Harvey Weinstein says time is right for sequels, spinoffs of Miramax classics
For those who say no sequel could ever be as good as the original "Shakespeare in Love," Harvey Weinstein agrees.
But that doesn't mean he's not game to try. In an interview after the news of the deal for his Weinstein Co. to produce sequels or spinoffs to 10 well-known movies produced by Harvey and his brother Bob but now owned by the new management of Miramax Films, he said the time is right to do it.
"We always knew the movie came out too well for us to ever top ourselves," the chief executive of The Weinstein Co. said of the Best Picture Academy Award-winner. Weinstein said all these years later, though, "many people are still asking for it and it will still be better than 90% of the movies out there."
A second "Shakespeare in Love" is one of several projects Weinstein identified as a top priority in the agreement with Miramax, along with follow-ups to the poker drama "Rounders" and the dark comedy "Bad Santa." The indie film mogul said he would approach original actors, writers and directors for every film, but the only actors he had had discussions with already were "Rounders" stars Matt Damon and Edward Norton.
In addition to sequels, Weinstein said he saw the potential to turn some movies into television shows, most notably "Swingers," a comedy about struggling young actors.
In some cases, he said, scripts were already in development at Miramax that Weinstein Co. will pick up and work on further.
Sequels are not entirely new to the Weinsteins, as Bob's Dimension Films label has already produced multiple entries in such series as "Scream," "Spy Kids," "Scary Movie" and "Halloween."
"We were faced with a financial crisis and if Bob didn't make the decision to do more sequels, he'd probably be going to the retirement home now," Harvey Weinstein said jokingly.
But Harvey, who oversees the company's prestigious Oscar-winning titles, has never before been known for sequels.
"First and foremost I'm still in the business of movies like 'The King's Speech' and 'Inglourious Basterds,' but it's the right time for me to make a couple of sequels and I'll also spearhead the television efforts," Harvey said.
-- Ben Fritz
Photos, from top: Gwyneth Paltrow in "Shakespeare in Love" (credit: Laurie Sparham/Miramax); Harvey Weinstein (credit: Larry Busacca / Getty Images).