GOOD MORNING and au revoir to Paris, which saluted our 4th of July last Saturday and is now readying for its grand celebration of the 14th of July (Bastille Day). The Champs Elysees is already being lined with freshly sawed stands and soldiers plus gendarmes are limiting nighttime traffic around the brilliantly lighted Place de la Concorde where reviewing stands are being painted and festooned for the VIPs. Of course this year there is a new feeling to the question of displaying military might as the E.C. debates and differences deepen. But none of this dampens the ardor the French have for Paris. The city is particularly sparkling this year with more buildings cleaned, sporting new gilt on many familiar landmarks. For instance the dome on Napoleon’s tomb at Les Invalides shines in the brilliant summer sun and dramatic nighttime lighting. Even the statue of Joan of Arc on the Rue de Rivoli has gotten a new coat of gold. … Hollywood is represented here by several working companies plus Hollywood Francophiles as well. I spoke with Mickey Rooney, here for a third year filming segs of “The Black Stallion.” It was a rare moment, catching Mickey when he was not up to his usual enthusiasm. He was suffering from the flu, he told me, as he rested in the apartment he uses regularly here. He had been locationing at the giant Charles de Gaulle airport, the hub for most of the international flights in and out of Paris. (Orly airport, which also handles heavy U.S. carrier business, will undergo expansion as air traffic to Paris is increasing with the rate wars.) Rooney told me he has five more “Stallion” segs to shoot in Paris–in only 4 1/2 weeks. “The French are wonderful to work with,” Mickey told me, admitting he still doesn’t speak any French–but they sure know and understand him. They’ll shoot the remaining segs in New Zealand where he heads Aug. 26, winding in December. He then plans to star in and direct the feature “Judge Stone and Family” for New Line, followed by the “Boys’ Town” series.
ALSO FILMING here in Paris was Martin Scorsese and “The Age of Innocence” troupe with Daniel Day Lewis, who according to one caller to my room at the Ritz , travels under the pseudonym of “Mr. Archerd.” And the caller wouldn’t believe I wasn’t Daniel Day Lewis! The “Innocence” troupe had locationed at the Louvre, no less. … Elliott Kastner winged to Paris from London for a day, dealing with French distributors on his docu about U.S. presidential candidates. … Hollywoodites arriving this week include the Irwin Winklers–they have a large flat on the Left Bank–and the Bill Habers, who commute to their apartment in Paris and their chateau in the Loire region. … Paris residents Emmanuelle and Roman Polanski are awaiting the arrival of their first child early next year. She has not been feeling well in this early stage. Polanski’s beautiful apartment(s) look out at the Eiffel Tower, which seems even brighter these summer nights Newly arrived at their Paris apartment are Diane Lane and Christopher Lambert. They’ve had a busy year, she with three movies coming out–“My New Gun,””Charlie” and “Knight Moves” with Lambert. He also stars in 20th’s “The Gunman.” They flew here from their Stateside home in Santa Fe.
ONE OF OUR FINAL EVENINGS in Paris was spent at the home of Line Renaud and her composer husband Lulu Gaste. Line was celebrating her birthday and she was surrounded by many of France’s top creative talents, including Michele Leeb (France’s No. 1 comedian), comedienne Muriel Robin, screenwriter Pierre Palmade, Josiane Balasko, Catherine Lara (“Call Me George”) and the visiting Veronica and Ernie Chambers. Veronica was en route to the Chambers’ home in the Dordogne section of Southwest France. Ernie was here talking distribution of his new cartoon series to be filmed in Spain. He returns home to L.A., where he’s added another feature to his sked, “Private Dick” (no kidding!), while also readying the WB start of the live-action “Dennis the Menace” with Nick Castle directing Walter Matthau, Joan Plowright and Christopher Lloyd. The search goes on for Dennis. Chambers also has a CBS after-school spec, “One Special Friend.” Veronica’s partners look after “Forever Plaid” at the Canon during her vacation. “Forever’s” booked through the rest of the year.
HEADING HOME with us from Paris on our flight to New York was Martin Starger who had been busy in the south of France. Like us, Starger had caught Diana Ross at the Sporting Club in Monte Carlo. He reminded it was 10 years ago he urged Ross to do a Josephine Baker biopic. Now that HBO’s had such success with its “Baker” movie starring Lynn Whitfield, he advised Ross to forget about her project. In N.Y., Starger meets with “Love Letters” playwright Pete Gurney who is writing the screenplay for the Columbia feature. The two-character play will have two sets of movie players — teenage and adult, the latter duo in 80% of the movie. One possible casting Starger would like is — Michelle Pfeiffer and mebbe Mike Nichols to direct. While in N.Y. Starger also meets on the legit musical “Red Shoes,” in the works several years with composer Jule Styne. And now we too are heading home and will be back in this space on Thursday, from Hollywood.