Revealing the Stepford Problem

By Garth Franklin Sunday June 6th 2004 08:25PM

sp; The New York PostThe New York Post has written a fascinating article on the assorted problems which plagued the production of this week's all-star remake of the classic "The Stepford Wives". The Paramount-distributed black comedy when put into production in New York last year, was all tipped to be a big Summer movie hit for the studio with an all-star cast signing up for roles in what was expected to be a breezy three month shoot.

    Then problems sprang up. Kidman complained about the script, and then the floodgates sprang open when the assorted stars started pushing their egos. According to one source - "Fourteen different people were saying what they wanted, and no one was willing to blink. That's why a shoot that was supposed to take three months wound up taking eight...There were too many cooks"

    Seems that every major player had an opinion about how the movie should go. Some wanted " a manic satire of the suburbs; others wanted a sci-fi thriller like the original "Stepford"; and there seems to have been a contingent that insisted on adding schmaltzy redemption scenes at the end". 

    Director Frank Oz tried to pull it all together but got into screaming matches with star Christopher Walken who reportedly threatened to quit more than once.  For Kidman it ended up being the second longest shoot of her career behind "Eyes Wide Shut". The ballroom finale scene ended up shooting for a month - two weeks with one ending, two weeks with another. Then the studio came back and weren't happy, so Oz stormed off set. He came back in December and continued working on the project. As recently as last month there were reshoots done for the ending. Producer Scott Rudin is believed to have essentially abandoned the project.

    So the behind-the-scenes was a horror, will that affect the final product? Various films have proven to be big hits and critical successes despite painful births. The early verdict on the film though remains to be seen - tonight's LA premiere and Tuesday's media screenings in New York will be the first time the film has been screened outside the studio. By next weekend, the results will be in. 

    Thanks to 'Jediyuth'