Published November 07, 2001
If you've thrilled to Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure or Everest at your local IMAX theater, then I have good news for you: Another title is being planned for those eight-story 3-D theatres.
A children's book by Scientologist actor John Travolta, currently out of print, is the project in question. Propeller One-Way Night Coach: A Story, published by Warner Books in 1997, is going to be way larger than life. Travolta and his producing partner/manager, Jonathan Krane, have sold the option on the book to actor/director Rob Morrow.
Morrow told me on Monday night at the premiere of his movie Maze that he's secured the rights to Travolta's only known literary effort.
When the book was published in 1997, Entertainment Weekly wrote of the author: "He calls it 'a fable for all ages,' but there's not a moral to be found in 42 pages of untrammeled, possibly unedited starry-eyedness. Unless it's that a Big Movie Star can easily publish even his slightest flights of fancy."
Obviously, this is no A Wrinkle in Time.
Morrow, who I like a lot and have known peripherally for several years as one of the forces behind the terrific Naked Angels theater company, has big plans for Propeller.
"It's going to be 80 percent animation, but there's going to be live action. In fact, we're going to film John flying his own plane in it."
Travolta's career, of course, continues to get weirder and weirder. His new release, Domestic Disturbance, is about to follow a string of atrociously bad movies down the tubes of box-office hell. The others include Mad City, Primary Colors, The General's Daughter, A Civil Action, Lucky Numbers, Swordfish, and the unforgettably hideous Battlefield Earth.
And even though Morrow says that Krane and Travolta did not put up any money for this project — "it's all from investors," the former Northern Exposure star says — that doesn't mean they aren't involved in it. As with all projects bearing Travolta's name, Krane will be the screen-credited executive producer.
Morrow, meanwhile, is excited about the release to 10 cities and 28 theatres this weekend of Maze, a film which co-stars Oscar nominee Laura Linney. Maze was shown on the Starz channel last spring, making it ineligible for an Academy Award. But it may have some other obstacles too as it goes for a wide release. I, like many others, concluded that the story about a sculptor/painter with Tourette's syndrome was based on the life of Toronto artist Shane Fistel.
"No, it's not," Morrow explained to me at the premiere. "I had heard about Shane Fistel from someone else, but I wanted to write a story about a guy who thought he didn't deserve love, and how he would handle that."
Morrow himself has lots of love in real life, including his wife Debbon Ayer, and their very cute six-month-old daughter, named Tu.
If Miramax had released the 2001 New York mayoral campaign as a movie, it would have ended with a surprise as jarring as the one in their 1992 hit, The Crying Game.
Readers of yesterday's column were regaled with my account of Matt Damon, George Clooney, and others celebrating on Monday night at The Park restaurant.
What I could not tell you before the election — which was held yesterday as that column broke — was the subplot of what was going on at The Park.
Around midnight, Miramax's intrepid co-chairman and New York City cheerleader Harvey Weinstein appeared at The Park looking exhausted. It had only been three days since he chaired the Democratic Unity dinner in New York for Mark Green, which featured appearances by Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well as former New York Governor Mario Cuomo.
The dinner had exposed some glaring problems in the New York Democratic Party, particularly because of the perceived treatment of Green's defeated intra-party rival, Bronx borough president Fernando "Freddie" Ferrer.
Weinstein, having understood there was a rift, had attempted all of Monday evening to heal the wounded egos on all sides. He tried to force an actual unity meeting, according to sources, but got nowhere.
But things got markedly worse when, sources say, Green refused to let Bill Clinton come to the meeting to provide mediation and counsel.
"What really did him in was when Green decided he didn't want Bill Clinton to come to the meeting. Clinton was ready to come over at Harvey's request. Green didn't want him."
Weinstein — who is known for his fierce loyalty to friends and associates — became enraged since both Clintons had come to Friday's unity dinner at his request since he was the chairman. Green's ingratitude toward the former President of the United States was said to be the last straw for Weinstein. According to my sources, he called Green's rival, Mike Bloomberg, and pledged his support.
At The Park, Weinstein made no bones about the situation. Even though most of the people in the assembled crowd were out-of-towners like Clooney and Damon, the movie studio head was quite definite about his plans. "I'm voting for Bloomberg," he said.
And, as usual, he picked a winner.
As predicted here yesterday, Michael Jackson's Invincible was No.1 for the week. SoundScan says it sold around 380,000 copies, which is no small feat and should be applauded.
Still, it's important to remember that Jackson's own sister, Janet, sold 606,000 copies of her last album, All for You, during its first week of release in April. Now all eyes will be on second week sales of Invincible to see if an early rush was created by die-hard Jackson fans — some of whom may have bought multiple copies just to push the album to the top spot.
This week brings the release of grave competition for Michael in the form of lip-synch queen Britney Spears. Frankly, I'm rooting for Michael at that point.
Royal Stand-in Planned for Sly Stone
The word from tomorrow night's hot ticket, the Pioneer Awards at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, is that the Artist Again Called Prince may show up to honor legend Sly Stone. I'm told Prince is thinking of lending a hand on some of Stone's classic hits. Bravo to him, is all I can say.
But Stone himself will not be on hand to get his award. Sources close to his group, the Family Stone, say that Sly is a "social recluse" and "doesn't want to be in the media spotlight."
The Rhythm and Blues Foundation, which sponsors this event, also announced yesterday a $2 million donation by Universal Vivendi Music. Great news, since the Foundation disburses the funds to former stars and musicians in dire straits.
Some tickets for the Apollo show are still available to reasonable prices. Call 212-864-0372 for information.
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