Originally conceived as an Oscar hopeful BRIAN DE PALMA’s TOOTSIE 2: THE REVENGE OF DOROTHY MICHAELS, after several disastrous test screenings and a multitude of release date changes, is finally heading straight to DVD in early June. This is a giant step backward for a 200 million dollar production once poised to go head to head with JAMES CAMERON’s AVATAR in theaters. “The plug needs to be pulled on this abomination,” says an insider, “any money spent advertising this doorway into hell is going right down the toilet.”
TOOTSIE 2 has been a lightening rod for turmoil ever since its inception. The original script by JEFF BUHAI (REVENGE OF THE NERDS, EDDIE) was strong enough to lure the once resistant, high-priced talents of DUSTIN HOFFMAN and JESSICA LANGE to return to their roles. For reasons only known to DE PALMA that script was scrapped at the last minute in favor of an overhauled version by DAVID SELF (1999’s THE HAUNTING), which eliminated comedic elements in favor of direction that was more in line with a psychological thriller. LANGE unhappy with the new direction bowed out, her only official statement being, “There’s not enough money in the world,” and was replaced by frequent DE PALMA collaborator MELANIE GRIFFITH.
SELF’s script was eventually leaked onto the Internet and greeted with fan outrage. The story finds the popular character of Michael Dorsey decades after the events of the original TOOTSIE. Although the still-working actor has enjoyed a small amount of success on a prime time drama called “Higgon’s Point,” its cancellation has left him grief stricken. “It’s harder for actors of a certain age to find quality roles,” reveals HOFFMAN in an exclusive Kindertrauma all-access, on-set interview, “TOOTSIE 2 confronts that reality head on.” Learning in the local trades of a plum part in a Broadway production of IBSEN’s A DOLLS HOUSE, Dorsey auditions only to be rejected on sight. After a bit of sleuthing he learns from a stagehand that the role of “Nora” is only being offered to actors of the female persuasion. “That’s when the spirit of Dorothy begins to speak to me again,” confides HOFFMAN. “That’s how she gets inside my head!” (As if to illustrate, HOFFMAN bangs his head into a craft services table repeatedly.)
Suddenly every actress who is up for the role is being murdered by a shadowy trench coat wearing, flame-haired figure with a straight razor. Terror hits even closer to home when Michael’s wife Julie (GRIFFITH) reveals that she too has her eye on the part. Has Michael’s alter ego “Dorothy” returned to kill all who stand in his way? “I can’t tell you that!” says HOFFMAN, “but I can tell you that Dorothy is alive and well and living inside Michael, whether she’s a crazed, blood thirsty killer or just a friendly entity on hand to help solve the riddle is the film’s big mystery!” GRIFFITH is equally tight lipped. “I’m not in the end of the movie!” she says, “That much I remember.”
The roster of victims in TOOTSIE 2 reads like an Oscar Who’s Who: MARISA TOMEI, MIRA SORVINO, HALLE BERRY and HUNTs LINDA and HELEN all fall prey to the figure crew members have dubbed “the wig.” Word has it that TOMEI’s death is particularly gruesome. “BRIAN’s plan was to outdo HITCHCOCK,” says TOMEI chewing on what could either be a soft pretzel or a knish. “Only instead of a shower,” she continued, “he’d use a bidet. Although seen by a precious few, TOMEI’s bidet death has already garnered much attention, it is claimed that DE PALMA shot over four hundred hours of footage for the three minute scene. “Sometimes a director can fool the audience by killing off his biggest star right off the bat, the audience is like, ‘Wow, now who am I supposed to care about?’” TOMEI plops the last morsel of whatever it was she was eating (an Egg McMuffin?) and smiles mischievously, “I’m not allowed to tell you if that’s what happens in THE TOOTSIES (sic) but I will say that my fans better bring plenty of Kleenex!”
Ultimately no amount of high wattage star power seems likely to save TOOTSIE 2 from its straight to DVD fate. Five alternative endings were filmed and all were greeted with equal amounts of disdain from preview audiences. “I’ve never seen a film that doesn’t involve WILL FERRELL score this low,” said one insider. “I’d call it a train wreck but that would imply that it once had the power to function.” Somehow DE PALMA is able to stay optimistic, “We’ve still got a couple weeks to turn this decision around, Michael’s inner Dorothy wouldn’t let him give up and let me tell you my inner Dorothy, who I refer to simply as “Dot”, is equally willful. We’ haven’t even tried this thing in 3-D yet, that will be the true test!”
HOFFMAN who is a credited producer and is currently writing a comic book tie in that will fill in Dorothy’s “lost years” between the two films agrees. “As an actor you know when a character has outlived their welcome and I don’t see that ever happening with Dorothy. I’ve made sure that each and every ending we’ve filmed whether on the Earth or on the moon includes a shot of her hand coming up from the grave.” When asked what direction he sees the franchise going in the future Hoffman offers up this Kindertrauma exclusive. “I’m talking to JULIE ANDREWS right now about returning to the role of Victor from VICTOR VICTORIA, people have been asking me for years, who would win in a fight, Dorothy or Victor? If I have my way, we’re all going to find out!”