashing lovers, and her three daughters are following in her footsteps, caught up in the social swirl. One daughter lives in New York, another in London and the third in Paris, with the plan to shoot regularly in each country. One source described the show as a cross between “Dynasty” and”Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.”
LUCAS BACK WITH FORCE: George Lucas’ long-awaited plans to make another “Star Wars” trilogy are beginning to crystallize, and Dish hears he’s overcome his reluctance to direct again, and will helm the first or second installment in the new trilogy, whose storyline predates the first three Darth Vader-Luke Skywalker films.
Lucas, who has not directed since the first “Star Wars” in 1977 and had a falling out with the Directors Guild over director’s credit for “The Empire Strikes Back” in 1980, has prepared a treatment and wants to be in production on the first film before the end of 1995 or early 1996. The hope is to complete production on all three films before the turn of the century.
Though Fox made a fortune distributing the first three films, the studio lost the inside track on future “Star Wars” films because Lucas had a key man clause in his contract, referring to then-owner of Fox, Marvin Davis. When Davis sold the studio to Rupert Murdoch, the rights went away.
Dish hears that every other major is lining up, with Universal and Warner Bros. considered the leading contenders. U might have the inside track: Tom Pollock was once Lucas’ lawyer and they have a good relationship. The studio is distribbing “The Radioland Murders,” which is being exec produced by Lucas and will employ much of the same advanced digital post-production technology Lucas honed on his “Young Indiana Jones” TV series.
Lucas will finance the films himself — possibly shooting them back to back with new and inexpensive cast — with a studio furnishing P&A money and getting a distribution fee.
Lucas will also retain the lucrative ancillary and merchandising rights to the films. Merchandise from the original “Star Wars”– including the top-selling CD-rom game “Rebel Assault”– continues to generate huge revenue. But even though the victorious studio won’t share in that windfall, the opportunity to cream the competition in market share into the next century makes this trilogy an irresistible proposition for any major.
Through a spokeswoman, Lucas said that he’s made no distribution decisions yet, but will talk to Fox soon. He confirmed that Lucasfilm will finance the trilogy and keep merchandising. Lucas also said he’s completely open on the subject of directors. He didn’t rule himself out.
PAR’S HACK ATTACK: Though the minds of Paramount execs have surely been on potential whackings, computer hacking was the chief focus of execs Bob Jaffe and John Goldwyn last week. The execs got Par to pay a low six-figure fee against mid-six figures to Jonathan Littman for the rights to make a movie from his Sept. 12 L.A. Times Magazine article “The Last Hacker,” and major names are lining up to be involved. It’s the story of Kevin Lee Poulson, a skilled computer hacker who was so inventive he once disabled the phone system of KIIS-FM so he could be the 102nd caller and win the $ 50,000 Porsche giveaway.
More seriously, he’s been charged with using his expertise to breach national security by accessing top secret files and selling the information. He’s even suspected of disabling the phone systems of “Unsolved Mysteries” after he was profiled, so that callers couldn’t furnish clues to his whereabouts. Poulson was caught and has been in jail for the last three years, facing more than 100 years in prison.
ICM agent Kris Dahl got Littman to turn the article into a book for Little, Brown, and ICM’s Irene Webb racked up yet another sale for the screen rights to the hacker story. It was a vigorous tug of war between Touchstone, which was trying to purchase it for “City Slickers” director Ron Underwood, and Paramount, chasing it for producer Oren Koules.
Littman chose Koules, and now, Dish hears, Underwood wants to join Koules to direct. Littman, meanwhile, has remained tight with the underground community of hackers as he researches his book. That takes its toll. Among other things, the mischief meisters have already changed his voice mail greeting to render an obscene proposal.