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‘Superman’ un-Caged as ‘Snake Eyes’ rolls

Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. have come to a resolve concerning the Nicolas Cage debacle involving his commitment to Par’s “Snake Eyes” and Warner Bros.’ “Superman.”

Cage first will star in Brian DePalma’s “Snake Eyes,” which will begin July 21 and will continue for 12 weeks. After that, Cage will segue to “Superman,” which has postponed its start date one week to Oct. 6.

If Cage is not finished on “Snake Eyes” before the Oct. 6 date, he will have to finish the picture after “Superman,” but all parties involved said he should have enough time between the two pictures and the shooting scheduled was rearranged to accomodate Cage. The two studios also will have to work out release dates on the pictures so they don’t compete.

The resolve came after tensions arose between Creative Artists Agency and both studios over Cage’s availability (Daily Variety, May 5). One side said Cage’s deal on “Snake Eyes” was contingent upon his commitment to his “Superman” role and documents supported that. However, Paramount contended that CAA waived that contingency when CAA client Will Smith passed on “Snake Eyes” because of money.

After legal letters were exchanged between Paramount and CAA, Cage attorney Jake Bloom and Cage management head Brad Grey straightened the situation out with the studio brass, sources said.

The situation got so out of hand that it drew Viacom Entertainment Group chairman Jon Dolgen, Paramount Pictures chairman Sherry Lansing and Warner Bros. co-chairmen Bob Daly and Terry Semel into the fray.

Promises?

According to several sources involved in the fiasco, the problem arose because CAA president Richard Lovett — who represents Cage and DePalma — made promises to Warner Bros. brass and Paramount brass that they had Cage locked in for their dates when they didn’t. “Lovett basically told everyone that everything was OK when it wasn’t and then tried to fix it behind the scenes,” said one source who was involved in the scrap and requested anonymity. Said another, “Neither studio was happy with how it was handled. But the problem is resolved now and we can go on from here.”

However, a CAA source said, “The entire time we negotiated for Nick, his deal was at every minute of the process contingent on the date for ‘Superman.’ At no point did we ever say that the contingency was dropped. The communication problem was at Paramount.”

The situation was resolved Friday with Bloom and Grey at Grey’s house where they discussed it with Daly, Semel and subsequently Dolgen (who was vacationing in Sun Valley) and Lansing. Lovett was on vacation and not involved in the meeting.

Over the past two weeks, the blame fell on Cage manager Jerry Harrington. However, sources said Harrington’s integrity in town overrode the finger-pointing. “Jerry Harrington was consistently the voice of reason and insight and was not the problem,” said one source with knowledge of the situation.

Regardless, the constant accusations of lying and the finger-pointing has left a trail of bad blood for several key relationships around town that is sure to have an impact on all involved.

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