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Fall Forward, Fall Back

Some tidbits about this season's offerings and those of yesteryear.

September 13, 1998

"No real vampires were harmed. . . . ": In "John Carpenter's Vampires," which Columbia Pictures will release Oct. 30, the filmmakers used 25 gallons of fake black blood (because vampires ooze black blood) and 30 gallons of fake red blood. They also went through 400 sets of fake vampire nails and 24 sets of vampire fangs. Each vampire went through between three and eight sets of fangs during filming.

The best Mann?: Anthony Mann ("Winchester '73") was the original director of the epic "Spartacus," which opened in October 1960. Producer and star Kirk Douglas, though, replaced him with Stanley Kubrick after one week of shooting. Kubrick had directed Douglas in the 1957 antiwar classic "Paths of Glory."

Fall from grace: Robert Mitchum was released from prison on Sept. 30, 1948, after serving 21 days for the possession and use of marijuana.

Happy holidays: The 1954 Yuletide hit "White Christmas" was actually released in October. The Irving Berlin musical, which starred Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, was the first Paramount film to be shot in the wide-screen process of VistaVision.

Behind the velvet rope: In "A Night at the Roxbury," which Paramount Pictures will release Oct. 2, Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan displayed some of their oddball humor by showing up off-camera in ballerina costumes as a bouncer was trying to do his scene.

Producer Amy Heckerling said that the filmmakers built a fake nightclub in Los Angeles called the Inside Out, where the club itself is on the "outside" and people wait in line on the "inside." As the scenes were being shot, people would come by and ask if the club was real.

A Fiennes thing: Cate Blanchett, who stars in the upcoming "Elizabeth," appears in that historical drama opposite Joseph Fiennes. Last year, she starred with his older brother Ralph in "Oscar and Lucinda."

Slim, Meet Steve: Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart teamed up for the first time in the romantic melodrama "To Have and Have Not," which opened in October 1944. The two would marry the following year.

Heavenly: For "What Dreams May Come," a fantasy-drama starring Robin Williams, director Vincent Ward and special-effects supervisors Joel Hynek and Nick Brooks use new computer animation technology to create an unusual vision of the afterlife. Normal notions of heaven and hell don't exist in this movie. When Williams awakens after death, he finds himself inside a 3-D version of one of his artist wife's paintings. Leaves of grass and flower petals look like painted brush strokes, yet they move in the wind. Monet, Van Gogh and Maxfield Parrish are among the artists who provided inspiration for the 8-minute sequence.

Lights, camera, gentlemen-start-your-engines!: For the numerous car chase scenes shot in Paris for his latest action-thriller "Ronin," director John Frankenheimer used former French race car drivers Jean-Claude Lagniez, Jean Pierre Jarrier and Guy Chasseuil as the stunt drivers.

The Full Monty II: After four decades as an actor, Ian Bannen, who stars in "Waking Ned Devine," found himself involved in a nude scene while making the film. "The role was a welcome change, a true original," says Bannen, who received a best supporting actor Oscar nomination over 30 years ago for "The Flight of the Phoenix." "I haven't played such a physical role since working with John Huston when he used to make me do my own stunts. I also haven't done many nude scenes in my career, so it's rather ironic that my first big one comes at a point in my life when you wouldn't think there would be much demand for it."

Hummin': Richard LaGravenese, who wrote the screenplay and makes his directorial debut with "Living Out Loud," is busy this fall. He also co-wrote the screenplay for Toni Morrison's "Beloved."

The Woodman, Part I: Woody Allen is participating in two films set for release on Oct. 2. He's the voice of an ant in DreamWorks' "Antz," and he has an un-billed cameo in Stanley Tucci's comedy "The Impostors."

Shhhhhh!: In the upcoming black comedy "The Alarmist," David Arquette has a number of sex scenes with Kate Capshaw, who is married to Steven Spielberg. Cast and crew joked that Arquette would never work in Hollywood again.

Make that "Clutterville": The set for "Pleasantville," opening Oct. 16, consisted of 40 buildings.

Close call: "The Big Chill," which is being re-released this fall for its 15th anniversary, marked the first on-screen nude scene for Glenn Close, who received a best supporting actress nomination. "The Big Chill" was originally released Sept. 28, 1983.

Like buttah: When asked what color the creased pants of Campbell Scott's character of Germanic head steward Meistrich should be in "The Impostors," the ever food-minded writer-director-star Stanley Tucci ("Big Night") responded, "Butter--not yellow, but butter."

Two of a kind: After taking nightclubs, radio and TV by storm, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis scored a hit in their first film, "My Friend Irma," which opened in late September 1949.

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