Picks and Pans Review: Spotlight On...
THE UNSINKABLE DRAMA
MAYBE IT'S BECAUSE GREAT MINDS think alike—or more likely it's because movie and TV executives think alike—but in Hollywood ideas do seem to come in clusters. Remember how the early '90s brought us multiple Robin Hood movies? How two films about the Ebola virus were going nearly head-to-head for a while? The dual Wyatt Earp movies?
Get ready now for the year of the Titanic. The supposedly unsinkable British luxury liner that went down with 1,500 victims in the North Atlantic on April 14-15, 1912, has inspired several films, most notably 1958's A Night to Remember, starring David McCallum. But in the next 12 months a whole fleet of new Titanics will sail into view.
The award for the most expensive retelling goes to director James Cameron's Titanic, soon to shoot in Mexico, a country known for its near-by icebergs, at a cost of $100 million. The presumed summer of '97 blockbuster features a shipboard romance between first-class passenger Kate Winslet (Sense and Sensibility) and third-class Leonardo DiCaprio (What's Eating Gilbert Grape?). Beating Cameron to the lifeboats, however, will be CBS's four-hour November miniseries, also titled Titanic (starring Peter Gallagher, George C. Scott and Eva Marie Saint), and NBC's two-hour documentary titled—what else?—Titanic. (The latter will run during either the November or May sweeps.) Theater buffs, meanwhile, can consider a musical Titanic, sailing to Broadway next spring.
Can all of these Titanics, float? Probably not, but, says Cameron's executive producer Rae Sanchini, "we welcome the other projects. We see them as ancillary marketing tools." The Titanic, she adds, "is a subject no one will ever tire of."