Movie Notes: 'Apes' Running Late

Talk about going down to the wire. Twentieth Century Fox's new Planet of the Apes movie is due to hit theaters a week from Friday, but it still isn't finished.

Director Tim Burton and company are still working on various special effects and editing touches. This all means that the movie's publicity plans are all but ruined, and even Reebok execs are sweating bullets over their $100 million ad campaign, which is banking on next week's opening.

The new version stars Mark Wahlberg and Helena Bonham Carter. Charlton Heston, who starred in the original, has a cameo. But alas, the late great Roddy McDowall isn't around to reprise any of his roles (he played Dr. Cornelius and Caesar in the films, and Galen on the TV series).

Third Time the Charm?

They say familiarity breeds contempt, but the stars of Jurassic Park III insist there's nothing ho-hum about the third installment in the dinosaur adventure series.

Sam Neill, who reprises his role as paleontologist Alan Grant from the first film, says director Joe Johnston warned him that JP III wouldn't be a walk in the park.

"Joe said rather ominously that this going to be the most physical thing you've ever done, and it was — big time," said Neill.

During shooting, the actors were determined to make the film outshine its two predecessors. "The only thing in your mind, really, [was] OK, there was the first one and then there was the second one and you really want to make it the best one," said co-star Téa Leoni.

And William H. Macy promises the dinosaurs are bigger and badder than ever. "I was astounded every day by the work that the men and women on this thing did. This is the best of the best, doing better than they've ever done."

Jurassic Park III opens nationwide today.

When Billy Met Meg …

What happens when the romantic couple everyone loves to watch on screen can't stand each other in real life?

That's the conceit behind America's Sweethearts, which opens this weekend. It stars John Cusack and Catherine Zeta-Jones as married megastars who are now estranged, and Julia Roberts as Zeta-Jones' sister and personal assistant, who finds herself getting friendly with Cusack.

Billy Crystal, who co-wrote the script and co-stars as a press agent, says the idea actually originated with another movie — When Harry Met Sally. An Italian journalist, impressed by Crystal's chemistry with co-star Meg Ryan, said it was a shame that the two had no plans to do another film together.

"He kept saying, 'You're America's sweethearts, why you do not more movies? I want to see you together more,'" Crystal recalled Thursday night at the premiere of America's Sweethearts.

"So I kept thinkin', 'What if we were and we did five or six of those, and then something happened?' … I said, 'What if that happend to a couple and they had to come together, and where they would come together would be the junket."

Sopranos on the Silver Screen?

The Sopranos has been a great success for HBO. So why not take Tony and his extended crime family to the big screen?

That's what actor Jerry Adler wants series creator and producer David Chase to do. He says the whole cast is urging Chase to make a Sopranos movie.

"Everybody's been pushing for it," said Adler, "Everybody's afraid of getting whacked. If you get whacked now, you're not gonna be in the movie!"

Adler, who plays Tony Soprano's father's best friend, Herman "Hesh" Rabkin, says if a Sopranos movie is made, it would probably be a prequel. "I guess they would do the whole family history, I suppose. I assume that it would be like Godfather Two, Three and Four all put together."

ABCNEWS Radio contributed to this report.

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