Thursday, December 11, 2003
By Roger Friedman
‘Stepford’ Shoot Goes on Forever
It’s not the longest shoot in history, but it’s getting there. Believe it or not, “The Stepford Wives,” a remake by Frank Oz, is still in production at Kaufman Astoria Studios. The Paramount feature started pre-production in March — that’s right, March, nine months ago — and began shooting in New York and New Canaan, Conn., in June.
Now I’m told that the Scott Rudin production is not ready to wrap quite yet. They’re scheduled to be at Kaufman “through Christmas.” They still have a set built at a studio in Yonkers where more shooting takes place.
One of the stars, Glenn Close, said yesterday that it was the longest she’d ever worked on a film. Her part of it wrapped last Friday. But other members of the cast have been shuttling back and forth for further work, including Christopher Walken, Bette Midler and Matthew Broderick. The only actor who seems to have escaped the nightmarish part of the work is Nicole Kidman, who finished quite a while ago.
Why is “Stepford” taking so long? There have been many reported problems with the cast not getting along, not behaving and not taking direction. Of course director Oz has come in for a lot of blame. Bette Midler is also a prime suspect, although one set insider told me, “Bette’s stand-in is even worse than she is. You should hear her scream at people.” The same source said that when fresh faces arrived in recent weeks, they were afraid to ask too many questions.
There’s also said to be quite a lot of trouble among the actresses, especially in the makeup room. “They’re working hard to make them look ugly before they get Stepford-ized,” said my source. “And none of them wanted to do it.”
As for the runaway production: “No one talks about the cost or the time anymore,” they said. Another source said: “There are a lot of special effects. They just got creative as they went along.”
New indications are that the principal production will wrap at Kaufman next week, but more shooting with a second unit is said to be scheduled for “after the holidays.”
“The Stepford Wives,” a remake of the 1975 film, is set for a June 2004 release.