Willem Dafoe tackles his first romantic comedy opposite Joan Cusack in Paramount's "Arrive Alive." Jeremiah S. Chechik, enjoying the current success of "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," will direct this tale about a detective and a stripper written by Michael O'Donahue and Mitch Glazer. Filming will get underway in Florida the end of March.
Despite rewrites by William Goldman, Warren Beatty wouldn't commit to "Misery," Rob Reiner's film for Castle Rock and Columbia. So James Caan is now signed to star opposite Broadway actress Kathy Bates. Filming of the psychological cat-and-mouse tale, based on the novel by Stephen King about a best-selling author held capture by a fan, begins Feb. 5 in Genoa, Nev., and Los Angeles . . . Meanwhile, Julia Roberts takes over the role Kim Basinger turned down in Fox's thriller "Sleeping With the Enemy," directed by Joseph Ruben and produced by Leonard Goldberg. Shooting begins in February, possibly in Northern California. . . .
Dr. Haing S. Ngor, Oscar winner for "The Killing Fields," is one of the "Knights of War," a $7 million production from American First Run Studios, based on "Phu Nham," a novel written 10 years ago by the late songwriter-soldier Barry Sadler. Elliot Silverstein ("Cat Ballou") will direct Charles Hairston's script which, like the book, is based on a true story about a challenge duel during the Vietnam war between an American and Viet Cong soldier. Max and Micheline Keller will produce. Shooting is tentatively scheduled to begin in April. . . .