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MOVIES | WHATERVER.

Lindsay Law / Executive

April 19, 1998|Steve Hochman

Hitting the jackpot with a film about male stripping seems odd for the guy who ran "American Playhouse" for 15 years. But for Lindsay Law, president of Fox Searchlight, "The Full Monty" only highlighted the independent studio's support of offbeat quality. Law, 48, hopes to build on that with "Two Girls and a Guy," "Polish Wedding" and "The Imposters"--to say nothing of turning "Monty" into a Broadway musical.

LEMMINGS: "If you get quiet, you can hear hundreds of writers pitching something that's 'a combination of "The Full Monty" and . . . .' Now everyone is focusing on London for stories. Fine. While they're doing that, let's redouble our attempts to find new American films."

MIXED MESSAGE: "There are definite repercussions from successes in this marketplace. What gets lost is how many don't succeed. In 1997 there were something like 112 'specialized' films. Of those, 85 did less than $2-million business."

HIDDEN COSTS: "It costs so much more to release these movies than it did a few years ago. You can lose a lot of money on an inexpensive movie."

NO PATIENCE: "The days of being able to plunk your movie down in the Paris Theatre in New York and stay there until the audience grows and finds you are gone. If you don't have immediate success, they've got a film from October or Miramax to put in there instead."

STAR SEARCH: "Natasha Lyonne was Richard Dreyfuss' daughter in 'Krippendorf's Tribe.' She's in our 'Slums of Beverly Hills,' which opens in August."

HOT PROJECT: "There's a wonderful script from a writer named Alan Ball called 'American Beat' that everyone is trying to get, a distinctive and original black comedy, not like the others. I actually laughed at loud at it--and was horrified by where the story went."

READING LIST: "Peter Hedges, who wrote 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape,' has a new novel, 'An Ocean in Iowa,' that's terrific. I was able to just read it for enjoyment and not worry about [film rights]."

CORPORATE PERKS: "With companies like ours attached to major studios, people are nervous about independents going out the window. But with 'The Full Monty,' when I cancross the street to talk to Fox International about marketing, that's a huge benefit. And having your own video company and satellite systems deals--that's why there is money available to gamble on these films."

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