Caron dances back in time

GOOD MORNING: “It reminds me of what I did with Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire,” Leslie Caron told me after dancing at Madison Ave. and 54th St. for a scene with Patrick Stewart in “Let it Be Me” for Rysher Entertainment. Caron terpsed with Kelly in “An American in Paris” (’51) and with Astaire in “Daddy Long Legs” (’55 ). Caron and Stewart also sing together in this feel-good movie that includes recordings by Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, etc. This is Caron’s first pic back in the U.S. “since I don’t know when. And when they asked me to do it I thought it was a role for Giulietta Masina!” The movie’s directed by Eleanor Bergstein (who wrote “Dirty Dancing”). “This is the first time I’ve been directed by a woman.” Caron says, “I was worried — but I should not have been. I’ve never stopped to say, ‘This is a woman directing me.’ Actually, there’s more complicity”… She and producer David Kirkpatrick are also teaming on a perfume — maybe titled from the pic, “Let it Be Me” or “Angel Tears.” Caron has a friend formulating the fragrance and artist Paolo Guidi creating the bottle “like a jewel.” Caron’s planning to tour the U.S. reading letters and memoirs of George Sand — backed by Chopin music. Caron, the grandmother of three, lives in Paris and in her inn/restaurant in Villeneuve-Sur-Yonne. She hosts, and “I take reservations on the phone,” Caron laughed … Next, a phone call from Thailand and Ray Liotta between scenes with a giant elephant on the location of Buena Vista’s “Dumbo Drop.” The Vietnam War saga tells the personal story of Vietnamese in a small town where their working elephant, a key to the village’s survival, was killed by Communist forces. Green Berets, played by Liotta and Danny Glover find, deliver a new elephant. “Every shot brings out what the war was all about,” Ray says … Vietnam was scouted then nixed for the movie. The present Thai location covers sites, “where it’s so hot I don’t want to know the temperature,” says Liotta. Director Simon Wincer’s training with “Free Willy” comes in handy for the pachyderm pic, Liotta adds. Filming will continue through mid-January — with a 10-day holiday break.

MARILYN MONROE WILL BE on a U.S. commemorative stamp released on her birthday , June 1. Roger Richman, who reps MM’s estate, has been working on it for 10 years. He’s also back from China where he signed a letter of intent with the government for Monroe merchandise. Initial items may include calendars. The Monroe-Chanel perfume commercial first reported here airs in the U.S. Thanksgiving weekend …”NYPD Blue” gets a guestar — transsexual Jahna Steele who was Las Vegas’ “Most Beautiful Showgirl, 1993” and “Entertainer of the Year, 1992.” She films this week in a dramatic role as witness to a crime. She’ll demonstrate, “I’m more than sequins and cleavage.” Lenhoff/Robinson agency’s Dan Pasternack, who set Steele, says she hopes to become a police cadet in the series … At the Laugh Factory, comic Luke Torres was caught by casting directors of the Al Pacino-Robert De Niro “Heat”– for a dramatic role … David Paymer segues from being directed by Robert Redford in “Quiz Show” to being produced by Redford in “An American President” playing an adviser to President Michael Douglas (replacing Redford) and Annette Bening. “President” starts rehearsals next week for a January start with locations in D.C. Douglas will be in Washington for the “Disclosure” press junket first week in Dec. — when he’ll be at the Kennedy Center Honors which include Kirk Douglas as an honoree … Memorial services for Tyrone Power on the 36th anni of his death will be held Tuesday 12:30 at Hollywood Memorial Park. Linda Christian, in from Rome, does the eulogy.

FAKE ISSUES OF LIFE magazine with a gorilla on the cover have been printed for — a scene in “Congo,” the Frank Marshall-directed Par pic based on Michael Crichton’s novel … Bree Walker’s back on CBS breaking a boxing scandal — not on the news but in a seg of CBS’ “Diagnosis Murder” for producers Dean Hargrove, Fred Silverman and Michael Gleason … Michael Rooker joins James Spader and Eric Stoltz in “Keys to Tulsa” and Showtime’s “Johnny and Clyde.” Rooker inked with Alan Iezman and Erike Kritzer for management … Dorothy Lamour will be on American Movie Classics’ Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade float. Bob Hope will also be floating for Macy’s — following his appearance Friday, Veterans Day, at Macy’s where he autographed his tapes. He adds assorted N.Y. appearances for the WWII cassette plus his Christmas album and NBC Christmas special … Jay Leno triple-played for charity over the weekend: at the Michael Jordan foundation in Chicago Sat., Sunday ayem’s Harley-Davidson Love Ride followed by Sunday p.m.’s Wiltern benefit for children of late comedian Dennis Wolfberg.

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