GOOD MORNING: “It’s our next ‘Pulp Fiction,’ ” Jersey Films’ Michael Shamberg told me between takes of his banner’s “Sunset Park,” which was shooting (baskets) in the gym of Santa Monica High. The pic stars Rhea Perlman as a phys-ed teacher in a Brooklyn H.S., with no experience or knowledge of basketball, who takes on coaching duties for the extra dough. Rhea, of course, is married to Jersey’s Danny DeVito, who also produces this pic and their “Get Shorty” with Shamberg. Daniel Paulson and Elizabeth Cantillon exec produce, with Mary Kane and Cara Buonincontri as co-producers on “Sunset.” “Pulp Fiction” cost $ 8.5 million, said Shamberg, while the current TriStar “Sunset Park” is budgeted at $ 9.5 million and the MGM “Get Shorty” at $ 30 million. “Pulp,” by the way, had gone to Miramax following turnaround from Sony, where Jersey has its first-look deal. “Now,” says Shamberg, “with Mark Canton and Marc Platt, they are back in the business of making movies and you can get a yes or no.” Despite the plethora of basketball pix — Billy Crystal’s “Forget Paris,” the Leonardo DiCaprio starrer “The Basketball Diaries” and, of course “Hoop Dreams,” the previous “Blue Chip” and “Hoosiers”– both Shamberg and young director Steve Gomer say theirs is not a “basketball picture.” “It’s more like ‘To Sir With Love ,’ ” claims Gomer. “There’s no violence, no racism, but it’s about race. It’s not angry. And,” Shamberg adds, “Rhea will be a movie star after this one.” She and husband DeVito have been long hoping to do Roald Dahl’s “Mathilda,” a dramedy to follow at TriStar. Jersey has “Feeling Minnesota” with Keanu Reeves revving up with Steven Baigelman to direct. And Jersey continues its search to find “the next Scorsese or Spielberg,” reminds Shamberg.
A PRETTY FUNNY FOUR-WAY CONVERSATION with Joel Silver, Billy Baldwin and Cindy Crawford from the Miami location of WB’s “Fair Game”: Baldwin and Crawford described the nonstop action, fights on cars, trains, etc. and told me there’s no time for any romantics between the two of ’em. Silver quickly piped up with, “There’s plenty of time for it!” And, he added, plenty of occasion for Cindy to display her — well, you know. This is her dramatic feature debut and Cindy says between takes she’s working with an acting coach and also setting up her MTV “House of Style” shows, Revlon and Pepsi blurbs … Baldwin’s talking to Quentin Tarantino for his next, “Curdled,” in which he’d play a serial killer. Silver’s also meeting down in Miami with Dick Donner and Sylvester Stallone for the upcoming “Assassins,” which also stars Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas … Silver’s sked includes “Executive Decisions” teamed with David Geffen and starring Kurt Russell (WB also wants Heather Locklear), and “Sandblast” starring Eddie Murphy. All action pix — no kiddie movies on Joel’s imminent sked … From four hours north of Oslo, after hanging 150 feet from a wall of ice, producer/co-star Christopher Lambert said he is shooting there instead of the real locale, Alaska –“because it’s too cold there!” Lambert brings his 17 -month-old daughter Eleanor over for a visit. (He’s divorced from Eleanor’s mother, actress Diane Lane, as you know.) Lambert is exec producing “Nine Months ,” with Chris Columbus directing Hugh Grant and Tom Arnold at 20th. His “The Hunted” bows this week from U and he also stars in New Line’s “Mortal Kombat.” He says he’s busy producing “because I can’t be out there appearing in four pictures a year.” But he is!… On his return to L.A., Lambert says he and pal Victor Drai will open up a bar on Melrose Place on the site of Le Restaurant. The name — D’Bar!
NINA BLANCHARD SOLD her model/commercials agency to Ford Models and partners in personal theatrical management with Peter Terranova, 20-year Universal vet talent VP. Blanchard bye-bye’s her agency and hello’s her new banner with Terranova at the El Rey Friday … Lionel Hampton announces formation of the Leonard Feather Library Wednesday and Thursday at Hampton’s Jazz Festival in Moscow — Idaho, that is … Hadda Brooks (78) records a Christmas album for Virgin Records and signed for an April 6 date at Johnny Depp’s Viper Room! … Jean Bach, Oscar-nominated for her docu feature “A Great Day in Harlem,” is flooded with offers from jazz fests in Australia, Africa, Spain, Italy, France, Egypt — she’ll attend ’em all. She’s 76! … Bumble Ward and husband John Moshay welcomed daughter Honor Elisabeth Thursday at Cedars-Sinai … Peter Ford , son of Glenn Ford and Eleanor Powell, is running for a seat on the L.A. Board of Education. He and wife Lynda have three school-age children … Lorna Luft plays 90 (count ’em, 90) dates in “The Magical World of Musicals” touring England and Scotland. She shares the bill with Dave Willetts, who’d replaced Michael Crawford in the London company of “Phantom”… Richard Grieco, on his day off Monday from the Steven J. Cannell “Marker” for UPN, posed for a six-page Playgirl layout at his Diamond Head mansion (leased).