We hear that Edward Norton (“Fight Club“) may step into Paramount’s crime actioner “The Score” as the young hood who locks horns with the older thief played by Robert De Niro. Ben Affleck was to co-star opposite De Niro but quickly exited the project for unknown reasons. Norton recently completed “Keeping the Faith,” in which he made his directorial debut.
PLAYGROUND’S SETTING OF PLAY: Some big — albeit under wraps — names are involved in the highly secret development of a new version of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” with the tony beach resort community of East Hampton, N.Y., to be the whimsical, if unlikely, setting.
There have already been at least eight big-screen adaptations of Shakespeare’s fantasy-comedy, so it’s a relief to learn that this latest effort is headed for its original home — the stage. Speaking of home, East Hampton is summer home to throngs of scenemakers — its famous beaches a far cry from the forests where the Bard’s sprites and fairies co-mingle — and is real home to Hollywood royalty such as Steven Spielberg, Barry Sonnenfeld and Alec Baldwin.
No, these latest “Midsummer” producers aren’t eyeing Alec for the role of Puck, although the not-obviously puckish Stanley Tucci did a nice turn as the mischievous Puck in the recent Fox Searchlight version of “Midsummer.”
PRICIER, LONGER & UNCUT: With the upcoming millennium celebration clouded by fears of terrorist attacks and uncertainties surrounding the fate of Beanie Babies, we thought we’d focus on something more positive for the new year — resolutions, or, more specifically, how well Hollywood keeps its promises.
For ages, the studios have resolved to spend less and entertain more (in 120 minutes or less). Think the infamous Jeffrey Katzenberg memo from the early 1990s, in which the then-Disney executive called for fiscal restraint and contracts that required directors to deliver pictures less than two hours.
Easier said (or written) than done.
While Hollywood budgets in 1999 didn’t reach the “titanic” heights of $200 mil, holiday films such as “End of Days,” “Sleepy Hollow,” “The World is Not Enough,” “Bicentennial Man” and “Galaxy Quest” all orbited around the $100 mil mark. Not exactly chump change.
More egregiously (if you believe in resolutions), the studios bombarded us this holiday season with two-hour-plus time-busters such as “Magnolia,” “The Insider,” “The Green Mile,” “Angela’s Ashes,” “The Cider House Rules,” “Snow Falling on Cedars,” “Titus,” “The World is Not Enough,” “The Hurricane,” “Any Given Sunday,” “Anna and the King,” “Bicentennial Man,” “Liberty Heights,” “The Messenger” and “Ride With the Devil.”
Happily, at a swift 92 minutes, holiday hit “Stuart Little” was the rare film that lived up to its name. Though its not-so-mousy budget of an estimated $80 million is another reminder that resolutions in Hollywood are tough to keep, indeed.