John Waters always bases his films in Baltimore, has already made a film about a teen dance show, is hardly the kind of guy who'd stage a press conference at Planet Hollywood and has never met a would-be screenwriter named Ben Castro.
So what was Castro doing at the New Orleans Planet Hollywood last month, announcing that his screenplay, "Electric Carousel: The Movie," about the rise and fall of a New Orleans dance show, would be made into a film starring Judd Nelson and directed by Baltimore's favorite cult film director? Lying, apparently.
Thirteen days after the press conference, on the same day a story in the New Orleans Times-Picayune quoted Waters as saying, "as much as I'd love to make a movie in New Orleans, I'd never make a movie with such a tacky title as 'Electric Carousel,' " Castro came clean. He'd made the whole thing up.
"Inspired by the movie 'Field of Dreams' and the phrase, 'build it and they will come,' " Castro wrote in a mea culpa press release, "I promoted [the film] with my intended star and director. I felt completely confident that once we secured financing, they would be more than happy to be in 'Electric Carousel: The Movie.' Somehow, that didn't pan out."
Since then, Castro, who until October had been serving time in a Louisiana jail for forgery and writing bad checks, apparently has disappeared: Calls to the two numbers listed for his production company, Alamar Entertainment, lead only to a disconnected phone and a woman who says there's no Mr. Castro there.
Waters, for his part, has handed over the matter to his lawyers. For the moment, he gets a chuckle out the whole thing.
"It was the worst idea, a dance film set in New Orleans," he said, noting he has enough trouble raising money for his own films, much less lending his name to others. "Using my name to try and raise money for a movie, that's a new one. Maybe I should take that story to Hollywood next time I go."
Still, he admires Castro's chutzpah, if not his ideas.
"I wonder if he was going to draw on a mustache and direct the movie himself?" Waters said.
Pub Date: 12/11/96