'Evita' Film Once More in Limbo


Don't cry for "Evita," now that Disney has dumped the expensive film project that was to star Madonna in the title role.

As a matter of fact, don't cry for Madonna, either.

That's the word from a source close to the project, who said producer Robert Stigwood "is in a good place" regarding the film's viability, director Glen Gordon Caron and the star. Stigwood fully expects to have a new deal in place soon, perhaps at Paramount Pictures, the source said.

Paramount had no comment on the matter.

On Thursday, the Hollywood Pictures division of Walt Disney Studios, did not return calls for comment on a report published in the trade paper Daily Variety that the studio and Stigwood parted over the project's anticipated $29-million cost.

In some film-industry quarters, the move by Disney was seen as evidence that Disney Studios Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg intended to make good on his vow of film-budget austerity urged in an internal memo that became the subject of widespread coverage and gossip.

Dropping of the project also was considered by some observers to reflect the poor performance to date of the young Hollywood Pictures division. The division has been searching for a substantial hit since it jumped into the marketplace last summer with the modest performance of "Arachnophobia."

Although Disney was mum, a spokesman for Stigwood, reached in New York, confirmed that "Evita is in turnaround," a film industry term for a project a studio wants to put on the open market.

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