Kurt Russell and William Baldwin (younger brother...

Kurt Russell and William Baldwin (younger brother of Alec) play brothers in “Backdraft,” Imagine Films’ thriller about an arson investigation in Chicago, told through eyes of a rookie fireman. Ron Howard will direct and Richard B. Lewis will produce from a script by Greg Widen. The Universal release begins production in Chicago July 23.

In “There Goes My Baby,” writer-director Floyd Mutrux’s coming-of-age drama set in August 1965, Jill Schoelen and Dermot Mulroney play Los Angeles high-school grads who attend closing night for Pop’s Paradise, a diner/hangout in Santa Monica. That night happens to be the night the Watts riot begins. Other cast members include Kelli Williams, Kristin Minter and Lucy Deakins. The Nelson Entertainment film, which launches production in August--the 25th anniversary of the riot--will be produced by Robert Shapiro.

Rick Schroder and Jason Bateman star in the youth comedy, “On the Prowl,” for producer Jackelyn Giroux and director Paul Lynch. In Dan Yost’s script, three young men follow a trio of women in a convertible one night and wind up with more action than they bargained for. The film begins production at Universal’s new studio in Orlando, Fla., the end of June.

Heather Graham (the young woman who overdoses in “Drugstore Cowboy”) plays a a sweetly naive campaign worker for an evil gubernatorial candidate while Zelda Rubenstein is the candidate’s housekeeper/stool pigeon in IRS Media’s dark comedy, “The Chair.” Previously announced Rod Steiger heads the cast for director Sam Irvin and producer Randy Gale (whose brother Charles wrote the revenge-movie spoof). Start date in Los Angeles is Aug. 1.


Alan Rickman joins Madeleine Stowe in Radha Bharadway’s two-character drama, “Closet Land.” The Imagine film begins shooting June 18. Meanwhile, Isabella Rossellini, who at one time was to play Stowe’s role, will star in “Siege of Venice,” an Italian-Soviet co-production that begins filming in Moscow July 15.

Brad Davis and Kim Delaney star in Motion Picture Corp. of America’s “Hangfire,” as a husband and wife who stumble into a small New Mexican town taken over by prison inmates led by Jan-Michael Vincent, Lyle Alzado and Lou Ferrigno. George Kennedy plays the warden. Peter Maris directs Brian D. Jeffries’ screenplay. The film, produced by Brad Krevoy and Steven Stabler, begins shooting in the L.A. area this month.

Producer-writer-director Darryl Roberts has lined up a cast of young black performers for his comedy about male-female relationships in Chicago’s black community, “How U Like Me Now?” Among the leads are Lila Rochon (the hooker named Sunshine in “Harlem Nights”), Traci Wolfe (Danny Glover’s daughter in “Lethal Weapon”), Kevin Best (who stars on “General Hospital”) and Martin Lawrence (“House Party”).

Journalist Hunter S. Thompson plays a rock magazine publisher and Angela Bowie, David’s ex-wife, is a crusading First Lady in Reynolds Entertainment’s rock ‘n’ roll horror-comedy, “The Monster Tour.” Hal Pierce, the producer-director-co-writer (with David Durham), is hoping to sign a name band to play the fictional group, which suffers from the handicap of having a vampire for a lead singer and a werewolf for a drummer. Filming in the Atlanta area begins this summer.


Veteran cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld will direct the film version of “The Addams Family,” written by Larry Wilson and Caroline Thompson. Scott Rudin produces for Orion.