HELMERS GO SMALLER: Alfonso Cuaron, whose “Great Expectations” didn’t quite live up to lofty expectations, looks likely to direct an untitled film known in the creative community as “Billy, Please Come Home, We Need You,” a Miramax project he scripted with Tim Sexton, which will be produced by Mark Johnson.
At the same time, John Landis, whose “Blues Brothers 2000” has Universal singing the blues, is getting serious about “Susan’s Plan,” a film said to be in the $6 million range.
Barry Levinson got better reaction with “Wag the Dog” than he did on “Sphere,” which cost five times as much. Other directors might well go the down-and-dirty “Dog” route.
SPACEY TO OPPOSE ‘SUPERMAN’?: After a year of script-related delays, it looks like “Superman Reborn” is finally poised to get off the ground, with Tim Burton directing and Nicolas Cage starring. Warner Bros. is courting “L.A. Confidential” star Kevin Spacey to play the villain.
CLASSIC HORROR, REBORN: One of the seminal horror anthology series is in the process of being reincarnated at Universal and NBC. Dish hears that producers Tom Thayer (former Universal TV prexy) and Dave Phillips are working with Manny Coto (“The Outer Limits”) to put together a two-hour pilot of “Night Gallery,” with hopes of turning it into an hourlong series. They’re talking with Stephen King and Clive Barker, among others, to contribute stories for the pilot, though the principals said no deals have been made.
The King story they’re after is “The Boogeyman,” which originated in his short story collection “Night Shift,” and concerned a man who shares his paranoia about boogeymen with a new therapist. “Night Gallery” is best remembered for launching the directing career of Steven Spielberg, and utilizing the narrating talents of Rod Serling.
In a move out of the “Twilight Zone,” Dish hears they could bring Serling back through the use of computer technology. Endeavor reps Coto.
CURTIS’ SCREEN SCARE PLANS: While “Night Gallery” vies for a tube resurgence, two other small-screen scare classics are headed for feature treatment. Dan Curtis is mounting his bloodsucking chronologies “Dark Shadows” and “The Night Stalker” for feature films. Curtis, whose credits also include the miniseries “Winds of War” and “War and Remembrance,” cut his teeth in the vampire genre with “Dark Shadows,” which ran January 1966 through April 1971, and “Night Stalker,” which ran September 1974-August 1975.
Curtis, who recently hatched the “Hallmark Hall of Fame” entry “The Love Letter,” is now scripting “Night Stalker” with Richard Matheson and Steve Feke as he works solo on his “Shadows” script. He’ll mount both with indie financing, and the only thing he’s set on is that “Stalker” will be set in Las Vegas. “Vegas is such a natural setting for vampires — it puts Transylvania to shame,” he said.
ADELSTEIN’S ALLY ORDEAL: It takes a major crisis to keep Endeavor agent Marty Adelstein away from important home games of his beloved L.A. Lakers. So when Adelstein’s wife and his Endeavor partners wanted to surprise him for his 39th birthday at the Palm, they knew they needed a good distraction to lure him away from a recent game.
Adelstein was told by Fox web execs Peter Roth and Rob Dwek that the network was moving “Ally McBeal” from its burgeoning Monday slot to the death slot opposite “Seinfeld” on Thursdays. With that sword of Damocles hanging over his head, Adelstein and colleague Rick Rosen headed for the Lakers game, with Adelstein not thinking anything of it when Rosen asked to drop his car off for his wife at the Palm. He was caught unawares by a phalanx of revelers.
“The one thing that would have kept me distracted was that show moving to Thursday, and they totally had me going,” said Adelstein. “I was stunned.”