Steven Spielberg's long talked-about Peter Pan project is set to begin production early next year _ as Hook _ with Dustin Hoffman as the dastardly Capt. Hook, opposite Robin Williams as a grown-up Peter, and Spielberg directing. At this writing, Julia Roberts is high on the list of possibles to portray Tinkerbell. We have also learned that the film, as written by Nick Castle and John Hart, will mix the classic with the contemporary. Williams' character _ a stressed-out adult whose life takes a magical turn when he returns to his childhood home _ will be introduced in the present, eventually being transported to ageless Never-Never Land.
Among the other contemporary touches: The Lost Boys start out as street types who ride skateboards and play basketball. The mermaids are on the voluptuous side _ with one sporting turquoise lips and bright orange hair.
With such exploitable elements _ and Spielberg's tradition of licensing the heck out of his movie characters _ can a merchandising windfall be far behind?
"You're too early," says Marvin Levy, spokesman for Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment, which is teamed on the project with distributor Tri-Star Pictures. "The merchandising aspects of this film will not be that significant.
"You're not going to see 8-zillion things .
. we don't think."
Words to live by?
HOLLYWOOD _ "Safe Is Never Sex. It's Dangerous."
That's the come-on line for promotional and ad materials hyping Orion Pictures' just-out Hot Spot, starring Don Johnson as a stranger who drifts into a small town _ and into a steamy love triangle with sultry Virginia Madsen.
Besides being grammatically odd, we wondered: What does it mean?
"The line is a kind of a twist," says Christine La Monte, Orion's senior vice president of publicity and promotion. "It says that everything is dangerous in this film. That nothing is safe.
"Director Dennis Hopper has a reputation for being on the edge of being dangerous. So it fits the film maker as well as the film, which is hot and dangerous."
La Monte added that the film's campaign _ which also features the tag line, "Film Noir Like You've Never Seen," and three provocative photos _ has stirred up lots of talk and phone calls.
"It's an attention-getter."
On the movie menu
HOLLYWOOD _ William S. Burrough's surreal novel Naked Lunch, which Mary McCarthy once likened to "a neighborhood movie with continuous showings that you can drop into whenever you please," is about to become a movie.
Judy Davis and Peter Weller will star in the film adaptation, which will be written and directed by David Cronenberg (The Fly). Production begins in January in Toronto for interiors and special-effects sequences, then shifts in March to Tangier, Morocco, for exteriors. Jeremy Thomas and Gabriella Martinelli will produce for British-based the Recorded Picture Co.