It's getting so you can't make or show a movie anywhere without worrying about something. The Cannes Film Festival survived without those Americans who were worried about terrorism, but last week the film "Mio, My Mio" lost a leading lady who didn't want to be exposed to radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
Swedish actress Ewa Froling, who also starred in Ingmar Bergman's "Fanny and Alexander," shot some scenes in Sweden but pulled out of the film before location shooting in the Crimea. (The film, being made in English even though it's a Swedish-Norwegian-Russian coproduction, has also shot in Moscow, Norway and Scotland.)
The filmmakers now say they'll charge Froling the $30,000 or so it'll take to reshoot her scenes with Russian actress Ljubov Alexavne, arguing that there's more radiation in Sweden than in the Crimea. The rest of the cast -- which includes Christopher Lee, Susannah York and Timothy Bottoms -- has gone ahead with the shoot, fallout or not.
Bits of Business
"Top Gun" is back on top, two weeks after "Cobra" began its brief reign as the biggest moneymaker of a slow early summer at the movies. Sylvester Stallone's latest dropped 40 percent in its second weekend and an additional 35 percent last weekend, putting it behind both "Top Gun" and the other muscled-hunk-on-a-rampage movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Raw Deal." "Cobra" is still in more theaters than any of its competitors -- in fact, it's in more than 10 percent of the movie theaters in the country -- but its per-screen average is the lowest of any of the top half-dozen movies. "Poltergeist II" is also fading, while steady performers like "Top Gun" and the surprisingly consistent "Short Circuit" look better and better.
Of last week's newcomers, only "Raw Deal" made much noise: Two new films about different out-of-this-world experiences, "SpaceCamp" and "Invaders From Mars," both did lackuster business with about $3 million and $2 million, respectively.
With business running about 20 percent behind the comparable weekend last year, things seem to be wide open for "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "Back to School," two comedies that have picked up some favorable reaction prior to their openings this week. Both have sure-fire elements: The presence of Rodney Dangerfield in "Back to School" and some typical teens-in-angst tricks from the ever-reliable John ("The Breakfast Club," "Pretty in Pink") Hughes' "Ferris Bueller." Parts of "Bueller" might be familiar from Hughes' previous high school sagas, but consider this: He's now reportedly working on a film about a lovable nerd who gets a date with the high school's glamor queen and has to chose between her and a long-suffering, faithful friend who's not as in-crowd. "Brilliant in Blue," anyone?
Yeah, That's the Ticket
You'd never believe it if he told you himself, but Jon Lovitz -- who created the character of a wonderfully sleazy pathological liar in his comedy act some years back and has lately made it the most recognizable bit on "Saturday Night Live" -- will star in a major motion picture. Yeah, that's it, a major motion picture produced by "SNL" originator Lorne Michaels and christened "The Liar" after Lovitz's character. And according to the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, there's now talk of Lovitz playing the lead in a proposed live-action film of Bugs Bunny. (First Howard the Duck, then Bugs Bunny -- is no comic strip or cartoon animal safe from a live-action Hollywood face lift?) They swear it's true, though this talk about Lovitz playing Bugs really sounds like the kind of whopper you'd expect from a Liar