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Evans, Polanski talk new shades of ‘Gray’

GOOD MORNING: Robert Evans meets with Roman Polanski in Paris next week to talk a(nother) remake of Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” The 1945 version, directed by Albert Lewin, was a chiller starring Hurd Hatfield, George Sanders and the very young Angela Lansbury (singing “Little Yellow Bird”). A 1970 version was far inferior. Evans and Polanski teamed on “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Chinatown,” you recall, and have remained friends throughout Polanski’s absence from the U.S. “I know he (Polanski) can add an even more bizarre telling of the Oscar Wilde story,” sez Evans. “We can make it very scary — and use the new technology in addition.” Evans also plans to bring Polanski’s wife, Emmanuelle Seigneur, to Hollywood for her first visit and to houseguest with Evans. He’s also in Paris for the French publication of his book “The Kid Stays in the Picture” via Editions du Collectioneur. His Dove Audio version won the U.S. Publishers Weekly award for best bio of the year. Evans takes pen in hand again, this time for “Seduction,” to be published by Dove’s book branch. It, too , is non-fiction and autobiographical. On the movie front, his “Jade,” with Billy Friedkin directing, starts in San Fran this week. Dick Crenna joins the cast … Barney Rosenzweig and actor/director Stephen Macht will be at Saturday’s Intl. Assn. of Jazz Educators “Tribute to the Bird” at the Anaheim Hilton. The reason: To see Dr. Ron Myers in action — again. He’s the jazz-playing chaplain of the organization and hails from Tchula, Miss. His story of practicing medicine in “the kind of place most other doctors wouldn’t even stop for a tank of gas” first attracted Macht, who starred in and directed “Cagney & Lacey” segs and brought the story to Barney. They are now plotting a feature and “a black ‘Dr. Kildare’ series” based on Myers.

THE OSCAR RACE: “I would have loved for him to have seen it,” Sam Goldwyn Jr. , in London, was talking about his father (“him”) — and “The Madness of King George” (“it”). “It’s the best movie I’ve ever had,” said Goldwyn, 68, who has his own enviable record of classy pix. Sunday, he and “King” star Nigel Hawthorne Concorde in for the already noted (Daily Variety, Jan. 12) two-day jampacked press onslaught to promo the pic for the Oscar race. Goldwyn spent $ 40,000 to close down Hawthorne’s London play “The Clandestine Marriage” and Sam says he’s spent another $ 40,000 to send out 5,000 tapes to all members of the actors branch to make sure they see the magnificent movie — which could have Oscar nominees in acting, directing (Nicholas Hytner), writing, costume, art, set direction, etc. It’s what movies were created for. And Hytner brought the lavish production in for $ 11 million. Natch, Goldwyn’s looking for more pix to do with him. The movie goes out broader today, again in mid-March to 600 theaters here, and gets a gala preem in London March 19. He wants to give it a full shot at Oscar. Goldwyn’s no stranger to the Academy Awards; he produced the 59th and 60th and won an Emmy for the latter. He thinks David Letterman will be an excellent host. “The more irreverent the better!”…”Pulp Fiction” producer Lawrence Bender’s written a letter to all members of the actors branch “in order to alleviate any confusion” regarding the cast and its acting categories. He notes that “some critics’ groups gave Samuel L. Jackson as many votes for best actor as best supporting actor.” And reminds, “There have been times in the past when performers have received votes in both the lead and supporting categories and were nominated in neither as a result.” Thus, he says, “After having discussed the matter at length with all the actors involved, we are in agreement” that John Travolta should be considered for best actor, Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis for supporting actor and Uma Thurman for supporting actress. Faites vos jeux.

NO OSCAR HOSTINT for Whoopi Goldberg but she’s graciously hosting the “Commitment to Life VIII” benefit for AIDS Project L.A., Thursday at the U Amphi. Bernie Taupin, who produces, says Ron Meyer is honored at the outset of the show, Tom Hanks at mid-point and Elton John at the finale when he’ll also perform “Believe,” the title tune of his new (MCA) album, as well as “I’m Still Standing” and — hopefully more. The show’s a potpourri of talent never before together — like Julie Andrews, Salt ‘N’ Pepa, Tammy Wynette and RuPaul, theater , rock, country, R&B, “all diversities,” sez Taupin. “It’s my dream bill.” Randy Johnson, who directs, added these names to me — Sandra Bernhard, Clint Black and Kathy Najimy — on a program that will be under three hours. Tickets are available … Carly Simon, planning her first tour in 17 years, signed with CAA in all areas … Larry Lyttle’s Big Ticket TV takes over the Roxy Wednesday to showcase comedian Craig Shoemaker, tabbed “the next Tim Allen.”

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