The cash-flow problems of Gino Parretti, the new owner of MGM-Pathe, are having ripple effects. He is the target of lawsuits by Blake Edwards and others. Distribution of "Delirious," a new comedy starring John Candy and Mariel Hemingway and directed by Tom Mankiewicz, which was to have opened this month, has been postponed at least until summer, apparently for want of the several millions needed for advertising and other distribution costs to release a movie these days.
Parretti may find a new source of cash; the film may be sold off to another distributor (two are said to want it). But meantime, Mariel Hemingway has time for her two daughters and the new restaurant, their fourth, she and her husband Steve Crisman recently opened in Westlake Village called Sam's Cafe.
She also has another completed film, "Falling From Grace," which is due to open in August and in which she plays the wife of rock star John Cougar Mellencamp, who in his first film plays a country rock singer trying to go home again to small-town Indiana. The original script is by Larry McMurtry ("Lonesome Dove"). Hemingway plays the singer's wife, who brings home the hard lesson that you can't go home again, or get up to old tricks.
Hemingway was 13, a schoolgirl at home in Idaho, when her older sister Margaux was making "Lipstick" and the producers needed someone to play her kid sister. Once, Mariel decided at the time, was enough. "I went back to Idaho and said, 'I will never make another movie again.' I was terrified my friends wouldn't like me any more, because all of a sudden I'd be different."
But making movies is profoundly alluring. When she was 16, Woody Allen called. She swears she didn't know who he was. He wanted her to co-star with him in "Manhattan," which she did when she was 17. "I played an older woman--18," she says.
"We would sit on park benches and he would make up lives for people as they were walking by." From her performance, she says, "he wanted a freshness, a newness and a quality, that I wasn't jaded, didn't have any pat answers."
After "Manhattan," she told her parents she was going to resettle in New York and pursue her career. "In retrospect, having two daughters now, I think that my parents were absolutely out of their minds to let me. . . . It's the great tragedy and beauty of being a child, that you think you know everything. I mean it's hilarious."
Her parents were very supportive; she wishes they had been a bit more protective. Her father-figure in New York was her then-agent, Sam Cohn. So much so that she later left him, saying, "You're the best father on the planet, but you're such a rotten agent for me. I can get you on the phone if I'm having marital problems but I can't get you on the phone if I want a job."
She made "Personal Best," as an Olympic athlete, for Robert Towne, and then "Star 80," playing the Playmate murdered by her jealous husband, for Bob Fosse. Fosse set her straight that having a natural talent wasn't enough. "Fosse made me realize it was all about work. I'm still indebted to him for that lesson."
He believed in exhaustive rehearsals--weeks of it before they shot "Star 80." "By the third week, we were 'Enough already.' " But by the time shooting began, "I didn't have to think about a line, it was me." She began studying with acting coaches, and still does.
Her famous grandfather died three months before she was born, but Mariel, now 30, grew up knowing she was Ernest Hemingway's granddaughter. "It wasn't neat, or not neat; it was just the way it was. Then when I started reading his work, at the end of grade school, I became very proud. And very frightened, because when I was writing a paper in English I was terrified the teacher would say, 'Oh, Mariel, you didn't live up to your grandfather.' "
It was harder for her father, Jack Hemingway, "living under the shadow of a man who was, basically, an icon for an entire generation." He wrote a book called "Misadventures of a Fly Fisherman: Life With and Without Papa," a nice purging assertion of his own identity.
In "Delirious," which we may yet get to see one of these months, Candy plays a soap opera writer who, hit on the head, wakes up in the fictional town he has created, with the power to write the lives around him. She plays an actress desperate to get on the show and who then invades the myth.
For the moment, all of us, including the actress, will have to guess how it's all going to come out.