Heidi's ex-beau gets plush TV deal for couple's story JTC

August 29, 1993|By Frank Swertlow | Frank Swertlow,Los Angeles Daily News

LOS ANGELES -- The tabloid world of Heidi Fleiss, Hollywood's accused all-star madam, is being readied for the small screen, but she won't cash in on this project. Her former boyfriend will.

Director Ivan Nagy, who was charged with pandering and released on bail, made a "six-figure" deal Friday with producer Larry Thompson for the rights to his romance and relationship with Ms. Fleiss. Mr. Thompson, who confirmed the deal Tuesday, said Mr. Nagy might direct his own story. The film would be for television, he said.

Mr. Nagy's deal is the first of what could be many that emerge from this saga of illicit sex among some of Hollywood's biggest players. Ms. Fleiss has said she would sell her story to a publisher for $1 million. A studio executive was reported to have offered her $300,000 for the movie rights. Penthouse magazine has offered Ms. Fleiss a $2 million deal to pose and tell her story.

Mr. Thompson said he outbid several other producers. He may have had the inside track in the race to get the deal because he produced the 1986 NBC movie "Intimate Encounters," which Mr. Nagy directed.

"In the course of a year, few stories gained the popular appeal that Heidi has," Mr. Thompson said, adding that Mr. Nagy would not write the screenplay.

L Mr. Thompson called Mr. Nagy's tale one of sexual obsession.

"This is Heidi's story seen through the eyes of Nagy," Mr. Thompson said. "It is a very intriguing and complicated obsessive love story with this unique backdrop. It's the story of an older man who finds out about his girlfriend and still can't live without her."

Despite Hollywood and the media speculating about who is on Ms. Fleiss' all-star client list, Mr. Thompson said his film will "not name names." He added, "I am interested in explaining this twisted drama between these two people."

Mr. Thompson, who has never met Ms. Fleiss, said he would like Nicollette Sheridan to play her and James Woods to play Mr. Nagy. He said he plans to begin trying to sell the project to a TV network soon.

Mr. Thompson, whose TV biographies have included profiles of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, said his film will go beyond what is currently being published about Ms. Fleiss and Mr. Nagy and deal with "the story that led up to it, how they met and what learned about each other. They experienced a unique love relationship in a world that none of us have ever seen."

Mr. Thompson's next film "Broken Promises," airs on CBS Oct. 3 and stars Cheryl Ladd in a tale about a couple who adopt a child from a homeless couple. It, too, is based on a true story.

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