GOOD MORNING: “Special Guest Producer”? “Ghost Producer”? Or mebbe no credit at all. That’s Mace Neufeld’s dilemma. But the credit apparently doesn’t bother him at all as he puts in 16 hours a day on Par’s “The Saint,” now filming in Britain after locations in Moscow. David Brown confirms that Mace may take “no credit at all.” Brown, who had been commuting to the Moscow locations and now to the U.K. — while also on the sets of his “Kiss the Girls”– sez he’ll have “first position” in the “producer credits.” Daily Variety‘s production chart then lists Robert Evans, William MacDonald and Mace Neufeld as producers. Brown reminds he has worked 3 1/2 years on “The Saint” but credits Evans with fighting for years to get rights to the project “through the convoluted ownerships, regimes at Par, etc. If there’s one thing that makes a producer, it’s getting the project,” credited Brown. With producers like Neufeld and Brown and director Philip Noyce on the scene, they tell me the $60 million pic is on sked — two days under in Russia, using troops, tanks, overzealous Russian stunt men — ducking gypsies on the subways, etc., Neufeld said. He was/is accompanied on the long shoot by Tita Cahn in Moscow and London. And Val Kilmer has regular visits from Cindy Crawford on locations as well … Plans for the original “Saint,” Roger Moore, to do a walk-on didn’t work out. Meanwhile, Moore’s son Christian is video assistant on the shoot. As for the future of the Neufeld-Rehme association at Par, Rehme reminds, “We will be together forever,” now with two TV pics in production, upcoming featues including “Already Dead” and “A Philosophical Investigation.” Monday, David Brown got word Karen Hall’s “Dark Debts” (Random House) is a main selection of the Book of the Month Club. Brown will produce for Par. He’s the solo producer –“currently,” he adds.
NO HARD FEELINGS between Daniel Benzali and “Murder One.” Despite the fact he’s not returning to the series, Benzali’s plugging the show in London for the BBC and Sky-TV’s concluding segs in which he slips away. He reminds, “My career grew up here, and I still have one foot on the London stage, so when this trip was offered to me two months ago, I thought it would be a great curtain call for a great role.” His TV performance has resulted in offers for new theater roles — plus features awaiting on his return. Benzali had also p.a.’d “Murder” in Australia for its launch, and it bowed with a 39 share … One of the warmest showbiz fundraising nights is the American Jazz Philharmonic’s annual Henry Mancini birthday party, and this year was even warmer. It saluted Ira Gershwin’s 100th birthday and Hal David’s 75th — Hal being there to lead the sing-along on his (and Burt Bacharach’s) “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.” The celebration was again hosted by gracious Sandy Krause and Bill Fitzgerald in their equally gracious home. The Philharmonic’s director Jack Elliott announced a new music educational program is now seeded, named the Mancini Institute in partnership with the American Jazz Philharmonic. Again Ray Charles masterfully m.c.’d the evening with pianist extraordinaire Stan Freeman accompanying the artists, who sang David and Gershwin lyrics. The soloists: Karen Morrow, Marlene Ver Planck, Monica Mancini, Sally Kellerman, Tony Martin, Pat Gelbart, Sue Raney, Corky Hale , Ray Charles, Stan Freeman, the Mancini Trio ( Felice, Monica and Ginny) and “The Steve and Eydie of Sacramento”– Gov. Pete Wilson and wife Gayle duetting “California Blues,” a parodied “How Long Has This Been Going On?” “This is really chutzpah,” noted the governor. They brought down the house … The evening concluded with all singing David’s “What the World Needs Now Is Love”– and, appropriately, Mancini’s”Moon River.” Mancini will be tributed June 30 at the Hollywood Bowl. His last tune, “King’s Dilemma” from “Victor/Victoria,” will be sung by — B’way’s Michael Nouri … And Hal David and Burt Bacharach receive the Johnny Mercer Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame on June 12 at the Sheraton N.Y. Hotel and Towers.
HAL LINDEN UNDERGOES SURGERY today at St. John’s on his fractured right leg, as noted here Monday, in a freak accident in the (unlighted) wings at Cerritos Performing Arts Center in rehearsal for his weekend gig (of course KO’d) with Lucie Arnaz. He will be sidelined six weeks. Yes, he has a lawyer … Joanne (Woodward) and Paul Newman are happy first-time grandparents. Daughter Lissy and her husband, Raphael Elkind, welcomed son Peter Stewart E. on Saturday in Westport, Conn. … Comedy writer Sidney Reznick suffered a broken knee and wrist when struck by a car when he was crossing Wilshire (with a green light). He’s at UCLA Medical … Actor Dave McSwain, who lost a leg in a hit-and-run motorcycle accident, is back at work and next seen in “Courage Under Fire.” He’s a member of the SAG Committee on Performers With Disabilities. Producers should give more jobs to this able group of thesps.