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Whole Lotta Shakin’

MTV, payola, Japanese takeovers, Milli Vanilli--there have been some real music-biz shake-ups in recent years. It’s prompted producer Gene Kirkwood to move ahead on a sequel to “The Idolmaker” (1980), the fictional film bio of Bob Marcucci, who developed and marketed pop singers in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

“We’ve been talking about it for years, and now the time seems right,” Kirkwood tells us. “Everybody (Ray Sharkey, Peter Gallagher, Olympia Dukakis) in the original has really grown.”

Sharkey adds: “It would span 30 years (1960-90),” reflecting upheavals in the music industry.

Eddie DeLorenzo, who wrote the original--directed by Taylor Hackford--is writing the script. Sharkey is committed, and Kirkwood says Dukakis and Gallagher “have always wanted to do it.”

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Sharkey will reprise his role as Vinnie Vaccari, Marcucci’s alter ego, a frustrated performer who will now have his own (fictionalized) shot at stardom--as well as a stormy love affair with a Madonna-like singer.

“I’m taking singing, dancing, ballet lessons at night,” Sharkey says of his preparation for the role. “We plan to really let Vinnie cut loose in this one.”

Loaded with music, “The Idolmaker” was never a blockbuster, but got favorable reviews and developed something of a cult following. Kirkwood sees a more marketable picture now.

“Remember, there was no MTV in those days,” he says, “which would have made all the difference” promotion-wise.

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