The sound track to "Last Exit to Brooklyn" is already in record stores - but the release date for the film has been pushed back yet again. Cinecom's R-rated adaptation of Hubert Selby's gritty novel, directed by Ulrich Eidel ("Christiane F"), is now due in April.
Selby's book delved into the seedy, violent life on the far side of New York City's East River, set against a raging dockworker's strike during the Korean War. In the film, shot on location in the decaying Red Hook section of Brooklyn, Jennifer Jason Leigh portrays down-and-out hooker, Tra-la-la, and Alexis Arquette the junkie transvestite, Georgette."It's pretty graphic," said Cinecom executive Richard Abramowitz. "I was even surprised that it got an R (from the MPAA ratings board). If there was an X rating for language alone, this would sure get it - and then there's violence, sex and drugs. Imagine if all the worst in humanity came into one place at one time. That would be `Last Exit to Brooklyn.' "
Executive producer Anna Gross, however, insisted the film is not exploitative, including a gang-rape sequence near the movie's end: "There is nothing in it that wasn't in `The Accused,' " she said.
"We were very honest with the material, but we did it without exploiting," added producer Bernd Eichinger.
Selby, by the way, appears briefly in the film - driving a car that accidentally runs over one of the principal characters. - LANCE LOUD
HOLLYWOOD - Watch for actress Kim Basinger to branch into singing . . . appear in European commercials . . . and star in a film opposite pop star Prince. Those are some new career wrinkles, industry sources say, after her recent decision to leave agent Rick Nicita at CAA and attorney Barry Hirsch.
Basinger's defection set off a scramble among CAA's competitors for her business. But for now, insiders report, the $2 million-a-picture actress is relying heavily on guidance from Prince, with whom she's been romantically linked (Prince, recall, covered some songs from "Batman," in which Basinger co-starred).
Basinger also is getting career advice from her new attorney, Gary Stiffelman, at Ziffren, Brittenham & Branca - Stiffelman also happens to represent Prince. The company, which handles a range of rock stars, is well-positioned to steer Basinger into a recording debut.
Meanwhile, Basinger is out of a project at Fox, "Sleeping With the Enemy," that was set to begin filming in February. The actress, sources say, was unhappy with the latest version of the script for the Joseph Ruben-directed thriller, and was concerned about committing to a project without knowing who her male co-star would be. - NINA J. EASTON
HOLLYWOOD - Edward James Olmos and director Robert M. Young - who have worked together on four films, including the just-out "Triumph of the Spirit" - are reteaming for a fifth. This time it's "Talent for the Game," with Olmos, once a promising amateur baseball player, playing a baseball scout in search of potential athletic stars.
Young said that the film will be much more than a sports movie: "Though we'll see the beauty of the game, we'll also see the beauty of discovery - because the movie is about discovering that it's OK to be who you really are." Olmos' character, he added, "isn't the guy out in front. He's the guy in the back. He knows he'll never become as wealthy or as famous as the men he's discovering."
Martin Elfand is producing and Frank Pierson is scripting, for Paramount Pictures. Shooting is anticipated to begin in February.
Young said to look for "a wonderful romantic relationship" involving Olmos and a yet-to-be-cast female character.
Other works in the Young-Olmos collaboration: "Alambrista!" (1977), "The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez" (1982) and "Saving Grace" (1986).
Said Young: "You could safely say that we enjoy working together." -PAT H. BROESKE
HOLLYWOOD - "This is probably the most exciting and glamorous thing that's ever happened to our community."
That's how film commission co-chairman George Wyatt summed up the love affair between the community of Winnfield, La., (pop. 7,500) and "Blaze" - just released in major cities but still unseen by Winnfieldans.
Winnfield is hometown - and final resting place - to Earl K. Long, the legendary Louisiana governor who made headlines with his love affair with stripper Blaze Starr. It's also where about 60 percent of the movie was filmed.
What's being touted as "A Winnfield Celebration of `Blaze' " will take place Monday night in neighboring Alexandria (48 miles to the south), site of the nearest walk-in theater (Winnfield only has a drive-in).
Following the Touchstone Pictures-sponsored screening, at the Alexandria Cinema 6, Winnfieldans will gather for a bash at the Bentley Hotel - the campaign headquarters where Long suffered his fatal 1959 heart attack.
Proceeds from the Bentley to-do will go to further the Winnfield Film Commission's pursuit of Hollywood. "Our town can be Anytown, USA," Wyatt said.
Still, it took some doing to convince the "Blaze" film makers to shoot there.
"We had to wine and dine them," said Wyatt, who brought out writer-director Ron Shelton and executive producer Dale Pollock, feeding them Southern cooking at Lynda's Country Kitchen and the Huey P. Long Motor Hotel Restaurant.
"We had to impress them with our rich political history - and the fact that this town has authorities on Earl Long. There are folks here who went coon hunting with Earl."
Winnfield won out - the state film commission estimates that "Blaze" brought $13.5 million into the state, Wyatt said.
Also left behind - in cement: hand and other body imprints of the cast and crew. "We have Paul Newman's hand print and bare feet prints - and Ron Shelton's nose and eyebrows," said Wyatt.
"He kissed his (cement) block!"
Meanwhile, New Orleans' Times-Picayune film critic David Baron gives the film three out of a possible four stars, and said that though film maker Shelton took liberties with history, he managed to capture "the essence of the Bayou state's long legacy of matchlessly flamboyant politics."
Rick Barton, film critic for the weekly New Orleans Gambit, said he's willing to overlook the film's "historical inaccuracies" and that he "wasn't troubled by the accents" in the movie. Barton thought the performances were "really captivating," although "I didn't think the romantic electricity in the film provided the sparks it should have." - PAT H. BROESKE
-If at First . . .:
HOLLYWOOD - Pop singer Cyndi Lauper, whose movie career got off to a dreadful start last year with "Vibes," will try her luck in films again: She will star in "Paradise Paved," tentatively set to start production in February for producer Aaron Russo.
Ed Bianchi ("The Fan") will direct a script by Mitch Glaser on locations in Miami, Baltimore and New York City.
Russo, who calls the picture a "comedy thriller," said he's in the midst of casting Lauper's male co-star - "so I'm really not ready to discuss it yet."
He did say that Lauper's role will be "completely different" from the free-spirited psychic she played in "Vibes."
Lauper is expected back in the United States this week after more than three months abroad for concert tours of Australia and Japan, and promotion work for her "Night to Remember" album in Europe. - STACY JENEL SMITH
Universal is being ever so hush-hush about it, but they are planning to unveil a new logo for their feature films in conjunction with the studio's 75th anniversary next year. We've learned that the design is a high-tech version of the old Universal globe - sans the little circling airplane.
Sources tell us it will be done with a motion control model, rather than animation, and will feature the company name in moving brass letters.