Tom Wolfe’s best-seller, The Right Stuff, refers to that elusive quality possessed by the seven Mercury astronauts long before anyone had heard of the Force. The team flies again in this $22 million project, which includes two Mercury capsules built from original molds. Their Yoda, famed USAF test pilot Chuck Yeager, is portrayed by playwright Sam Shepard.
Star 80 is the license plate that Playboy centerfold Dorothy Stratten’s husband put on his Mercedes. It is also the title of director Bob Fosse’s film version of her life. It is not a Hollywood success story. On Aug. 14, 1980, a month after Stratten (far left), then 20, wrapped They All Laughed for her director-lover Peter Bogdanovich, her jilted husband, Paul Snider, killed her and himself with a shotgun. Fosse is basing his film, starring Mariel Hemingway and Eric Roberts (left), on a Village Voice story of the tragedy, critical of Bogdanovich, by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Teresa Carpenter. Bogdanovich, “alarmed and dismayed,” has called his lawyers.
Psycho II reopens the Bates Motel of the 1960 Hitchcock suspense classic and returns mother-killer Tony Perkins, now 50, to the front desk after 22 years in an asylum. Director Richard Franklin promises his sequel will closely follow the late master’s style. “There’s none of the splash-and-splatter stuff,” says Perkins. Vera Miles, who played Janet Leigh’s sister, is back. Ditto a shower scene. Leigh fans may have wanted her horror-queen daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, to do the honors this time, but Meg (Tex) Tilly gets wet instead. Perkins, standing by the Psycho house at Universal Studios, says happily: “It feels like coming home.”
Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker, Harrison Ford’s Han Solo and Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia all return for Revenge of the Jedi, the third chapter in producer George Lucas’ proposed nine-part intergalactic saga begun with Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. Lucas is so secretive about the $32.5 million film that associates feared dismissal if they squealed before the May 25 premiere. But there have been a few leaks: Yoda, R2-D2 and C-3PO will return to help Luke in his fight against Darth Vader, Han Solo will be rescued, and the Rebels will battle a new foe named Bib Fortuna. Sad news ahead, though, for Hamill, Ford and Fisher: Chapter Four, rumored due in three years, may take place a generation before they were born.
Octopussy with Roger Moore is the new James Bond picture. So is Never Say Never Again with Sean Connery. Huh? Didn’t typecast Connery quit after his sixth bondage, 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever? Well, never say never. Now 52, with toupee and torpedo in place, he is back and earning an estimated $3 million salary. Connery, who has known Moore, 55, for more than 20 years, says there will be no rivalry when the double 007’s are released next year. Moore’s salary for his sixth Bond helps, too: a cool $3 million.
Superman III puts Christopher Reeve, 30, back in the air after the critics grounded him for his flop in Monsignor. To boost their estimated $40 million epic, producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind have cast Richard Pryor (at a salary rumored to be $1 million in excess of Reeve’s $3 million) as a computer genius out to conquer the Man of Steel. They have also added a new love interest, Supie’s high school sweetie, Lana Lang, played by Annette (48 Hrs.) O’Toole, 30. The romance, she says, “will be bittersweet.”?