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MOVIES | Whatever

David Permut / Producer

June 22, 1997|Steve Hochman

David Permut, 41, has gone from selling maps to stars' homes to producing the grainy film of James Whitmore's "Give 'Em Hell, Harry" and the power-packed teaming of John Travolta, Nicolas Cage and director John Woo in "Face/Off." He's also the leader in taking classic TV shows to the big screen, with "Dragnet," "The Little Rascals" and the upcoming "Love Boat" and "Green Acres" (with Bette Midler) projects.

NOW SHOWING: "If Irwin Allen were alive today he'd be king of the hill [with] 'Towering Inferno' and the great disaster movies of years gone by. He ran out of disasters, though."

BIG BUSINESS: "Everyone is obsessed with how much a film makes, and sometimes you lose sight that a film that costs relatively little, a couple of million dollars, and does $15-million business, that's a significant hit."

TV OD: "I'm an illiterate producer, so I sit at home and watch TV and say, 'Let's make that one.' "

BOOKED: "I acquired the book 'Sunburn' by Lawrence Shames--kind of in the Elmore Leonard genre. Terrific book. His other books--one Jim Brooks is developing and Paramount has another one. He's about to come into his own in a major way in the film business."

ONE THAT GOT AWAY: "I don't live in the past--shoulda coulda woulda--but we were working with Fox in bidding for 'I Spy,' wanted to do it with Will Smith and Keanu Reeves. Andy Vajna's company got in a bidding war, and the rights ended up as the most expensive for a TV franchise to be made into a movie: $1.75 million. That was one I would have loved to do."

SMOKE SCREEN: "Unfortunately, someone invited me to one of those swank cigar places for lunch last week. How long is this going to go on for? I needed a window seat to breathe."

SCHMOOZE SCENE: "It's true, there are a lot of deals that take place over food, and the social scene outside of the office is breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings. Orso's, the Ivy, the Mandarin are great places. But Fung Lum's on Doheny is the best-kept secret. Good place for great food and if you want to talk privately, not looking to schmooze."

STAR SEARCH: "A guy I'd really love to be in business with is Chris Rock. Saw him at the Universal Amphitheatre, and he's just a heartbeat away from being a major film star."

REAL LIFE STORIES: "There's a movie coming out called 'Star Maps,' but they have map-selling as a front for prostitution and such things. It wasn't like that, but needless to say, I'm anxious to see that."

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