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Par makes ‘Bogus’ deal

Paramount Pictures has acquired Norman Jewison’s “Bogus” in turnaround from Warner Bros., giving the director a solid one-two production punch for 1994 release.

“Bogus” will follow production of TriStar Pictures’ “Him” on Jewison’s dance card. As previously reported, “Him” is set to go into production in August with Oscar winner Marisa Tomei starring. Fried/Woods Films produces the movie.

Warner Bros. has a first-look deal with Jewison’s Yorktown Prods., but elected to pass on “Bogus” earlier this month. Paramount chairman Sherry Lansing received Alvin Sargent’s screenplay on Friday, April 23, and committed to the project the following Monday morning. Studio president of production John Goldwyn shepherds the project.

The pic is about a salesman of cups and plates for hotels and his son, who must learn how to deal with one another when the boy’s mother (a blackjack dealer) is killed. The title of the movie comes from the boy’s imaginary friend, Bogus. Budget of the movie is estimated at around $ 25 million.

“Him” and “Bogus” have been cobbled together by Jewison and VP development Cathy Konrad, who brought the material to the company. Konrad is a former Amblin Entertainment executive.

In two years, the company’s development slate has burgeoned from three projects to 15 under Konrad and VP production Chris Cook.

“Bogus” was spawned during a road trip from Detroit to Los Angeles by Sargent and Jewison, who took time out to haunt blues clubs, check out a hockey game in St. Louis, visit the Cowboy Hall of Fame in New Mexico and take a guided tour of the Hoover Dam.

“We worked the entire plot structure for ‘Bogus’ on the trip,” Jewison said. “By the time we reached San Bernardino, we were into the last moments of the story.”

Though “Bogus” is at Paramount and “Him” at TriStar, Warner Bros. is still covering some of its overhead from its first-look deal. Yorktown is developing screenwriter Tom Serchio’s remake of the French film “Gaspard Et Robinson.”

Jewison, who has directed such films as “In the Heat of the Night” and “Moonstruck,” said the WB project, titled “Atlantic Avenue,” caught his fancy because it tackles “granny-dumping”– the practice of abandoning elderly parents when they become a burden.

Gail Baigelman is attached as exec producer on the pic, which is estimated in the $ 20 million range.

On the “Him” front, the $ 25 million pic is scheduled for 10 days of shooting in Pittsburgh and 54 in Italy. Jewison said, “This is one of the few good locations I’ve had. Usually, I’m in Paducah, Ky., or Fort Smith, Ark.”

Parkway is also dipping into the low-budget waters with the $ 5.5 million TNT picture “Geronimo.”

The project tackles the story from the Native American point of view. Director of the project is Roger Young, producer is Ira Marvin and co-producer is Hanay Geiogamah (an Native American Indian from the Kiowa tribe).

Columbia Pictures is planning a $ 35 million project by the same name.

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