Steven Spielberg and Bernardo Bertolucci can sell movies on the strength of their names, Penny Marshall has more appeal than any other woman director but less than even a problematic male like Michael Cimino, and Peter Bogdanovich and John Sayles have virtually no clout. Those are some of the results of a Hollywood Reporter survey that polled overseas film buyers to find out which directors have the most muscle around the world.
Only four directors, the survey showed, can sell films regardless of script, stars or subject matter: Spielberg (who scored 98 points out of a possible 100 on the Reporter's scale), Bertolucci (95), Oliver Stone (97) and Martin Scorsese (95). Other directors on the A list (88 to 94) included Barry Levinson, Sydney Pollack, Peter Weir, Richard Donner and Robert Zemeckis; acclaimed filmmakers with spotty recent track records (Francis Ford Coppola, Stanley Kubrick, Roman Polanski) stayed near the top alongside newcomers such as James Cameron, Ridley Scott and Paul Verhoeven. At the bottom of the heap, meanwhile, Richard Pryor scored a lowly 14 as a director, just above occasionally acclaimed moviemakers Tony Bill, Martha Coolidge, Alex Cox, Carl Reiner and Paul Schrader.
All About Orbison A decade ago, when his career was in a dormant phase, rock singer Roy Orbison considered making a movie about his life, going as far as holding conversations with actor Martin Sheen about playing the lead. But that project never materialized, and then enough happened to make such a movie more dramatic: Orbison's career was revived when his music was used in the movie "Blue Velvet," then he got a new record deal and a cable TV special in which he was backed by the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello, then he got back into the Top 10 with the Traveling Wilburys, and finally he recorded a well-received comeback album but died before he could see it become a hit.
And now Orbison's life is once again the basis for a proposed movie. Producer Steve Tisch has made a deal with Orbison's widow, Barbara, to make a movie about the Texas-born singer; Tisch expects to make an additional deal with Warner Bros. and to begin work on the film next spring. He hasn't decided who'll play Orbison.
Short Take "Die Hard 2" director Remy Harlin left the North Carolina set of the movie he's currently producing, "Ramblin' Rose," when storms neared the East Coast location. But Harlin didn't head for more temperate climates: Instead, he chartered an airplane and assembled a film crew to get a closer look at Hurricane Lili and tropical storms Klaus and Marco. Harlin's next directing job will be "Gale Force," a drama that won't start filming until early next year -- but rather than depend on the arrival of some photogenic storms then, the director decided to get some footage and a closer look while the storms were in his neighborhood.