Heraldo de Mexico has reported a "strained relationship" on the set of Columbia's $24-million "Old Gringo," which has started shooting at Mexico City's Churubusco Studios with stars Jane Fonda, Gregory Peck and Jimmy Smits. The alleged strainees: co-producer Fonda and Argentine writer-director Luis Puenzo ("The Official Story").
Heraldo claimed the friction was caused by Puenzo's unfamiliarity with Mexican culture--the film is a turn-of-the-century political adventure involving U.S.-Mexico conflict.
David Picker, a consultant for Columbia, said "the story is total nonsense--the work of one disgruntled journalist. The footage is extraordinary and Jane and Luis are professionally in love with each other."
But Picker dropped everything to fly down to Mexico as "a friend to the production." Also suddenly canceling appointments to jet to the set: Puenzo's agent.
Picker still insisted, in studioese: "This is an electrifying and extraordinary undertaking."