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Anatomy of a Remake

OUTTAKES

February 28, 1988|Leonard Klady \f7

How does a film go from a cast of Mick Jagger and David Bowie to Steve Martin and Matthew Broderick--with a stop off for Eddie Murphy? Writer Dale Launer ("Ruthless People") gave us the history of "King of the Mountain," now being eyed as a possible Christmas '88 release for Orion, with Frank Oz ("Little Shop of Horrors") to direct.

About two years ago, Launer was approached by UA to write a film for Jagger and Bowie. "We talked and I wound up suggesting they re-do 'Bedtime Story,' a '60s comedy that starred Marlon Brando and David Niven as rival con men preying on wealthy women along the French Riviera."

But Universal, which made the original, refused to sell the rights. The idea languished for a year. Then Launer was asked to write a script for Eddie Murphy. He again suggested "Bedtime." Universal still wouldn't sell and Murphy went on to other projects. Launer decided to attempt the project himself and joined forces with producer Charles Hirschhorn; again, they were surprised that Universal wasn't interested in remaking or selling the rights.

"So, I tracked down the original writer, Stanley Shapiro, and discovered the rights had reverted back to him. We met, made a deal and put it in development at Orion."

Now called "King of the Mountain," the new version is still set in France and has a young, brash American con man attach himself to a suave, sophisticated operator. They have a falling out but decide to have one last contest to decide who's best.

Negotiations with Martin and Broderick are in process.

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