Helmer, star set for big fat Elvis project

Zwick, Basinger to begin shooting Sept. 15 in New Mexico

A correction was made to this article on Aug. 5, 2003.

LONDON — Kim Basinger will star as a cosmetic saleswoman whose life is strangely entangled with Elvis Presley in Joel Zwick’s romantic comedy “Elvis Has Left the Building.”

Pic, which starts shooting Sept. 15 in New Mexico, is Zwick’s first feature since he hit the jackpot with “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”

Basinger will play the hapless Harmony, born during an Elvis concert and ever after linked in some way to the King.

While on the road hawking lipstick, she accidentally kills a couple of Elvis impersonators and ends up on the run from the FBI. So, in an unlikely coincidence, does a depressed advertising executive whose path intersects romantically with hers as the pair head toward the pic’s climax at an Elvis convention in Las Vegas.

The movie is fully financed by London-based Capitol Films, which is handling worldwide distribution.

Producer is Tova Laiter (“Varsity Blues”), with a screenplay by Adam-Michael Garber and Mitchell Ganem.

“We are excited to be working with Joel Zwick, Kim Basinger and the rest of the team,” said Capitol co-founder Sharon Harel.

Capitol gains

Capitol’s slate includes “Sylvia,” the biopic of doomed poetess Sylvia Plath, starring Gwyneth Paltrow; Robert Altman’s “The Company”; and family fantasy “Five Children and It,” starring Kenneth Branagh.

Basinger will shoot “Elvis Has Left the Building” before moving on to her next leading role in the New Line thriller “Cellular.” She has just finished Tod Williams’ “The Door in the Floor” for Focus.

Further down the line, Zwick is attached to “Fat Albert” at 20th Century Fox and Mandalay’s “Centerfold.”