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DeVito film delayed for editing

Director Marshall Herskovitz has spent more than a year in an editing room.

Despite his somewhat vampire-like routine during the cutting of his new film, Jack the Bear, Herskovitz, 40, best known for the TV series thirtysomething with Ed Zwick, says the isolation wasn't as bad as one would guess.

Completed more than 14 months ago, Jack the Bear, by its conspicuous absence from the '92 release list, has launched a flurry of rumors: "It's a mess ... they've recut it completely ... the filmmakers were at each other's throats ... it's coming out next Christmas."

The situation now: Jack the Bear is due next Easter, it reportedly has the complete support of Fox, and everyone connected to the project is supposedly quite pleased.

Starring Danny DeVito as a monster movie talk-show host with a unique approach to raising his two young sons, Jack the Bear is described by one close to the project as "a story about how we deal with the monsters in life ... the monsters in our hearts and mind."

Shown to preview audiences last fall, Jack the Bear received generally enthusiastic notices, says one source, although many were confused by abrupt changes in the film's tone. Comic for its first hour, the movie then became very dark very quickly. Herskovitz says that fine-tuning has corrected the problem. "We've added some darker hints earlier in the film," he says.