Things I Learned Reading Inside Hollywood Magazine

There it was just staring at me.  Amongst all the other titles on display, it was the one that caught my attention.  I picked it up and paid for it.

It’s been 15 years since I bought that first issue of Inside Hollywood magazine in an American drugstore.  Incredibly, I still have it.  I also still possess every issue they put out between 1991 and 1992.  It was a bi-monthly magazine that, initially, was solely devoted to covering movies.  After its first year, it started covering music and television as well. 

I remember the day I went to pick up what was supposed to be their 12th issue, the November/December 1992 edition.  I went to my local variety store where I had bought the magazine for the last couple of years (starting with issue 2) and was shocked to discover that the latest issue wasn’t displayed.  In every issue there was a preview of what to expect in the following edition along with the date it was supposed to start circulating.  Like clockwork, Inside Hollywood would be on newsstands as expected.  But not this time.  I think I went back a couple of times to see if it was just late.  It wasn’t.  I even tried a couple of other stores in the local mall.  No dice.  Inside Hollywood was no more.

The reason I bring all of this up is because I’ve finally been reading these magazines that have been sitting in my closet for almost 2 decades.  I did read the first issue years ago but decided to read it again after all this time.  Then, I decided to read another issue and another.  Finally, I resolved to read all the issues that ever existed:  11 in total.  Why did it take me so long to read them?  Well, as I get older, I get lazier and lazier and it takes an awful lot of effort some days to sit down and read.  I am very particular about how and when I read anything.  It’s very frustrating.  But I’ve read the first 7 issues of Inside Hollywood and just have 4 to go so, slowly but surely, I’m making progress.

Over the last several years I’ve finally decided to do something about my out-of-control magazine collection.  I developed a bad habit of buying numerous titles but not reading many of them.  However, I did read some issues.  I flipped through others.  Then, I just started buying and storing with the intent of reading everything when the time was right.  As a result, I’m extremely backed up.  But as I said, I’m making progress and am determined to read all these magazines no matter how long it takes.  In the end, this has been a good thing.  I’m reading these old issues from a different perspective and it’s much easier to tell what is true and what isn’t.

This brings me back to Inside Hollywood.  It’s interesting to go back and learn things you never knew about Hollywood back in the early 90s.  Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

1. Alec Baldwin was replaced by Harrison Ford not once, not twice, but three times on a movie.  Everybody knows about the first two.  Baldwin played Jack Ryan in the very popular 1990 movie, The Hunt For Red October.  He agreed to do the sequels Patriot Games and Clear And Present Danger but then something came up.  Apparently, it was his lifelong dream to play Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway.  He decided to follow his dream and bailed on both Jack Ryan follow-ups.  Harrison Ford, who hadn’t made an action movie since Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade, took over for Baldwin.  As a result, not only did Ford star in Patriot Games, he also did Clear And Present Danger as well.  Both were entertaining action flicks and very popular. 

Also, Baldwin was going to be Dr. Richard Kimble in the big screen adaptation of the famous TV series, The Fugitive, which had one of the most successful finales in history.  Walter Hill was the director at the time but producer Arnold Kopelson wasn’t happy with the screenplay and ordered a re-write.  According to Jesse Nash, the Hollywood Insider columnist, in the September/October 1991 issue of IH, the film was ready to start shooting in 1990 and “These delays may put the availability of Hill and Baldwin into jeopardy,”.  He was right.  Besides doing Streetcar, Baldwin also starred in Prelude To A Kiss, had an astounding cameo in Glengarry Glen Ross and a memorable turn in the confusing Malice.  After completing Patriot Games, Harrison Ford took over for Baldwin.  Again.  Hill, who decided to make a film called The Looters (later re-titled Trespass and whose release date was moved from July to December 1992 because of worries over the L.A. Riots), was replaced by Andrew Davis who had just scored a major success by directing the great Under Siege.  As we all know, The Fugitive was so successful it was nominated for Best Picture. 

2. Numerous movies over the years underwent interesting title changes.  Before it was called Under Siege, it was known as Dreadnought and Last To Surrender.  Far And Away, the underappreciated Nicole Kidman/Tom Cruise period piece, was originally known as The Irish Story.  Whispers In The Dark started out as Sessions.  Point Of No Return was going to be called Nikita, the same name as the French original.  Hero, the 1992 Stephen Frears gem, started out being Hero And A Half.  Here are some others:  Deceived (original title: The Mrs.), Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (original title: Home Alone, Again), Chaplin (original title: Charlie), Kuffs (original title: Hero Wanted), Medicine Man (original titles: The Last Days Of Eden, The Stand), Falling From Grace (original title: Souvenirs), Once Upon A Crime (original titles: Returning Napoleon, Criminals), The Inner Circle (original title: The Projectionist), Mr. Baseball (original title: Tokyo Diamond), My Girl (original title: I Am Woman), Made In America (original title: Change Of Heart).

