Question: A friend of mine says there are two remakes of The Poseidon Adventure (1972) in the works, one for theaters and one for TV. How can that be? It's not like Titanic, where the source is a historical event anybody could draw on. If my friend is right, what gives?


Answer: Your friend is right: A four-hour miniseries version of The Poseidon Adventure is scheduled to air on NBC in November 2005, and Warner Bros. has a theatrical remake called Poseidon due out in 2006. Because neither project is finished, I don't have access to contractual credits, but my guess as to how it happened is that the theatrical version is a remake of the first film and the TV version is an adaptation of the original novel by Paul Gallico. The why is another matter; I can't even begin to say. In any event, the $150 million theatrical version is being directed by Wolfgang Petersen, whose credits include Das Boot (1981) and The Perfect Storm (2000), which means he has experience with the particular rigors of shooting movies that involve ships —shooting on water, whether on location or in a tank, is notoriously difficult. It's currently filming with a cast that includes Kurt Russell, Richard Dreyfuss, ingenue Emmy Rossum, Andre Braugher, Josh Lucas, Mia Maestro and Kevin Dillon. The $20-million TV version, directed by veteran movie-of-the-week helmer John Putch, changes the story slightly: It’s a terrorist bomb rather than a tidal wave that capsizes the luxury liner Poseidon, leaving it inverted in the water. It's already wrapped, and the rather less than A-list cast includes Steve Guttenberg, Rutger Hauer, Bryan Brown, Adam Baldwin, C. Thomas Howell, Sylvia Syms and Peter Weller as "Captain Paul Gallico." In both versions, the characters' names appear to be different from the names of the characters in the original film; I couldn't tell you why.