A Film Bonanza For Forster Fans

Posted: November 25, 1990

Lovers of literate moviemaking are in for a feast of Forster.

The international success of E.M. Forster's A Passage to India, as brought to the screen by David Lean in 1984, revived interest in one of the century's pre-eminent English novelists. It also showed that the difficulties inherent in filming Forster's sophisticated vision can be overcome by an imaginative director and a resourceful screenwriter.

Two people who certainly qualify for that description are James Ivory and novelist-scriptwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, who collaborated on the screen versions of Forster's A Room With a View and Maurice. Ivory - whose Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, is planned as a holiday release - and Jhabvala are busy preparing a movie from one of Forster's finest works, Howard's End. Shooting begins in England in April, with Anthony Hopkins, Vanessa Redgrave and James Wilby, who starred in Maurice.

Meanwhile, Charles Sturridge, who directed the magnificent translation of Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited for television, is already shooting Forster's Where Angels Fear to Tread. Sturridge has lined up a cast of Forster veterans that includes Judy Davis (A Passage to India), Rupert Graves (Maurice and A Room With a View) and Helena Bonham Carter (A Room With a View).

GROWING UP. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids was the sleeper hit of summer '89, with a $130 million gross that had many Hollywood trend-watchers scratching their heads. Some suggested that a factor in the Disney comedy's success was ''counter-programming": Honey was released on the same weekend as Batman, and could be considered a lighthearted family alternative to the dark megahit epic.

In about 18 months, we'll discover if lightning can strike twice. The inevitable sequels to Honey and Batman are in the pipeline, with both due in the summer of 1992. Perhaps superstitiously, the producers of Honey 2 plan to release their picture on whatever weekend Batman 2 opens.

GOING SOUTH. Kevin Costner, whose contribution to the western genre, Dances With Wolves, arrived Wednesday, is taking his production company south for its next project. Costner, who directed and starred in Dances, will serve as executive producer of China Moon, a romantic suspense-thriller that is his fledgling company's second venture. The film casts Ed Harris as a small-town Florida detective who becomes involved with a wealthy widow and gets implicated in a murder. Cinematographer John Bailey gets his first chance at

directing, courtesy of Costner.

IN BRIEF. John Hughes, writer and producer of Home Alone, has come up with the adventurous pairing of Sylvester Stallone and John Candy for a comedy he

plans to film in Chicago next summer. The movie is called Bartholomew vs. Neff and chronicles the breakup of the long friendship of an ex-baseball player (Stallone) and his neighbor, a banker (Candy). . . . John Frankenheimer will direct Lure of Darkness, a mystery set in an economically depressed part of the deep South. . . . Director John McNaughton, who made such a gruesome and effective feature debut with Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, will film Mad Dog and Glory, a New York crime thriller written by Richard Price. Price wrote the script for Martin Scorsese's The Color of Money.

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