Some of the fighter pilots may have been a touch obnoxious, but the Navy itself emerged from "Top Gun" looking like a pretty exciting place to work. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Navy brass are happy enough with Paramount Pictures to reportedly be cooperating mightily with the studio for its upcoming "The Hunt for Red October," another military-themed action-adventure tale that takes place in submarines rather than jets.
Meanwhile, the White House has helped plenty with a film still in the planning stages, though it may not know it. Morgan Mason -- actor James Mason's son, who runs a public relations firm that does work in Washington -- says he's producing a handful of films over the next year, including a comedy about the White House advance team. The film will be written by the screen writers responsible for "48 Hrs.," but the gist of the movie will come from the year and a half Mason spent as President Reagan's special assistant for political affairs. "Very true but comedic," promises Mason, who at age 25 was the youngest presidential assistant ever.
A New 'Wax' for DeToth This year we've already had "Invaders From Mars," a remake of the 1953 sci-fi thriller, and soon we'll have Jeff Goldblum in a remake of 1958's "The Fly" and director Rusty Lemorande's remake of 1959's "Journey to the Center of the Earth."
So you'd figure a new film called "Man of Wax" must have something to do with the 1953 sci-fi thriller "House of Wax" -- especially since Andre DeToth, who directed the first "Wax," has been lured from retirement to direct. But, in fact, "Man of Wax" is an original idea from DeToth and Larry Cohen, and has nothing to do with the earlier film. It goes into production this fall, and unlike the first "Wax," it won't be 3-D.
A Glut of Crowd-Pleasers? The next few weeks are crucial ones at the box office: Last weekend was the first time since March that business was ahead of last year's totals, and there are now five films doing extremely good business ("The Karate Kid, Part II," with the year's most promising opening weekend totals, followed by "Legal Eagles," "Back to School," "Top Gun" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"). With "Ruthless People" and "Running Scared" both opening tomorrow after exceptionally good word-of-mouth from their preview screenings, the market could be glutted with crowd-pleasers -- good news for an industry hoping to shake off a box office slump, but bad news for competitors like "Labyrinth," the Jim Henson-directed Lucasfilm fantasy that has gotten a chilly reception from those who've seen it. (A typical comment: "Too grueling for children and too stupid for adults.")
When producer Steven Paul made the action movie "Never Too Young to Die," he expected a PG-13 rating; instead, he got an R -- and, in fact, narrowly escaped an X for the film, which prompted just about everyone who's reviewed the limited release to use the word "sadistic." Then, Paul says, his original television ads -- which included sections of a John Stamos-Vanity love scene and a showdown between hero Stamos and evil hermaphodite Gene Simmons -- were rejected. So he made different ads, in which he spoke to the camera about his problems getting his film advertised. But some guys just can't win: The new ads weren't accepted either, because some stations claim they're misleading. Among other things, the new ads call "Never Too Young to Die" a "family film."
Huston and 'The Dead' Director John Huston will go in front of the cameras early next year for a film version of James Joyce's "The Dead," the final story in "The Dubliners." The cast will be all Irish and, naturally, the film will be shot in Dublin; one of the producers, Wieland Schulz-Keil, has experience working with Huston and turning unfilmable works of literature into movies, having done similar chores on Huston's version of Malcolm Lowry's "Under the Volcano."