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H’wood’s strange love affair with mysterious Mr. K

ONE FILMMAKER NEVER TO BE counted out is Stanley Kubrick. News that he’s adapting Louis Begley’s “Wartime Lies” for the big screen stirred up excitement among film buffs who’ve waited seven years since “Full Metal Jacket.” After all, his “Dr. Strangelove” and “2001: A Space Odyssey” have become touchstones for what Hollywood doesn’t do anymore in the way of entertainment.

But, aside from the casting of young Joe Mazzello as a Polish Jew wandering the bombed-out countryside circa 1944 with his aunt a la “Europa, Europa” or “The Painted Bird,” little else seems set in stone. The prospect of a summer shoot has evaporated and our mole says September or October somewhere in Eastern Europe.

And what of a female actress?

Well, at one time his Kubrickness contemplated Julia Roberts. Then it was Uma Thurman. The latter’s agent would still love to get the call, as would virtually every under-30 female with a SAG card.

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We’ve been told that one Oscared lass has been waging a campaign so fierce, she’s been dubbed Attila the Hen at “Wartime Lies” central.

Another interesting aspect of this particular project is the Kubrick family’s obsession with the Nazi era. Mr. K has been voraciously reading books and novels on the period for more than a decade in hopes of finding just the right one to bring to the screen. Aside from his own Jewish heritage, a key element to his interest stems from the fact that his wife, Christian, grew up in Germany during the height of the Nazi era and, not surprisingly, it haunts her to this day.

SLIGHTLY OFF THE KUBRICK BEAT, heat is building once again for director Adrian Lyne’s plans to redo “Lolita” for Carolco. Kubrick did it in 1962 with an intrepid cast comprised of James Mason, Sue Lyon, Shelley Winters and Peter Sellers. Everyone will tell you that version of Nabokov’s novel was a classic.

Well, almost everyone.

Lyne insists it wasn’t very good. When the first announcement of Lyne’s remake was made, Mason fils Morgan was floored by an encounter with the director who took great pains to explain why father James was ill-suited to the role of Humbert.

More recently, Lyne has said Mason was “too sleazy,” and therefore what nubile young thing could ever possibly fall for him?

So, with plans to shoot in 1994 with a screenplay by James Dearden, who does Mr. L have in mind for his cast?

Apparently he has already approached Dustin Hoffman to play Humbert and also made the call to Gerard Depardieu for the role of Quilty, played by Sellers earlier.

The 1994 Lolita will likely be an unknown, natch. Juliette Lewis was, however , considered prior to emerging from pubescence.

STOP US IF YOU’VE heard this one before.

A group of upwardly mobile businessmen pluck a homeless man from the streets, set him loose and vie to see who will track him down first and make the kill. It does sound suspiciously like Universal’s “Hard Target,” a fall release starring Jean-Claude Van Damme as the prey. It also echoes back to the oft-filmed “The Most Dangerous Game” based on Richard Connell’s short story.

However, we’re talking about New Line’s fast-tracked “Surviving the Game” from producer David Permut. We don’t see how the indie can beat Universal to the theaters, but word on the street is that Ice-T has a hefty offer to run through the wilderness for New Line.

ANOTHER MOST DANGEROUS GAME you may have noticed is the public domain arena. It all began with “Robin Hood” and a bitter fight between Morgan Creek and 20th Century Fox over who’d be out first with that story. Then there were competitions involving “Huck Finn” and “The Three Musketeers.”

Seems that one also-ran in an earlier race now wants to dust off “Treasure Island.” Ironically, he approached the screenwriter of the competing project that aced him out, and the two decided to team to fashion a Long John Silver for the ’90s.

The collaboration apparently didn’t last long. After a couple of encounters, the two men parted company over a difference in approach. The scribe, however, liked his take on the material so much, he rushed back to his computer and punched out a screenplay. The filmmaker meanwhile is too consumed with completing his latest film to pony up for another close encounter.

JAMES M. CAIN’S NOVEL “Galatea” has been a near obsession for Scala Prods. (formerly Palace) for almost two years and everyone had been shrugging their shoulders about these mad Brits who wanted to do this weird story as well as something called “The Crying Game.”

The yarn centers on an obese woman whose gangster husband forces an ex-con to babysit her and watch what she puts in her mouth. Despite the arrival and departure of directors Bernard Rose and Martin Donovan, actress Virginia Madsen has held tough for the role. Now, Paramount is making noise that it wants to do a negative pickup, and filming will begin in August with Julian Temple at the helm.

Val Kilmer plays the hood and Chris Walken the sugar daddy. Madsen, by the way, won’t do a De Niro, opting instead for a fat suit. What, did you think she was born yesterday?!

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