Blizzards mire Back East biz

GOOD MORNING: Apologies to Irving Berlin, but there’s no biz like snow biz, and I was snowed under with calls about problems caused by the blizzards in the East. In N.Y., “Homicide’s” Isabella Hoffman was among the many cast members unable to make it back to Baltimore, and others in the cast were similarly sidelined in cities like Toronto (for Yaphet Kotto) and Chicago (director John McNaughton). The script was being flip-flopped to try and accommodate pairs of actors who were available in Baltimore. Meanwhile, Hoffman’s fiance, Daniel Baldwin, told me he would drive her to the filming in Maryland Tuesday night if the storm didn’t reappear … In D.C., where he’s appearing (hopefully tonight) in “Henry V” at the Shakespeare Theater, Harry Hamlin said they’re trying to figure out a way to extend the show — which has been sold out — when it reopens. Hamlin said he was able to mush his way to a grocery store and “stood in line 45 minutes” to try and get some items. “Almost everything was sold out” but he bought a few items to make himself some hot soup in the apartment (which is in the building housing the theater). With the show canceled, he was able to enter the (empty) theater and do “Hamlet’s” “Oh, what a rogue –” and a few other lines on the vacant stage. He’d like to do a full “Hamlet” once again onstage (it’s been 10 years). “If the show (‘Henry V’) is canceled again tonight,” Hamlin said, “I may go back (on the empty stage) and try ‘To be or not to be.’ ” D.C. theater audiences come up to the classically trained Hamlin and say, “You restore our faith in TV actors!”… Hamlin’s fiancee, Lisa Rinna, is coincidentally in six feet of snow in Bennington, Vt., where she too is doing Shakespeare!

LAST FLIGHT OUT OF La Guardia got Salma Hayek to Atlanta, where she’s co-starring in MGM’s “Fled” with Laurence Fishburne and Stephen Baldwin. Atlanta, too, was stopped in its tracks by the snow, to which the city’s unaccustomed. But the movie company kept working with interiors. Producer Frank Mancuso Jr. told me the city has been most cooperative with the filmmakers, even though Atlanta’s efforts are mainly targeted for the Olympics. But they’d like some movie biz too! Atlanta is prominent in the movie. One thing’s certain, said Mancuso: “Fled,” an action flick, will not be released on either side of the Olympic action. It is a totally different kind of movie for all principals involved, including director Kevin Hooks (whose father, Robert, co-stars in this, his second pic with his son). Music will be an important part of “Fled,” Mancuso says. A lot of music’s now emanating from Atlanta. Mancuso says MGM/UA is planning to franchise his hit “Species,” which came in for $32 million and has passed the $120 million mark. He’s also prepping an L.A.-set comedy, “The Human Stew,” by Jason Pomerance … George Stevens Jr., in town for continued pic planning with Mike Medavoy and his Phoenix Pictures, will receive an honorary degree in arts and letters from his alma mater, Occidental College (class of ’53) May 5 … Herb Ross is en route to Houston to “brush up” the staging of “La Boheme,” which he bowed in L.A. Ross loves the operatic milieu and may do others. But first, the feature “The Girls on the Bus” with Bette Midler for Arnon Milchan’s New Regency. The “Girls” are news hens on a presidential tour … At the Hamlet Gardens on Glendon, Molly (Mrs. Roger) Clinton greeted veteran reporter Sarah McClendon at a nearby table, where D.C.’s McClendon was dining with longtime pals Marilyn and Harry Lewis and KABC radio’s Lyle Gregory. McClendon, writing her updated autobio, is also talking its pic version with studios while here — and avoiding the Washington weather.

“RUSH LIMBAUGH IS A BIG FAT IDIOT” was recorded by author Al Franken for Dove Audio. Random House has the hardcover … Erika Holzer, author of “An Eye for an Eye,” saw the movie and told me, “They had guts to do it! I had a very complex plot, they simplified it and it works more powerfully.” She added, “I can’t imagine anyone other than Sally Field in this role.” Holzer’s now completed another book, “Guilty as Charged,” a courtroom drama … A unique concert hall, Wings at DC3 in Santa Monica, makes its bow Jan. 24 with a concert by Itzhak Perlman benefiting the Tree People. The 299-seat hall is next door to the DC3 restaurant and Museum of Flying. Subscription series start in the spring featuring all forms of top musicmakers … We’re all saddened by the death of veteran columnist Jack Smith, whose diaries delighted for so many years. One summer I was taking a vacation and ended up on a small island off the coast of Mexico. Suddenly, who should also appear on the sand: vacationing Jack Smith, also trying to escape from it all. Naturally, the encounter ended up as one of Smith’s columns, headed “The Army Has Landed”… The Weissman/Angellotti praisery has been renewed for the 12th consecutive year as overall public relations reps for the TV Academy and its Primetime Emmy Awards (September, ABC) , and for the third year for the People’s Choice Awards (March 10, CBS).

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