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Company Town : The Civilizing Force Behind Disney's New 'Jungle' Movie

THE BIZ / JAMES BATES

December 23, 1994|JAMES BATES

Whether the public is ready for Hollywood's third version of "The Jungle Book" (there was also a 1942 film) remains to be seen.

Before Disney got involved, the movie was seen as a smaller, $18-million project that movie financiers Sharad Patel and his son Raju wanted shot entirely in India. Financing would come through the sale of foreign rights.

Then Disney became interested, agreed to finance the bulk of the film and brought in Feldman.

"We recognized that somebody else might be able to go out and make a live-action 'Jungle Book,' " said David Vogel, production president with Walt Disney Pictures. "But if anyone was going to do it, we really wanted to do it."

Being a hired gun is good work if you can get it, with directors around town typically making fees of $500,000 to $750,000 with a cut of the profits. Though Feldman longs to develop more material, he doesn't mind being hired out.

"I'd like to develop more on my own," he says. "But if a good project comes up again, I'm once again for hire."

*

"On the next 'Dee Dee' . . . ": Thursday was White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers' last day on the job. So far she's said little about what she'll do in the future, other than go on vacation to decompress and give a few speeches before mapping out her future.

Hollywood sources, however, say agents and production companies are already lining up to pitch her on the idea of doing a political TV talk show or being part of an existing show, figuring that the 33-year-old Southern California native would be a strong draw for younger viewers. She's also being pursued to write a book.

Sources say Myers, who wants to stay in Washington, doesn't have an agent yet, though she's being pursued. She is said to be working with Bob Barnett, a Washington media power lawyer who represents such news stars as Bernard Shaw and Sam Donaldson.

"She's one of the hottest properties out there now," one entertainment source said.

Inside Hollywood

For more Company Town coverage and insightful analysis of the entertainment industry, sign on to the TimesLink on-line service and "jump" to keyword "Inside Hollywood."

Details on Times electronic services, B4

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