'Primary Colors' creators having second thoughts

January 26, 1998|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

HOLLYWOOD -- The film "Primary Colors" seemed destined for success.

Set to open March 20, the comedy-drama, based on the best seller by the political columnist Joe Klein, casts John Travolta as a roguish and progressive southern governor with a roving eye for women, Emma Thompson as his powerful and ambitious wife, Billy Bob Thornton as a James Carville-like associate and Kathy Bates as a longtime aide who knows where all the bodies are buried. It was directed and produced by Mike Nichols and adapted by his former comedy partner, Elaine May.

The early signs on the film were strong. An audience at an early test screening in a theater in Ridgefield, N.J., gave the film very high marks.

Yet in the past few days, Universal officials have almost -- but not quite -- been in the same crisis mode as those at the White House.

What deeply concerns Universal executives and Nichols -- and what fascinates Hollywood -- is the impact of the current White House crisis on a movie that has an almost eerie resemblance to real life. In fact, Travolta is made up to look and sound just like President Clinton.

Pub Date: 1/26/98

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