Brush Up Your Shakespeare: Glenn Close is in negotiations to play Gertrude in the Bard’s “Hamlet” for director Franco Zeffirelli in early 1990. The Dyson Lovell production stars Mel Gibson as the moody Dane disturbed by his re-married mother’s fatal attraction. . . .
Kevin Kline hits the campaign trail in Paramount’s “Running Mates,” a romantic-political-comedy about a presidential aspirant involved with a woman who might not be good for his career, to film in August. Diane Keaton is that woman in the Marvin Worth production of Carol Eastman’s screenplay. . . . Actor Tom Conti makes his directorial debut and stars as a ‘30s matinee idol with a topsy-turvy life in a film version of Noel Coward’s “Present Laughter.” Kelly McGillis and Sean Young co-star with filming scheduled for the summer in Berlin for producer Steven Haft. . . .
Disney has green-lighted two further Ernest P. Worrell adventures to start in August. The first, “Ernest Spaced Out,” finds our hero (actor Jim Varney) picked up by a UFO and later taken for a Martian by gullible Earthlings. Written by Ed Naha, “Spaced” is produced by Stacy Williams and directed by John Cherry. . . .
Choreographer Kenny Ortega makes his film directing debut with Columbia’s “Skirts,” a “Romeo and Juliet” musical set during the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Hilary Carlip and Katie Ford wrote the screenplay, Linda Obst and Paul Aaron produce, with filming scheduled this fall in the Big Apple and Toronto. . . .
In New Horizon’s “Paranoia,” to film locally in May, Bill Pullman portrays a psychiatrist with the title ailment. Adam Simon directs the original screenplay by the late Charles Beaumont. Bill Paxton, Bud Cort and Patricia Charbonneau co-star for producer Julie Corman. . . .
Cannon’s “Phantom of the Opera” moves to NYC in May. Jill Schoelen is the diva to Robert Englund’s phantom. Terence Harvey and Alex Hyde-White co-star in the Harry Allan Towers production directed by Dwight Little. . . .
Richard Beymer (“West Side Story”), who’s been directing lately, gets back in front of the camera in “You Better Watch Out,” a sequel to “Silent Night, Deadly Night.” He plays a doctor teamed with cop Robert Culp to track down a coma patient who awakes and kills. Laura Herring, Bill Mosley and Eric Dare co-star. Arthur Gorson produces. . . .
Director Louis Malle begins his social comedy “May Fools” in June in the South of France. Michel Piccoli and Miou-Miou star in the tale of a family brought together by the death of a grandfather, against a background of the May 1968 general strike. Malle co-wrote the farce with Jean-Claude Carriere. . . .
Quick castings: Jeffrey Jones plays Judge Reinhold’s dim-witted deputy in Vestron’s murder spoof “Enid Is Sleeping.” John Davis produces. . . . Dean Stockwell is an American military leader in 1930s Nicaragua in film maker Miguel Littin’s “Sandino.” . . . James Earl Jones abets reporter Eric Roberts’ pursuit of a missing woman in Trans World’s “Into Thin Air” for writer-director Larry Cohen. . . . Diane Lane interns with Adrian Pasdar in Fox’s “Vital Signs,” which Marisa Silver directs in May. . . .
Robert Loggia and James Tolkan join Imagine/Universal’s “Opportunity Knocks,” a comedy of adopted and mistaken identity starring Dana Carvey. Donald Petrie directs the Mitch Catlin and Nat Bernstein script next month for producers Mark Gordon and Chris Meledandri. . . .