Waiter, There’s a Bankable Star in My Soup

You’ve devoured their movies. You’ve swallowed their hype. Now eat their food. Welcome to the megabuck world of Planet Hollywood.

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  1. It sounds like one amazing project: you've got Arnold Terminator Schwarzenegger and Bruce Die Hard Willis, plus director John Home Alone Hughes, producer Keith Sophie's Choice Barish, designer Anton Batman Furst, and publicist Bobby Dances with Wolves Zarem.

    And, um, Robert Pastamania Earl.

    If it walks like a movie and quacks like a movie, it's usually a movie, and sometimes it's Howard the Duck, but in this case it's a bunch of cool movie guys who're opening a restaurant where you can eat turkeyburgers and feel like cool movie guys. "But it's like making a movie," Keith Barish says of creating the $15 million Planet Hollywood restaurant, which opens this month on Manhattan's touristy Fifty-seventh Street. "You have a script that's continually rewritten, you have stars, a director, a production designer, and then, hopefully, a big audience. And our patrons will have that blockbuster experience." Not to be confused with indigestion.

    The California-cuisine restaurant has a vertical swimming-pool effect and a beach trompe l'oeil—it's supposed to feel like a Hollywood veranda. A very Hollywood veranda: James Dean's motorcycle from Rebel Without a Cause, Elvis's motorcycle, and Schwarzenegger's motorcycle from Terminator 2 hang in the air, the lamps resemble Marilyn Monroe's legs, and movie screens drop six times an hour so diners can watch a Three Stooges pie fight or a montage of famous movie lines ("You was my brother, Charlie" / "We'll always have Paris" / "Fuck you, asshol...

Originally published in Esquire, September 1991