Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Once Is Enough Many Actors Are Opting out of Roles in Summer Sequels

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Once Is Enough Many Actors Are Opting out of Roles in Summer Sequels

Article excerpt

IF A NUMBER following a movie title is cause for caution, then the absence of the original movie's star in the sequel is often cause for alarm.

Can "Speed 2" (opening next Friday) take off without Keanu Reeves?

Will "Home Alone 3" sell without Macaulay Culkin? These vanishing acts performed by actors happen for many reasons - salary disputes, availability problems, personality clashes. But they often appear to viewers as a signal that someone in the know was smelling a dud from way off. In several film sequels due out this summer, one or more of the main stars from the original hit has chosen not to sign on for part two, or three or four. They include: "Speed 2: Cruise Control." This sequel is riding on without the macho mono-emotion acting of heartthrob Reeves; he was allegedly busy touring with his band, Dogstar. Instead, Jason Patric, last seen in "Sleepers," will be helping plucky Sandra Bullock foil yet another dastardly attempt at transportation terrorism - this time on an ocean liner. "Batman and Robin." By this time everybody knows that the fourth Batman installment will feature George Clooney behind that black mask, since Val Kilmer bowed out in order to honor other acting commitments. "The Lost World." Although most of the acting crew is gone (they were, reportedly, never written into the new script), this sequel to "Jurassic Park" has held on to its biggest star - Steven Spielberg. On the other side of the camera, the only major actor back is Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm, the mathematician whose necessity in a dinosaur park never seemed very well explained in the first place. "Mortal Kombat 2." This film version of the humongously popular video game is back, but without Christopher Lambert or much of the rest of the p revious cast. Fans of Talisa Soto will be happy to hear that the model is reprising her role as the 10,000-year-old Princess Kitana. "Home Alone 3." This follow-up to the first two violence-packed comedies was supposed to open this summer without Macaulay "I'm too old for this" Culkin, but is now slated for a December release. It's a sequel worth noting as Alex D. Linz, Culkin's successor, will try to fill some of the biggest kid-sized shoes in movie history. Just because these films were stiffed by the original stars doesn't necessarily mean they are going to be any worse than the sequels that were able to keep the cast intact. Jason James Richter, for instance, might have done well to take a cue from Culkin and jump ship on this summer's "Free Willy 3," seeing as the kid-with-the-pet genre starts losing its cuteness when the "kid" hits his late teens. It was bad enough when Richter was using his large, shiny friend to score babes in "Free Willy 2," but this third whale ride is starting to border on the cruel and unusual. So, should some actor's seeming lack of confidence in the film color our expectations of its worth before seeing it? …

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