> Friday April 14 5:46 PM ET=20
> Stay Tuned for 'Elian, the Movie' -- Coming Soon
> By Sue Zeidler
> LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - He survived a doomed sea voyage that killed his
> mother. Now, young Elian Gonzalez must face the sharks of Hollywood, where
> producers are already working on a television movie about the young Cuban
> exile who has become a pawn in a major international feud.
> ``The movie is in development for next season,'' said Nancy Carr,
> spokeswoman for CBS, adding that Los Angeles-based Craig Anderson Productions
> was working on the movie.
> Jody Frisch, a spokeswoman for Craig Anderson, said ``It's in early stages
> of development. I don't have a script yet.''
> She added, however, that Rafael Lima, a writer of Cuban descent, had been
> attached to the project. Craig Anderson recently produced a CBS miniseries
> about the supposed relationship between Thomas Jefferson and his slave
> While the boy's fate remained unclear on Friday after a week of tense
> negotiations, industry insiders said his saga was a natural to bring in high
> ratings for a television movie or mini-series.
> CBS said it recently had good success with
> ``Perfect Town, Perfect Murder,'' another movie based on a real-life drama
> about the sensational and as yet unsolved murder of six-year-old beauty queen
> JonBenet Ramsey.
> Elian Gonzalez is already a familiar face for many Americans as his father
> in Cuba and his relatives in Miami wage an emotional, 4 1/2 month battle
> over his custody.
> On Friday, the U.S. government asked a federal court to require the release
> of the boy by his Miami relatives, who earlier this week defied a Justice
> Department order to turn Elian over to his father and an eventual return to
> The tug-of-war over Elian has become a major international news story,
> calling up old animosities between Washington and the communist government
> of Cuban President Fidel Castro and igniting fierce political passions in
> Miami's Cuban-American community.
> The media's role in the tale has already come under criticism, most recently
> on Thursday when numerous broadcasters played a tape of young Elian wagging
> his finger and telling his father ``Papa! I do not want to go to Cuba.''
> Earlier, ABC anchorwoman Diane Sawyer was flayed for a series of interviews
> in March in which the young boy drew a picture of the traumatic shipwreck in
> which his mother died and told Sawyer he wanted to stay in Miami.
> ``He's become a big commodity and his story is a screenwriter's dream. Elian
> may never recover from this experience,'' said child psychologist Robert
> Screenwriter Charles Edward Pogue wondered what a movie could reveal that has
> not already been shown in news accounts of the story, which began
> dramatically with a sea rescue in November off the coast of Florida.
> ``You've seen all the drama on TV and wonder what more can they show you. But
> it (the movie) will probably get good ratings,'' said Pogue, who has written
> such films as ``The Fly'' and ``Dragonheart'' and is a member of the Writers'
> Guild board.
> Other major networks ABC and NBC said they had no current plans for a
> television movie. But NBC spokeswoman Shirley Powell said it was not unusual
> for certain stories to inspire movies from two different networks.
> ``Different networks in the past have covered the same subject matter, but
> NBC is not currently working on this,'' Powell said.
> CBS Corp. is currently in the process of merging with media conglomerate
> Viacom Inc. ABC is a unit of The Walt Disney Co. and NBC is a unit of General
> Electric Co.
> (Los Angeles bureau, 213-380-2014)