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The Independent Culture
Sex and money

Hollywood has never been the land of equal opportunity. Female stars are paid between 30 and 50 per cent less than the men - despite Whoopi Goldberg's dollars 8m for Sister Act II - and movies like Indecent Proposal casually portray women as goods to be bartered (Proposal was produced by Sherry Lansing, who says she's never met sexism in Hollywood).

Still, for screenwriters the balance is starting to be redressed. Hot on the heels of Joe Eszterhas's dollars 3m plus for Basic Instinct comes Kathy McWorter's dollars 700,000 fee to pen the sequel to Fried Green Tomatoes. If you're wondering 'Kathy who?', that's quite all right. McWorter has yet to see one of her scripts make the screen (her Tomatoes fee escalates to dollars 950,000 if the picture is actually produced).

Since 1991 the writer has picked up a flat dollars 1m from Paramount for her spec offering The Cheese Stands Alone, the most ever paid to a woman screenwriter (the same amount Demi Moore gets for her one-night stand with Robert Redford in Indecent Proposal), and a trifling dollars 500,000 from Universal for The War. While Cheese revolves in apparently permanent turnaround, The War should hit theatres next spring. Word is McWorter's agent wants his client to match Eszterhas's record before The War breaks out.

Secret Hero?

Columbia Pictures say it never occurred. Those who 'attended' say it did. The controversy under consideration concerns a reputed second sneak preview of Arnold Schwarzenegger's troubled The Last Action Hero, the incomplete version of which fared miserably during its first market research showing on 1 May.

Mark Gill, Columbia's vice-president of publicity, insists that the reported test show at the Pasadena UA Marketplace Cinema 'absolutely never happened', while marketing chief Sid Ganis turned on the press: 'Write an article about how people in this town invent things.'

Which may come as news to the social worker who says she attended the screening and was so disappointed she didn't bother to complete her response card, and to the industry gurus reputedly passing around the screening results and reputedly tut-tutting over the numbers. Whatever, the film has to its 18 June release date to sort out any problems - real or imagined.

Twisted

One of the unremarked curiosities of Spielberg's dinosaur blockbuster is the casting of Richard Attenborough. In 1982 Attenborough's Gandhi beat Spielberg's ET to the Oscar for Best Film. Spielberg was irritated enough to issue sour statements about big box-office hits 'automatically not being considered art'. Which has nothing to do with the fact that Jurassic Park casts Richard Attenborough as a twisted genius and misguided villain.

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