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A look inside Hollywood and the movies. : To Film Crichton, First You Have to Be on Right List

May 02, 1993|ELAINE DUTKA

Novelist Michael Crichton, whose "Jurassic Park" and "Rising Sun" have been made into two of the summer's most highly anticipated movies, has another hot property on the horizon.

His currently untitled upcoming novel (formerly called "Exposure") deals with sexual harassment in a Seattle corporation--a subject on which Crichton embarked before the 1991 Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings. It will be published by Alfred A. Knopf in January.

Though the manuscript is still undergoing a final "polish" and won't be circulated around Hollywood for several weeks, Crichton's agent, Robert Bookman of the Creative Artists Agency, has been fielding calls for months.

"We heard from anyone who could make a half-assed case for getting it--and some who couldn't," he says. "It was getting out of hand. I had three sheets of paper, legal pad size, of interested parties--producers, directors, studios, independent film companies--before I put the word out that this wasn't an effective way of getting the book."

The novel will be submitted selectively to filmmakers seen as a good match for the material. "On 'Rising Sun,' we had a very different priority list for directors than we had for 'Jurassic,' " Bookman notes. "This one, most likely, will warrant a different list from those two."

Before the new novel becomes a movie, another Crichton picture may be in the offing. "Congo," his 1980 novel which has been described as a "high-tech 'King Solomon's Mines,' " may be resurfacing after a long stretch on the shelf.

The project, initially acquired by 20th Century Fox, was given to producer Frank Yablans as part of his divorce settlement from the studio. Yablans recently made the project available to Kathleen Kennedy, a co-producer of "Jurassic Park," who, with her husband and partner Frank Marshall, has set up an independent production company at Paramount Pictures. The property, currently in search of a writer and director, would be Crichton's seventh book to hit the big screen.

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