By Romeo San Vicente
Alec Baldwin will star and co-produced the remake of “The Swimmer.” © 1996 Castle Rock Entertainment.
‘The Swimmer’ does another lap
In 1968’s “The Swimmer,” Burt Lancaster played a Connecticut advertising executive whose decision to swim home through each backyard pool in his upscale neighborhood sparks personal insights into the meaning of his life. Thirty-five years later, a remake of the movie is in the works – based, like the original, on a short story by the late bisexual author John Cheever. “The Swimmer” will star and be co-produced by Alec Baldwin. Only weeks ago, it seemed a sure thing that Baldwin would step into the role of designer Halston, but now that casting news is up in the air. This project is a better bet, since he’ll be helping bring it to the screen himself. A start date for filming is scheduled for spring or summer 2004. Now about that Speedo costume-fitting session …
William H. Macy and gay director Steven Schachter are on a roll. Their TNT made-for-TV movie “Door to Door” earned six Emmy Awards last month, they’re remaking Jackie Gleason’s 1962 movie “Gigot” for TNT, and now an independent theatrical feature, “Belle of Indiana,” is crowding their plate. The period thriller, set in the early 1900s, centers on Belle, a deserted farm wife. After trying to run the family farm with her only daughter, she advertises for help. That’s when the good-looking farmhands show up – and then slowly disappear one by one, leaving the audience to wonder what really happened to that AWOL husband. Macy will star in the film and Schachter is co-writing the script with Janet Faust. Awards to be harvested at a later date.
John Cleese joins ‘Will & Grace”s flying circus
Now that Minnie Driver is an established presence on NBC’s “Will & Grace” as Lorraine Finster – mistress to the late husband of Karen (Megan Mullaly), not to mention Karen’s wanna-be murderer – it was just a matter of time before things got even weirder. Enter John Cleese as Lorraine’s father, Lestor. The 63-year-old veteran comic actor will join a long list of stunt-cast talent (including Madonna, Demi Moore, Cher, Michael Douglas, Matt Damon) the show has employed in recent years. But Cleese’s turn will be no one-off. Look for him to romance Karen and drive Lorraine crazy for as many as six episodes beginning this fall, most likely during November sweeps.
Diaz turns ‘W.A.S.P.’
She flew through the air with the greatest of ease in both “Charlie’s Angels” movies, but now Cameron Diaz will be suiting up and flying for Uncle Sam in “W.A.S.P.S,” a World War II drama in the works from Fox. Diaz will play a pilot recruited to serve as one of the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots, the first all-female pilot program, created by the U.S. military in 1942. Although the group never saw combat overseas, 39 died in service while flying missions over America. No word on any lesbian roles in the script (and if there aren’t any, it’ll surely be revisionist herstory), but early casting news puts Mimi Rogers in the supporting role of Jackie Cochran, the woman who helped start the airborne League of Their Own.