Basic Instinct

Proving that life can imitate movies, Christopher Reeve is living up to his Superman alter ego. Reeve, who was paralyzed in a horse-riding accident in May 1995, is set to make his directorial debut with In the Gloaming, a one-hour HBO movie about a man with end-stage AIDS who returns home to live with his parents. The film, scheduled to premiere next year, is based on a New Yorker short story by Alice Elliot Dark that shows how the son grows closer to his parents as he approaches death. "I am struck by [Reeve's] instinctive understanding of the material," says Bob Cooper, president of HBO Pictures. "I know he'll bring his dramatic and cinematic sensibilities to bear in this first project as director."

Sharin' Stonewall

For Nigel Finch, the swan song comes more than a year after his death from AIDS. Finch's film Stonewall, released in late July, is an apt culmination for the director who felt passionately about the fight for gay rights. Finch, well-known for directing the gay classic The Lost Language of Cranes, began work on Stonewall in 1993 just days after he bought the film rights to Martin Duberman's book on the 1969 gay uprising. Crew members report that Finch, always open about his HIV status, had seemed vigorous but fell gravely ill just as the film's final frames were shot. Editing equipment was moved to the director's home in London. Finch, who still worked several hours a day on the movie, was supervising the final cut when he died on Valentine's Day, 1995. "Nigel was seeing the fulfillment of a lifelong dream," said Stonewall producer Christine Vachon. "He brought a palpable ebullience to the set everyday that was contagious."