Jewison nixes ‘Rollerball’ credit

GOOD MORNING: Norman Jewison took his name off the credits as one of the producers of “Rollerball,” which MGM and Atlas Entertainment are now remaking in Montreal with John McTiernan at the helm and also producing with Charles Roven and Beau St. Clair with Michael Tadross as exec producer. “He was very gracious about it,” Roven says. But, of course, Jewison does retain an intere$t in the new version. (He did not for the remake of “The Thomas Crown Affair”) Jewison told me. MGM’s president of production Bob Relyea, who teamed with Jewison and Steve McQueen on “Thomas Crown” (also remade by McTiernan) has been on the location and confirms the new version is “so much more complicated.” All the exex compliment the cast of Chris Klein, Jean Reno, LL Cool J and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos in the new creation set in the TV’d games emanating from Kazakhstan. The lust for ratings today is evidenced in the pic’s competing principals. And the manipulation of the producer to achieve them. Roven reminds how much we are concerned with instant gratification today. It was 25 years ago when the first “Rollerball” rolled out onto the bigscreen picturing the world’s increasingly voracious appetite for alternative physical sports. And when MGM (UA) decided a year ago to remake the film, little did they dream it would arrive in a world devouring increasing quantities of big and small screen physical competition — for box office and/or ratings. The success of the “Gladiator,” f’rinstance in theaters. St. Clair says it is also the “gladiator” mentality of the TV viewers as evident in shows like the WWF and WCW — and even “Survivor” validates the public’s thirst to anoint a physical, well as mental, winner … In Norman Jewison’s first “Rollerball” (1975) the setting was 2018. In the current film directed by McTiernan, the pic takes place “five minutes in the future and the future is fierce.” Klein, LL Cool J and Romijn-Stamos (as a Russian) are the competitors. James Caan was the hero in the first and John Houseman was the original’s heavy. Now it’s Reno as a Third World media mogul. Jewison filmed in Munich and London. McTiernan is filming outside Montreal on a track tested by cyclists and skaters. Most of the f/x will be shot on camera by McTiernan in close-up to the competitors — thus they must all deliver the goods … Jewison says of his version that it pointed out “the danger of using violence for entertaining the masses.” Also the “danger of a corporate-controlled world. It was a very political film — and a lot of it has come to pass.” Jewison never went to see McTiernan’s version of his “Thomas Crown Affair.” “I tried. I even got right up to the box office with my $8 but — I couldn’t do it.” Will he go to see McTiernan’s version of “Rollerball”? Stay tuned. Jewison has just completed “Walter & Henry” for Showtime with Dan Petrie Jr., James Coburn, John Larroquette, Kate Nelligan. And is readying “Dinner With Friends” for HBO. “You can’t make those kind of pictures for theaters any more,” he said, pointing out other top directors are seeking the cablers — like Mike Nichols now in England doing “Wit” with Emma Thompson. The Jewisons’ son, director Michael will wed Anita Camarata, the head of music/records for MGM-UA Oct. 1 at the Hotel Bel-Air … Jean Reno, who plays the Third World media mogul in the film, is termed “the gentle giant” by his coworkers. He tells me, “I am the bad guy — I try to manipulate everyone.” Next he’ll reteam to produce with longtime friend-director Luc Besson on “Banzai.”

ED BEGLEY JR. AND ROCHELLE CARSON WERE secretly wed in Las Vegas, Aug. 23. He completed ‘Getting On” and now bicycles (he does anyhow!) between “7th Heaven” and “Providence.” Rochelle wound “Once Upon A Christmas” … Pat and Larry Gelbart are great-grandparents. Grandson Sasha G. and wife Suzanne welcomed daughter Ceylon Stellaluna Gelbart Sept. 1 at Cedars-Sinai. The equally happy grandparents are Dan and Marcia Williams. Larry has completed 21 of the 26 planned 3-5 min. features for Bob Cooper’s Landscape Entertainment Web shows. Sample titles: “Top Gun” — about a witness at the Senate Hearing who decries gun controls (no one you know, of course); “Rubber Baron”; “From Here to Maternity”; and “Armers’ Market.” Again, stay tuned.

PLAYWRIGHT CATHERINE JOHNSON IS in town for two days in advance of the smash hit “Mamma Mia!’s” arrival at the Shubert Feb. 22, and B’way’s Winter Garden. She wrote the book for the show based on the songs of Abba. The show’s shattering box office records in London and Toronto. But writer Johnson also did some work for — screenwriter Johnson on her two-day visit. She met with Alan Ladd Jr. for whom she’s scripting “Bad Boys School” (tentative title). It’s set in L.A. — and this was her first visit. She also met with exex at DreamWorks to talk pic projects. L.A. legit scene is bringing out theater lovers: at the Coronet to see “Fully Committed,” Carl and Estelle Reiner, Robert Forster, Dennis Christopher, David Brenner, Michael York, Donna Mills, Sharon Lawrence. And at the Freud at UCLA to see “Call Me Madam,” Bruce Villanch, Ann Miller, Estelle Getty, Janis Paige, Carole Cook and Alanis Morissette.

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