WB to give Capra’s ‘Mr. Smith’ sex change

GOOD MORNING after the primaries: Now for an upcoming movie candidate–“Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington.” WB and Freddie Fields are readying a contemporary version of the Frank Capra classic (“Mr. Smith”) to start filming around the inauguration, ’93. This time, all contemporary political issues will be story-lined in the femme senatorial race. Fields scored a coup by setting Pulitzer-Oscar winner Alfred Uhry to screenplay and he wants to reteam him with Uhry’s “Driving Miss Daisy” director Bruce Beresford. The story’s about the senatorial daughter of Jefferson Smith–latter played by Jimmy Stewart in the 1939 Columbia movie, which also starred Jean Arthur, Claude Rains and those great character actors Edward Arnold, Guy Kibbe, Thomas Mitchell, Eugene Pallette, Beulah Bondi, H.B. Warner and Harry Carey. It was of course multi-Oscar nominated–but that year 10 films were nominated and the list was led by winner “GWTW.” In case you wonder about the other eight–“Dark Victory, “”Goodbye Mr. Chips,””Love Affair,””Ninotchka,””Of Mice and Men,””Stagecoach, “”Wizard of Oz” and “Wuthering Heights.” Whatta year for movie magic Fields also goes international with his “Small Wonder,” set in a toy factory in Nuremberg. He’s completing his deal with the Playmobile Co., which is also involved in the merchandising. Fields says, “It’s a fantasy which kids will want to see 100 times.” Reminded of 20th’s upcoming “Toys” also set in a toy factory and starring Robin Williams from the team of Barry Levinson and MarkJohnson, Fields said, “Our movie is quite different.” He has another film in development in Germany and two in France. He has been developing the films for a year and a half and has eight of 16 scripts “coming to a pin head.” He hasn’t made a film since “Glory,” admitting, “I don’t want to do crap.”

BILL CLINTON GUESTS with Arsenio Hall tonight and when I asked Arsenio, “What about asking the others?” He smiled, “I’d like to have any of the other Presidential candidates.” But it’s doubtful any of them can play the sax–as it’s planned for Clinton to toot tonight. Arsenio said, “I wanted to have Bill Clinton and Kenny G on the same show but Kenny just got married and couldn’t be here. So I got Bill C!” Arsenio noted that Clinton “has always been interviewed by political analysts, never by someone from the neighborhood, I’m just the common man.” And talking about neighborhoods–Arsenio is one of the many who wish to be involved in our H.O.P.E. program utilizing studio space and its artisans to give deserving and deprived youngsters incentives and hope for their future. “I’d open up Stage 29,” Arsenio said, “to let the kids see, from the start of a show to the finish–the lighting required, the set-building, the hairdressers, the costumes, etc.” Illustrating the opportunities for job futures , Hall said, “I spent a year looking for a hairdresser to do my hair. If there was a young, black hairdresser, he (she) could have had the job.” Hall added, “And in three minutes, Eddie Murphy will also have them (youngsters) on the set of his ‘Distinguished Gentleman’ (to similarly observe trade futures there as well). … From France, Norman Lear paid for Murray Korda and his Monseigneur Strings to birthday-serenade Geoffrey Cowan–who was partying with Bill Clinton at the Cowan home. Korda fiddled “Arkansas Traveler,””Just Plain Bill,” and “Happy Days Are Here Again.” … CAA’s ranks swelled this week with the promotion of five agents– and their areas of responsibility: Michael Wright, TV movies and minis; Carin Kligman, literary, movies; George Klein, working with the Coca-Cola Co. and other special related areas; Lisa Wong, movie talent; and Ruth Ann Coltin, B’way and all legits.

YESTERDAY, ANDY WILLIAMS presented a check for $40,130 to College of the Ozarks’ Pres. Jerry C. Davis. The dough, for the school’s summer camp program for kids, was from Williams’ opening night at his new Moon River Theatre in Branson, Mo. Maria Conchita Alonso raised $100,000 for Guadalajara’s explosion victims with her one-woman show in that city. Friday she performs and hosts (with Lorenzo Lamas) Nosotros’ Golden Eagle Awards at the BevHilton Milton Berle, at the Comedy Store to applaud comic Jackie Diamond–got on stage and did his act as well for the doubly-pleased audience. … Katherine Kelly Lang, star of “The Bold and the Beautiful,” hosts the Miss Europe Pageant in Greece–where she can’t go anywhere without security as she’s an enormous favorite. Last time there, she had to don a black wig to get out of her hotel. She has a slightly different look this year as she’s four and a half months pregnant. Nevertheless, she follows Greece with the N.Y. Daytime Emmys as a presenter. … Director Joan Micklin Silver, who devoted the last year to the legit “‘A,’ My Name Is Alice” on the Old Globe boards in San Diego and HBO’s “A Private Matter,” will take a rest, soon as the cabler airs June 20. She expects some flack from the pro-lifers on “Private Matter” which tells the true story of Sherri Chessen Finkbine’s journey to Sweden to obtain an abortion when she was denied that choice after learning the dangers of having taken the drug thalidomide. Sissy Spacek stars in the Longbow Prod. Ronnie Clemmer, Bill Pace and Sydney Pollack are exec producers. Pace and Clemmer also co-produce the bigscreen femme baseballer “A League of Their Own.”

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