GOOD MORNING: Merry Christmas: a mellow Marlon Brando predicts his recently wound “Island of Dr. Moreau” “could make $500 million.” It would please him no end since he says he’s got 15% of the gross. “Island” was momentarily shipwrecked when, after five-days’ shooting, director Richard Stanley was replaced and John Frankenheimer took over (and reshot those five days). Brando tells me Frankenheimer “is one of the best directors I ever worked with — he gives an actor wonderful latitude.” Frankenheimer returns the compliment: Brando “is the best actor of this generation. I always wanted to work with him. He’s the reason I am in this business — after having seen him in ‘Streetcar Named Desire’ — when I was 19!” In “Moreau,” Frankenheimer got Brando to do some very interesting things — like singing again (remember “Guys and Dolls”?). This time the song’s “Froggie Goes A-Courtin’ ” He also plays the piano, Chopin’s “Polonaise,” duetting with actor Nelson De La Rosa, who, Marlon says, is 18 inches tall and sits atop the piano while Brando plunks. Marlon also notes of “Moreau” makeup by Stan Winston, “I was stunned!” Winston creations include a pig-lady, bear-man, etc. “I laughed so many times I broke up the scenes!” Brando said. He further revealed he loved the ruptured “Divine Rapture”– he hopes the movie can be resuscitated and return to Ireland. “I got one quarter of my salary ,” he said, “but the others (John Hurt, Debra Winger, Johnny Depp and director Thom Eberhardt) went home unpaid.” Brando continues to get many film offers, including the Miami-set “Romeo and Juliet” for 20th starring Leonardo di Caprio and Claire Danes — but he nixed the role of Friar Laurence. Next for the environmentally involved Brando is a trip to Germany to investigate a power-saving photo cell — he’s considering converting his house to the 48-volt power source.
HAPPY HOLIDAY NEWS for Lynn Redgrave, who successfully emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week, thus ending 15 years of litigation, first against MCA/U , then against her Finley Kumble lawyers — the latter themselves declared bankruptcy in 1987. The original Redgrave actions stemmed from being fired from her CBS series “House Calls” in 1981. The ramifications cost her a million-$ in legal fees … And it looks like there will be some different stocking stuffers in Ireland this Christmas. The 1959 (!) ban against Playboy has been lifted. The first issue available there is a complete sellout (10,000 copies) with another 7,500 being rushed over by Hugh O’Hefner … Dave Brubeck (75), who receives the NARAS Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys, is here next week to perform three of his sacred choral works: Wednesday at St. Augustine’s, Santa Monica; Dec. 29 at Bel Air Presbyterian; and Dec. 31 at Immanuel Presbyterian on Wilshire … The incomparable Brubeck then heads to Frankfurt, Vienna, Perugia and Switzerland. On Dec. 6, he celebrated his birthday playing with the London Symphony — which has invited him back — on his 80th birthday. “I feel great,” he told me. “I have no plans to retire.” His new album (Telarc) is titled “Young Lions and Old Tigers.” He’s both … Roger Williams will be playing all 10 Christmas Eve services at the Crystal Cathedral for his 20th year. He wings to Vegas New Year’s Eve for three concerts for the Las Vegas Cultural Arts Center … And Gary LeMel, prez of music, Warner Bros., wings to Amsterdam to concert, live and on TV, during the holidays.
SANTA CLAUS DELIVERS a very different message from 2:30-5:30 Sunday on KCOP, “The Eyes of Christmas” telethon and first-time airing of a Theatrevision-described movie enabling the blind to “see.” RP Intl.’s Helen Harris and director/producer David Doyle describe “Heaven Can Wait,” the Warren Beatty-Julie Christie starrer. Also audio-described and following on cable will be “Christmas Eve” starring George Raft, Joan Blondell and Randolph Scott. An impressive list of celebs appear on the telethon helping to launch a new era of tele-“vision’ … Sunday marks the 90th anniversary of Howard Hughes’ birth. Hewould have loved to see what DreamWorks is doing in his neighborhood … The Inner-City Filmmakers Student Internship Program toasted a brighter holiday season thanks to studios and prod’n companies who’ve lent a hand in the past year … On RCA’s upcoming all-star “Songs of West Side Story,” Selena sings “A Boy Like That,” while “America” is trio’d by Natalie Cole, Patti LaBelle and Sheila E., and Little Richard sings –“I Feel Pretty”… Merry Christmas, Happy New Year.