Voight gets some slinky new costars

GOOD MORNING: Another mission impossible? Well, it might have read like it — but Jon Voight’s back from playing another super heavy — this time on the Amazon for Columbia’s “Anaconda” with, you guessed it, plenty of big boas. Voight has not yet seen “Mission: Impossible”– although he said Tom Cruise volunteered to send a print to their steamy location on Brazil’s Rio Negro to entertain the troupe. But Voight said getting it there might have been another mission impossible, so he’s asking Cruise for a screening here, now that the company’s shooting in L.A. — with a Hollywood-made anaconda. But don’t get the movie wrong — he (and they) worked with dozens of snakes capable of putting the last squeeze on anyone and anything. Voight sounded unfazed by it all, except one scene in which he decided to serenade a giant snake by singing “Act Naturally” to it. “It (the snake) started to weave up to my head, its eyes looking straight toward mine — then placing its face right on my cheek! I was scared — but flattered — it’s been a long time since I’ve had an 8-foot-long leading lady.” P.S. The snake wrangler got whacked by the same snake a few minutes later! … Voight admitted, “Actors are a little crazy — they feel like they’re dealing with other actors even if it’s a snake.” As for playing the heavy in “Mission: Impossible,” he admits, “I knew my character would be a surprise and a shock.” As for Peter Graves’ (the series’ Jim Phelps) reaction to the character switcheroo in the feature, Voight said, “The stature and nobility of his character meant a lot to us. But this is an intelligent movie and if people in that (government) arena let us down, it was brave to do it.” The versatile Voight, prior to “M.I.,” completed John Singleton’s “Rosewood,” about the 1923 Florida race massacre, and Voight also directed-starred in Showtime’s “The Tin Soldier.” What’s next? He wants to do a filmusical with Gregory Hines. Voight feels the genre has been too long overlooked by the bigscreen. They’ve talked a contemporary, romantic story set in the black community.

IT’S TIME FOR — why –“It’s Time for Beany.” And the time has come for the long-running Bob Clampett series to make it to the bigscreen. David Permut’s partnering with the Clampett family for the movie. Fans of Beany and Cecil, the seasick sea serpent, date back to 1949 when the show started on KTLA as a puppet show. Clampett had been at WB 16 years before going on his own. The characters which then followed in a cartoon’d ABC “Beany & Cecil” included Dishonest John, Homer the Octopus, Careless the Mexican Hairless, etc. It became popular worldwide. And adult fans of Clampett’s pun-ishing humor even included Groucho Marx. Permut, who says he grew up with “Beany,” promises the feature will be live-action with an animatronic’d sea serpent and friends. Permut’s current “Eddie” outing with Whoopi Goldberg was such a delight, sezze, they’re talking another feature …”National Lampoon’s Las Vegas Vacation” will take Chevy Chase all over the Strip — including the Siegfried & Roy stage at the Mirage. Who knows into which lion’s den Chase will disappear? Siegfried & Roy added two new white lions to their family, now at seven, and to be part of their “S. & R. Secret Garden” to bow at the hotel in August. Fox is also readying a four-part mini on the amazing duo and their brood … Eddie Fisher, in Vegas to visit son Todd at Debbie Reynolds’ hotel, also caught Reynolds’ show. “He had a free ticket,” Reynolds noted. Eddie didn’t go on stage with his ex, but they did visit after her show and she volunteered, “He’s looking better than he has in years.” Reynolds obtained her divorce — from Richard Hamlett last week — after two years. “It’s my third and my last (divorce-marriage),” she promised.

AN ALBUM BY TIMOTHY LEARY and singer/producer Simon Stokes will be in stalls in three weeks. It was completed two weeks ago. Titled “Right to Fly,” tunes include “Psychorelic Rap,” “Morality’s Ugly Head,” and “No Regrets” among 12 songs by Leary, Stokes and Bayard Johnson on the Psychorelic Records Inc. label released by BMG. “It’s rock ‘n’ roll — that’s what Tim wanted,” Stokes told me … Hector Elizondo, hilarious as the Beverly Wilshire Hotel’s manager in “Pretty Woman,” serves in the same capacity for Disney’s “Romy and Michelle” starring Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow. Elizondo’s wrapping Par’s “‘Dear God” this week … Brian Dennehy closes Sunday in Eugene O’Neill’s “A Touch of the Poet” after a six-week SRO stand at Chi’s Goodman Theater, and he next co-writes , directs and stars in his fifth “Jack Reed” telefilm for NBC … Viewers with ideas (50 words or less) on how to “slam evil” can win up to $5,000 in a “Phantom” contest on E! Entertainment’s “Gossip Show”– details will be divulged on the show, Thursday-Sunday … Marlo Thomas, Katie Couric and Anna Quindlen present “Celebration of Life” awards at Chi’s Princess Di luncheon Thursday. Shari Belafonte, who hosts tonight’s (pre-taped) CBS “Party for the Planet,” is on hand in Chi to intro Tony Bennett, who sings for Princess Di.

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