Zemeckis fights for Artists Rights

GOOD MORNING: “Forrest Gump’s” Robert Zemeckis says he’s taking a year off –“to get reacquainted with my family”– but he’s working Tuesday at the House of Blues “to build a war chest to take to the Supreme Court” on behalf of the Artists Rights Foundation. “We want the evening to be fun,” Zemeckis reminds, “but we want to protect the artistic heritage of our future — especially with the appearance of the new technologies.” He added, “We don’t want one key line (of a movie) or one key scene to be edited, which would change the whole point of the movie. The original movie has to be protected for the future. It’s like the Mona Lisa. Sure, someone could superimpose Hillary Clinton’s head on (a picture of) the Mona Lisa, as long as the original in the Louvre is protected”… Zemeckis opens the House of Blues show, which includes the new Blues Brothers — Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi. They also celebrate the 46th anni of John Belushi’s birth. “We’ll have a moment — of song — for him,” Dan said. “Nothing will ever replace John, but Jim is great and sounds good.” Jim told me, “I’m thankful to my brother — he’s left me Dan, who makes me feel good, feel so natural working with him. Dan and I keep the spirit (of John) alive. He (Dan) gave me a name, ‘Brother Z’ “… Jim learned the harmonica and duets with Dan on many numbers … Clint Black also will be featured on the show (tix still available), says Dan, and a CD will benefit the Artists Rights Foundation, supported by all guilds …”Blues Brothers II,” the movie, is getting another rewrite with John Landis. Aykroyd says he’s anxious to return to Universal for the movie. “I’ve always had an emotional attachment to MCA,” he told me, “It’s my spiritual home. ‘Blues Brothers II’ could be mutually profitable for us — with the Blues Brothers Clubs and records around the world.” He first films “Sgt. Bilko” with Steve Martin in the Phil Silvers role, Dan in Paul Ford’s shoes. He completed “Getting Away With Murder,” in which he kills Jack Lemmon, whom he suspects of being a Nazi death camp commandant — Aykroyd marries Lemmon’s daughter, Lily Tomlin, to pay for his crime! Aykroyd feels the humor in the pic will get across the serious message of hunting down Nazi war criminals. … Jim Belushi is preparing “The Replicant,” a comedy-drama he’ll produce, direct and star in, and will team with Aykroyd in “Cops.”

“OF COURSE, YOU’RE ALL WONDERING what happened to the helicopter?” said Gordon Davidson, artistic director of the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theater. He was addressing the black-tie’d CTG preview audience at Saturday’s benefit performance of “Miss Saigon” at the party in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Grand Hall following the performance at the Ahmanson. The spectacular helicopter landing of Cameron Mackintosh’s long-running hit never took off to land on the Ahmanson boards. The lighting and sound effects had to take over when “a malfunction” grounded the chopper. Those of us who have seen the show either in London or New York never cease to refer to it. But, many first-nighters and first-timers actually told me they thought they imagined it even though it wasn’t there. The stage managers of the show gifted Davidson with a toy “stress helicopter,” and after he finished his remarks he sprang the toy chopper which did indeed take off high into the Chandler Pavilion hall to the amusement of the once-disappointed crowd. The benefit group proceeded across the music center plaza from the Ahmanson to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion blessed by a break in the weather, enabling the formal group to view a commercial being shot on the plaza of the all new, sleak 1995 Lincoln Continental, which sponsored the subsequent black-tie party and dinner. Nancy Vreeland chaired the evening and Davidson also thanked CTG chairman Lawrence J. Ramer and a large contingent of the Ahmanson family for their contributions. The helicopter wasn’t the only malfunction of the evening unveiling the redesigned Ahmanson Center. Parking was an absolute nightmare and something will have to be done or people will be turned off coming to see the artistic achievements of the city. Davidson told me after the nine-month stand of “Miss Saigon” he hopes to bring in a new musical and to start the regular CTG program of shows.

RESPECTED NEWSMAN-ANCHOR John Marshall told me he is talking to KCBS about a move there … Also Saturday, the DGA national board met and sources report a warning of “dire circumstances” should the writers guild win rights to view and challenge final cuts of their movies. The DGA would not accept such a pact.

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