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Thursday, Jun 8, 2023


“Citizen Kane: the Musical”? Could be.

Ted Hartley, chairman of RKO Pictures Corp., is developing a Broadway musical based on the classic 1941 film by Orson Welles about the rise and fall of media baron John Foster Kane.

“You don’t have to ask what it’s about,” said Hartley, speaking by phone from the Cannes Film Festival. “It’s branded.”

But making it into musical?

“It is one of the great movies of all time, and we want to take it in a different way,” Hartley said. “We have the right to make sequels but won’t. There’s only one Hope Diamond. But you can take the spirit of what Welles did and look at a man’s triumphs and disasters and make a glorious musical.”

Hartley will begin meeting with Broadway writers, producers and directors this week after returning from Cannes. He anticipates the project will take several years to reach the stage.

But you can expect to see the Broadway version of “Swing Time” a little sooner. Hartley has signed Broadway veteran Jay Harris to co-produce the stage version of the 1936 RKO musical that starred Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and featured such Jerome Kern songs as “A Fine Romance” and the Oscar-winning “The Way You Look Tonight.”

Hartley expects the show to hit Broadway in the next 18 months.

Elizabeth Taylor, who hasn’t made a film since 1994, is back in show business. The legendary actress just signed with a top Hollywood management team that says it’s being bombarded with offers and scripts to woo her back to the big screen.

“We’ve gotten a lot of scripts to read and there is a tremendous amount of interest in her,” said Marion Rosenberg, a partner in Rosenberg Melamed Management. “Right now we are concentrating on film and not television.”

Taylor’s last movie was the 1994 Universal hit, “The Flintstones.”

Currently a blond, Taylor bowed out of the entertainment scene because of health problems two hip replacements and a brain tumor and because of her work with her perfume, White Diamonds.

“She wants to go back to acting because this is what she has always done,” said Rosenberg, who represents such actors as LeVar Burton and Julia Louis-Dreyfus and director Paul Verhoeven.

Taylor has also signed with Warren Cowan, the veteran Hollywood publicist who first handled her publicity during the filming of “Cleopatra” in Rome.

So what have Hollywood types been doing since some critics gave “Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace” lukewarm reviews? They’ve been on the phone trying to gauge the impact on Twentieth Century Fox, which released the movie. One rival studio head spent an entire weekend repeatedly calling a writer involved with the film to gain the scribe’s assessment

Jake Lloyd, who plays the young Darth Vader, has formed his own production company. And yes, his parents are his managers.

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