'Salman is wonderfully supportive'
Director Willard Carroll on his unusual Hollywood musical, Marigold
Arthur J Pais 2002 Sep 3 Rediff com

Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Britney Spears? Speculations continue about Salman Khan's heroine in Marigold, says director Willard Carroll with a chuckle.

He won't even whisper which actress he is considering for his "Hollywood movie set in Bollywood."

"We do business in Hollywood a little differently from Bollywood," he explains. "Discretion is very, very important here." The likes of Paltrow may get $5 million to $8 million for big budget movies. But from time to time, they slash their fee if they are seduced by an interesting project.
Carroll's last film Playing By Heart had an ensemble cast of veterans and newer artistes, including Sean Connery, Angelina Jolie, Ellen Burstyn and Gena Rowlands. He says he is looking for an actress in the late 20s "who loves to sings and dance."

The new movie revolves around "an arrogant American movie actress who falls in love with an Indian choreographer in Bollywood," he says. The journey of her transformation will be told with humour, drama and emotion. "Can there be a film set in India that has no romance and wonderful songs?" he asks.
Marigold, with Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's music, will have at least two English songs, in addition to five Hindi numbers. "This will be an unusual musical for Hollywood," Carroll, who has written for television and movies for over two decades, produced over a dozen and directed a handful of movies, continues.

Well-made films with ethnic background can do good business worldwide, he states. My Big Fat Greek Wedding, for instance, is a movie set in Chicago, that cost $3.5 million to $5 million has grossed about $70 million in North America and is headed for a giddy $100 million.
"They hardly make musicals in Hollywood," claims Carroll. "What we are offering here [Marigold] is a genuine and original Hollywood musical in many years." Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge, which had a successful run two years ago and grossed about $120 million worldwide, reworked old music, Carroll points out. Ditto for the upcoming Chicago, based on a 15-year-old Broadway musical, which was successfully revised two years ago.

Carroll doesn't consider Marigold a low budget movie, even by Hollywood standards. If the movie were to be made in America, it would cost far more than its current budget. Moulin Rouge was made at $50 million and Chicago costs about the same.
Carroll, who began watching popular Hindi movies for the first time when he was in Chennai about two years ago to attend a movie industry meeting, says he became addicted to the song-and-dance spectacles, including Chori Chori Chupke Chupke.
"I like a lot of young actors in Bollywood," he continues. "But I found Salman particularly interesting. And I feel he has the right material to be in the lead in a cross-cultural film."
He has by now seen over 100 Hindi movies.

Playing By Heart, released in America by Miramax in December for the Oscar qualifying run, didn't light up the box-office. It made about $4 million in North America and Britain. While many reviews were downbeat, some critics like Los Angeles Times praised the film for dealing with sensitivity the subject of marital fidelity and bond between partners.
Work on Marigold is expected to start early February next year and will be wrapped up in three months, says Carroll. "Salman has blocked the dates," he continues. "He has been wonderfully cooperative."