Hannibal May Eat Again in a Third Film
Sir Anthony Hopkins and producer Dino DeLaurentiis told me last night at the premiere of Hannibal that they are working on putting together another film about the popular cannibal.
Hannibal, directed by Ridley Scott, is the sequel of sorts to The Silence of the Lambs. It's based on a novel by Thomas Harris, but guess what? Apparently, when Harris sold the movie rights, he sold the character rights as well. So Sir Tony and Dino don't have to wait for Harris to write another book. They can cook up their own script and not horse around for 10 more years.
The Hannibal premiere at the New York Public Library was sure star-studded, by the way. In addition to Hopkins, co-star Julianne Moore was there with boyfriend/father of her son/director Bart Freundlich.
Boxing legend and humanitarian Muhammad Ali also made the scene, and drew autograph seekers and fans from all over the Ziegfeld Theatre to his side. Ali continues to be an inspiration even though his Parkinson's disease has slowed him down. Still the greatest.
Also milling about were Julianna Margulies and Ron Eldard; Lorraine Bracco; director Tom DiCillo; actor William Fichtner, who's on his way to Morocco to be in Scott's next movie and was one of Julianne's co-stars years ago on As the World Turns; director Francis Ford Coppola; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon writer James Schamus; Before Night Falls director and famous artist Julian Schnabel; bestselling author Peter Maas — and well, you get it, the names go on and on.
Peter Maas, by the way, has another bestseller out right now, called Abandon Ship!: The Death of the U.S.S. Indianapolis by Richard Newcomb. (Peter wrote the afterword, but that counts!) Peter has the distinction of having four of his books made into movies produced by Dino DeLaurentiis: Serpico, The Valachi Papers, Marie and King of the Gypsies. The latter was the debut of Eric Roberts and co-starred Susan Sarandon before she was first nominated for an Oscar.
In The Valachi Papers, a mob guy is brutally killed in a barber chair. Until last night I don't think I'd ever seen anything as gruesome. But Hannibal is so over-the-top violent and sick — I wouldn't even know where to begin. Listen, a lot of people liked it. I had to cover my eyes during the disemboweling, the attack of giant human-eating warthogs, the turning of Ray Liotta's cranium into a chafing dish.
Interestingly, Sir Tony's white-haired mom, Muriel, who's always a sport, told me she watched the whole movie with eyes wide open. "Of course I knew what was coming," she said. "I read the script!"
Best line of the night goes to the wonderful, enchanting Lorraine Bracco, who played Ray Liotta's wife in GoodFellas. How did she like seeing his head opened and eaten from? Quipped Lorraine: "I'd like to see that with all my ex-husbands!"
Bracco was previously, and contentiously, married to actor Harvey Keitel. She has just wrapped filming the whole third season of The Sopranos, and a major role in Penny Marshall's Riding in Cars With Boys.
Because of star Drew Barrymore's various Charlie's Angels promotional activities, Lorraine reports, it took an extra month to finish Penny's movie. "We shot 13 episodes of The Sopranos in the time it took to do Riding in Cars!" she said. "That's why I like TV so much!"
Will Hannibal be a hit? You betcha. I predict a $30 million opening weekend. Through the roof. What happens after that, I don't know. In the end, it's like a Batman movie meets Perils of Pauline. Very kitschy. Maybe the problem is that after Silence of the Lambs, it's hard to take the concept in a serious way. So Scott has opted for camp, and in many ways that works.
The great Italian actor Giancarlo Giannini, who made such seminal '70s films as Seven Beauties and Swept Away, has a good-sized role as an Italian detective hunting Hannibal in Florence. Between Giannini's acting and the Florentine art, that makes Hannibal worth watching right there. And Giannini told me some interesting news:
"Because of Cast Away, I am thinking of making a sequel to Swept Away. Maybe next year. They go back to the island after twenty years, maybe with children!" Bravo, Giancarlo!
And what's the difference between Cast Away and Swept Away: "I had a woman, he had a volleyball!"
Tom Cruise spent one of the biggest days of his life yesterday doing what he does best — shooting a movie. Cruise and Penelope Cruz were on set in Los Angeles filming scenes from Cameron Crowe's Vanilla Sky.
Still, by 2:35 p.m. EST everyone in the free world wanted to know more about his announced separation from Nicole Kidman. Some say each has a girlfriend, or a boyfriend, or both. But what's most important is the statement the couple issued yesterday. They claim not to spend that much time together. Oh no? Something doesn't add up.
Last summer the couple and their kids spent three months in Spain so Nicole could shoot The Others. Prior to that, Nicole had The Birthday Girl shoot moved to Australia from London to be near Tom while he shot Mission: Impossible 2. And god knows the whole world is aware of the fact that the couple spent 18 months together in London and New York shooting Eyes Wide Shut.
But Kidman has been a workhorse lately, and one in pain. She left The Birthday Girl with one scene unshot to start Moulin Rouge. According to production sources, first she had a bunch of injuries on Birthday, then some more on Moulin Rouge. The former film took a year to complete as that production waited for Nicole to recover from all injuries. No release date has been set, although Moulin Rouge has been scheduled for April.
During The Birthday Girl shoot, according to sources, the Cruises socialized with the cast and crew frequently. "They were there, their kids were around all the time," says my insider.
When Kidman was hurt, Cruise was "very protective and helpful. He wanted to make sure she didn't re-injure her knee."
Kidman recently backed out of Ridley Scott's Panic Room, claiming her injuries were still plaguing her. She will shoot a cameo role in The Hours as Virginia Woolf sometime next month.
Cruise spent the last several weeks in New York at the Hotel Carlyle with Kidman and their children while shooting Crowe's Vanilla Sky. The production moved to Los Angeles in mid-January.
This column got a lot of messages over the last few days regarding Inside.com's "scoop" about the reissuing of Craig Copetas's Marc Rich book, Metal Men: How Marc Rich Defrauded the Country, Evaded the Law, and Became the World's Most Sought-After Corporate Criminal.
Indeed, Inside was inside out as usual. They posted their item a full day after FOXNews.com and acted like it was new news. As we all know, they read it here first. Inside is usually very good about crediting other sources, so I expect it was an oversight and won't happen again.