3. In the January/February 1992 issue of IH, Madonna expressed interest in doing a movie about Frida Kahlo, the famed bisexual painter.  Salma Hayek ended up making the movie and received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

4. There was supposed to be a sequel to Who Framed Roger Rabbit?  Entitled Who Discovered Roger Rabbit?, it was going to reveal how Roger met his beloved Jessica.  It was scheduled for a 1993 release.  It never surfaced.

5. Here are some other films that never surfaced: 

John Hughes was going to direct a project with John Candy and Sylvester Stallone called Bartholomew Vs. Neff.  It was supposed to be about neighbours at war with each other.  It was mentioned in a November/December 1991 interview with Candy but it was never made. 

Mel Brooks was planning to make The Fly III. 

Jack Nicholson was hoping to do Napoleon. 

In the first issue of the magazine, the Hollywood Insider claimed Francis Ford Coppola was penning the screenplay for the fourth Godfather movie and “has been trying to get Brando involved again.”  Needless to say, it hasn’t been made.

Madonna wanted to make a movie about one of her influences, dancer Martha Graham.

Besides wanting to play Peter Pan, Michael Jackson also wanted to be a superhero in the movies.  Midknight was supposed to be “a futuristic action-fantasy with Michael playing a powerful, all-knowing being who’s chased by an evil doctor hoping to use Michael’s powers for evil.”     

David Mamet wanted to revive Charlie Chan.

Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts were said to be starring in a film called Princess Of Mars, which, according to the January/February 1992 issue of IH, “is based on a novel called She, written in 1885 by H. Rider Haggard, and is about a love-starved queen who’s desperate to re-incarnate her dead lover.”

There was a Rocky Horror Picture Show sequel in the works.  It was going to be called The Revenge Of The Old Queen.

Tom Hanks, hoping to transistion himself from light comedian to serious actor, lobbied for the title role in The Passion Of Richard Nixon.  I’m not sure if this has anything to do with Oliver Stone’s Nixon but I’m glad Anthony Hopkins played the former President instead.

Brigitte Nielsen, when she was still good-looking and in shape, was going to be The She-Hulk.

Jerry and David Zucker were planning a film called Toddlers “about two adventurers who crash their plane in a land of giants – and masquerade as giant toddlers in order to survive”, according to the Hollywood Insider in the September/October 1991 issue. 

Julia Roberts reportedly wanted a cool 2 million dollars to star in the sequel to Mystic Pizza, her first hit.  According to the first issue of IH, “Producers hope Julia will ask for a smaller slice of the pie.”  It was never made.

6. Besides Alec Baldwin being replaced by Harrison Ford in 3 movies, here are other instances of actors expected to be in certain movies only to be replaced somewhere down the line:

Arnold Schwarzenegger was going to play Mr. Deeds in a planned remake of the famous Frank Capra film.  The Zucker brothers (who gave us the Airplane! and Naked Gun movies) were also “said to be involved” according to the Jan/Feb 1992 issue of IH.  10 years later, Adam Sandler ended up playing the title character which was the last time anyone saw Winona Ryder in a hit movie.

Jerry Lewis was said to be reviving his Nutty Professor character for an updated movie.  Eddie Murphy took over and even made a successful sequel. 

According to the July/August 1991 issue of IH, “Paramount Pictures hopes everybody’s favourite human cartoon ROBIN WILLIAMS will mount his horse and battle the devious Snidely Whiplash” in a film adaptation of Dudley Do-Right.  Alfred Molina (Doc Ock from Spider-Man 2) played the villain to Brendan Fraser’s Do-Right.  Furthermore, the film was made by Universal.

Tommy Tune “want[ed] to do a movie version of the cross-dressing hit play La Cage Aux Folles with DON JOHNSON in the role of the drag queen.”  The Birdcage surfaced in early 1996 with Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Gene Hackman and a pre-All McBeal Calista Flockhart but no Tune or Johnson.

7. Plenty of false rumours get published as fact in the media.  Here are a few that ended up in Inside Hollywood:

Batman Returns was supposed to feature Robin for the first time and he was supposed to be black.  Robin didn’t appear until Batman Forever and he was played by the very-white Chris O’Donnell who reprised the role in Batman & Robin.

There was talk of an E.T. sequel and a fourth Back To The Future. 

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, September 6, 2006
6:05 p.m.
Published in: on September 6, 2006 at 6:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

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