Castle Rock inaugurates its ‘President’

GOOD MORNING: “If things don’t work out for President Clinton next November,” said Castle Rock chairman Alan Horn, “he can come and live in our White House.” The studio built all White House sets for “The American President”; not one foot of film was shot in the official residence, added director-producer Rob Reiner. As a matter of fact, the studio rented out some of its White House sets to “Nixon.” Clinton has not yet seen “President,” although he was skedded for an Oct. 18 screening. But he’s been a little busy lately. However, the White House staff saw it last Thursday and loved it, as did the Jim Bradys. At Tuesday night’s preem here at the Cineplex Odeon Century City, Horn and Reiner greeted guests who raised $300,000 for CeaseFire Inc. to combat handguns. Jann Wenner, whose US mag sponsored the evening with Castle Rock, said it was Michael Douglas’ idea for the preem benefiting CeaseFire. Several celeb PSA’s have been filmed. Paul Newman’s powerful pitch was screened before “President” rolled; Oprah Winfrey and Walter Cronkite also have pitched in. The movie, which themes environmental control as well as handgun control, “is for the good guys,” allowed Reiner. “It’s our money (‘north of $50 million’) and we can say whatever we want.” Horn asked audience members Jane Fonda and Ted Turner if “you have gotten your popcorn.” They did. Afterward, Ted and Jane “high-fived” the pic. There was no question Douglas and Annette Bening are a huge hit; it’s hard to believe the original casting of Robert Redford and Emma Thompson could have achieved the same … Bening was, of course, accompanied by a proud Warren Beatty. Michael was stag — but surrounded by his family at his table in the Century Plaza hotel party that followed. They included Michael’s mom, Diana (Darrid), son Cameron and brother Joel, plus Ray Stark, Police Chief Willie Williams and us. Douglas’ brother Peter D. was at an adjoining table. Papa Kirk Douglas is recuping from a bad back and was not on hand — but he and wife Anne already have seen the movie (as did brother Eric). Kirk not only praised his son as the president, but said, “Annette Bening was wonderful — leading ladies do so great with Michael: Kathleen Turner, Demi Moore, Glenn Close. When I do a picture with him, I’ll do it in drag!” They team in “Song of David” sometime next year. Michael’s next off to Africa for the 1890s actioner “The Ghost of Darkness” with Val Kilmer. Ron Meyer, Douglas’ former agent at CAA, was congratting his ex-client. I asked Michael if he remains with the agency. Yes. CAA president Richard Lovett heads the Douglas representative team … Co-star Richard Dreyfuss was also on hand. He told Horn his role was frightening — that of a below-the-belt, reactionary presidential candidate. Danny DeVito, there with wife Rhea Perlman, enthused, “I’d vote for Michael for president!” Carl Reiner was the proud papa as Rob was getting congrats. Rob Reiner’s next for the company is “Free at Last,” the Medgar Evers story … James Woods was also getting praise from those who’ve seen him in “Casino.” Also there, Hugh Grant and Elizabeth Hurley, seated with Castle Rock’s prez Martin Shafer. Grant stars and the duo are producing “Extreme Pleasures” for the Rock.

REMEMBER WHEN George Segal was out of “10,” Dudley Moore replaced him and the pic started Moore’s movie career? Well, Segal’s now replacing Moore in Barbra Streisand’s “The Mirror Has Two Faces,” playing Jeff Bridges’ buddy. Segal’s bicycling (and how) between the “Mirror” in N.Y. and “Cable Guy” in L.A. Segal’smovie career also was busied with “To Die For” with Nicole Kidman and with Alicia Silverstone in “The Baby Sitter”…”It’s kind of scary to do the excommunication monologue with Arthur Miller watching on the sidelines.” It was Bruce Davison reporting from the Danvers (was Salem), Mass., set of Miller’s “The Crucible” for Fox with Nicholas Hytner (“The Madness of King George”) directing. Davison added, “And watching Paul Scofield in a scene, I felt the hair on my neck rising.” It was Scofield’s performance in “King Lear” in 1962 that encouraged the young Davison to take up acting. The “Crucible” cast also boasts Daniel Day-Lewis, Winona Ryder and Joan Allen. Nature is helping the final powerful scenes: real storms are adding to the drama. Nature is taking a hand in the Davisons’ lives: He and wife Lisa Pelikan are expecting their first baby in March. “It’s a dream for both of us,” says the prospective father.

“WE COULD HAVE GOTTEN IT on any network,” says David Gerber, “but John Matoian wanted it (‘The Price of Love’) for Fox. He wanted to change the kind of movies shown on the network.” The vidpic, airing Nov. 28, is the story of a runaway panhandling and hustling on the streets of L.A. They unveiled it Tuesday at the Children of the Night Shelter run by founder Dr. Lois Lee in Van Nuys. It’s a refuge from the streets for sexually exploited teens. Gerber, Matoian and Trevor Watson were joined by the cast.

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