Posted by Darth Mabel at cache-rk04.proxy.aol.com on August 11, 2003 at 10:51:33:
In Reply to: miramax cutting j.lo out posted by hurricane on August 11, 2003 at 10:33:43:
From today's NY Times:
After 'Gigli,' Less of J. Lo Is Seen as a Good Thing
By LAURA M. HOLSON
You would be hard pressed to find a Hollywood marketing manual that says killing off one-half of the country's most famous celebrity couple in the first 15 minutes of a movie should be used as a selling point.
But in the wake of the box office and critical disaster that is "Gigli," the film that brought together Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, Miramax Films is doing just that with the couple's next movie, "Jersey Girl."
When news reports in recent months revealed that Ms. Lopez's character dies early in "Jersey Girl," publicity executives at Miramax were displeased. But in the last few weeks, they have begun quietly highlighting the fact that Ms. Lopez barely appears in the movie.
Now, it looks as if Miramax will be promoting the movie the way the director, Kevin Smith, had originally wanted. Mr. Smith, who attained cult status with movies like "Chasing Amy" and "Dogma," had always conceived of "Jersey Girl" as the story of Ollie Trinke (played by Mr. Affleck) raising his young daughter, Gertie. But when Ms. Lopez was cast as the girl's mother, the production quickly turned into the "Ben and Jennifer show," much to Mr. Smith's chagrin.
The publicity nightmare worsened recently as Internet chat groups and tabloids began comparing "Jersey Girl" to the much maligned "Gigli." Rumors surfaced that Miramax had cut Ms. Lopez's part, and even had her face removed from movie posters.
Many of the changes had been made well before "Gigli" even showed up in theaters, largely because of the two characters' chemistry — or, in this case, a lack thereof, Mr. Smith said. Ms. Lopez's part was trimmed after test audiences last spring panned the on-screen relationship between Ms. Lopez and Mr. Affleck.
Miramax, a unit of the Walt Disney Company, resisted the cuts at first. "Harvey was always, `Let's leave as much of Jennifer in because we paid her $4 million for the movie,' " said Mr. Smith, referring to Harvey Weinstein, Miramax's co-founder. The studio's marketing executives were also pushing to take advantage of the couple's star appeal.
But that changed as Mr. Smith whittled away Ms. Lopez's screen time. "It became what's best for the story," said Jon Gordon, executive vice president of production at Miramax.
You can almost hear the sigh of relief at Miramax. "In retrospect," Mr. Smith said, "it turned out to not be such a bad thing." Now he can only hope the couple chooses not to get married next March when the movie opens, which would provide distracting fodder for the tabloids.
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