NEW YORK — Producer Jerry Weintraub and “Tin Cup” director Ron Shelton have agreed to serve dual roles in the Warner Bros. film “The Colonel and Me.” Shelton will write and direct; Weintraub will produce and serve as the “Me” in the film’s title.
The film will tell the story of Weintraub’s early ca-reer, when he was hired and mentored by Col. Tom Parker, the longtime manager of Elvis Presley. Wein-traub became the promoter of Presley’s concerts.
“It’ll be told from my point of view, cover how we got together, how we did the Presley tours, everything that happened over the years,” Weintraub said, confirming he’d made a deal on the film with Shelton. Parker “gave me my first huge break in show busi-ness. I got to promote all the Elvis shows, right until the end. He was my mentor, my teacher, my father figure. It’s a road story, about a guy from New York and a guy from the South who got together and made a lot of money. He certainly made my career.”
Parker was an ex-carnival pitchman who rein-vented himself around a young singer with attitude and swagger. While critics lambasted him for taking a large percentage of Elvis’s earnings — once pur-ported to have reached 50% — some acknowledge that Presley might not have become an icon if it hadn’t been for Parker’s packaging and marketing savvy.
Although the plot revolves around the handling of Elvis, Presley will be a nominal presence. “It’s not going to be the Elvis Presley movie,” Weintraub said. “It’s my story, mine and the colonel.”
Weintraub said Shelton just signed to write and di-rect, making “Colonel” their second film development project. Shelton is also writing and directing the Weintraub-produced biopic of reggae legend Bob Marley.
“I think Ron Shelton’s one of the finest filmmakers in the world, and I think I’m pretty good, so the combination will be meaningful,” said Weintraub. “He’s the guy I think can best write and direct the story, a story that’s very close to me.”
It’s unclear when Shelton will start production on either. He recently finished an original comedy, “Dancing at 1,000 Palms,” a candidate to be his next project. But Shelton will also be busy with both Wein-traub films. As for Weintraub, he recently wrapped “The Avengers” with Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman and Sean Connery, and starts filming Jan. 20 on “Soldier” with Kurt Russell and Jason Scott Lee. Shelton’s agented by Geoffrey Sanford.
“WAG” DOGS HAMPTONS: New Line staged a dog-and-pony show for media and political wags Saturday in the Hamptons, where it unveiled the Barry Levinson-directed political satire “Wag the Dog.” The film features a White House consultant (Robert De Niro) and a Hollywood producer (Dustin Hoffman) who concoct a war against Albania to steer the media away from the president’s dalliance with an under-age scout.
It was well-received by perhaps the most diverse crowd ever assembled for a post-Thanksgiving Hamptons movie screening. “Wag”-watchers ranged from the scandal-plagued (Jean Harris and William Kennedy Smith) to media and political sages (Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, Don Hewitt of “60 Minutes”). The Hollywood contingent included Barry Sonnenfeld, Robert Benton, Roy Scheider, New Line’s Michael Lynne and “Wag” producer Jane Rosenthal.
While the media and political crowd wasn’t of-fended by the film’s portrayal of evil pols and dumb journalists, there were two adverse reactions to the wicked White House satire, said New Line’s Lynne. While the finished film used stock footage of the White House, the filmmakers were forced to drop the presidential seal from a scene. And the original intent to mention that the target of the presidential sex scan-dal was a Girl Scout didn’t exactly earn a merit badge with the scouts. So in the finished film, the president is caught in the clinches with a “Firefly Girl.” D’Amato gave “Wag” a thumbs up.
UNFUGGEDDABLE: Credit the Oscar campaigners behind “Donnie Brasco” for coming up with a clever way to make sure journalists don’t fuggedabout the Mike Newell-directed film in their Oscar stories. Journos received an expensive-looking electronic tissue dispenser lined with color stills from the film. When opened, it sets off a taped message, over and over again, of Johnny Depp’s memorable explanation of the multiple meanings of the film’s signature line, “Fuggedaboudit.”