GOOD MORNING: Arsenio Hall, calling himself “a three-year rookie,” following last week’s bombastic brush with President Bush, happily told me of his hefty, non-political plans. He will make a couple of treks to South Africa next month. He exec produces Par’s “Bopha” (gets a new title), which starts filming under director Morgan Freeman this week, with Danny Glover, Alfre Woodard and Malcolm McDowell. Although it tells about the death squads, Hall says it’s mostly the relationship between a father and son. He is also busy in post-production on the video “Time Out” (the true story of AIDS and the HIV virus), with Magic Johnson, which will hopefully be on the stalls in a couple of weeks. Hall assures, “If someone can’t afford to buy it–we’ll give it to him.” The cast already includes Tom Cruise, Paul Rodriguez, Jasmine Guy, Paula Abdul, Luke Perry, sports stars, music groups–and Sinbad, playing a condom (voice) in a drugstore rack. “We’re trying to get across the serious message from doctors and experts through the famous and funny.” And talking famous, Hall, who has Madonna as his guest tomorrow and Elizabeth Taylor last week, admits of La Taylor, “It was very intimidating. She almost hampered my performance from the moment she hit the couch!” Since Hall asks his superstar guests who their best friend is, I turned the tables on him. His best friends: “Probably the ladies I work with on the show. If the show ended tomorrow, I’d still talk to those people every day” I asked what Hall thought of the new “Tonight Show” with Jay Leno: “A great band–I’m a great jazz fan,” said Arsenio. … And talking music, Jerry Weintraub takes his “Pure Country” from Fort Worth to the Mirage in Las Vegas this week to wind the $10 million WB country music movie. How’s he bringing it in for that price? “Because I do it for love,” he laughed. As for George Strait, Jerry sez, “He’s the return of (a singing) Alan Ladd.” Next Weintraub movie is the “Conn. Yankee in King Arthur’s Court,” with Terry Gilliam at the helm. Weintraub adds that he and attorney Shelley Abend acquired the Damon Runyon library two months ago–includes “The Idyll of Sara Brown,” from which “Guys and Dolls” was born. So don’t be surprised if the duo, plus Jo Sullivan (Mrs. Frank) Loesser, team on the remake of the movie.
HOW A MOVIE IS BORN–mebbe: JoBeth Williams and Linda Yellen were talking at a party recently and as a result of the conversation they, plus Jill Eikenberry, Talia Shire, Lindsay Crouse, Ally Sheedy, Helen Slater and Martha Plimpton, hie to Sundance for a week to ad-lib conversations about: a birthday party, pre-wedding party and–funeral. “And we hope to come up with a script out of it, ” says Williams, who reminds that “Desert Bloom” was born in Sundance. Showtime is one of the backers of the octet confab. Last week, Williams wound “Who Speaks for Jonathan?,” a Gross-Weston/Cannell telepic for NBC. Three Down’s syndrome youngsters were used–including “Life Goes On’s” Chris Burke. Williams says, “I was blown away by the wonderful way they handled the emotional scenes.” Their real-life counterparts visited the set where George Kaczender directed the highly emotional true story. … And from Auckland, New Zealand, Jon Voight told me the real-life players from his currently filming “Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior” (the Greenpeace ship that defied nuclear South Pacific testing) also visited the rebuilt ship-movie set of the ABC Video/Ten Four-Bonny Dore production. Voight, a supporter of Greenpeace, reminds, during these days of the Earth Summit, “Nuclear testing is the No. 1 contaminator–nuclear waste knows no bounds.” Voight reports that the New Zealanders have been very supportive of the story about the French Secret Police action. And the thesp says there is also French financing in the pic. He next heads to Russia and 21st Century’s “Crime and Punishment.” … Casey Kasem’s invited back to Moscow to again m.c. a Children of Chernobyl rock concert. He said 50,000 stood at the foot of Red Square for six hours at the first event earlier this month. Casey insists the Russians don’t want nuclear weapons. Next for Kasem is a tape/book on “Nutrition for the ’90s.”
NORMAN BROKAW celebrates his 50th anni with the William Morris Agency July 7. … Glen Campbell is off on his 25th-anni tour in the British Isles under the aegis of Jeffrey Kruger and the Kruger Org. Campbell tapes a Royal Festival Hall concert noting his silver anni. … Jack Valenti, in town to deliver last Saturday’s commencement address for the UCLA School of Theater, Film and TV, returned to D.C. to renew his efforts on behalf of the MPAA to “bring our government to bear on those governments who try to put restrictions on us (the American film industry), and to put restrictions on them in return.” He reminds that those foreign restrictions will mean the dramatic loss of jobs in Hollywood. … The never-filmed Carl Foreman “Mistress M” script is being rewritten by Peter Elkoff , who dined with Judy Kaufman at Dan Tana’s, talking the Dolphin Prods. Project. … Fran Muir chairs, Gail Newman and Sally Raab co-chair tomorrow’s Club 100 tribute at the Four Season toasting eight showbiz artists. … Dyan Cannon’s spokesperson for the Calif. Special Olympics, June 19-21 at UCLA. … Bill Shoemaker receives the lifetime achievement nod from the Victor Awards June 20 at the Vegas Hilton. … I’m off to look in on showbiz action overseas and will be back in a few weeks.