GOOD MORNING: “It’s going so well, it’s scary,” exclaims John Landis on the “Blues Brothers 2000” location in Toronto. And he’s working for nothing — well , for scale. As are co-stars Dan Aykroyd and John Goodman (against backend deals , of course). Thus, the movie is budgeted for $31 million. The original “Blues” cost $27 million, Landis said, and it’s grossed over $80 million “and continues to have an amazing afterlife,” he laughed — even though Daily Variety‘s review (June 18, 1980, by Todd McCarthy) said “the extent of (its) ultimate payoff is questionable.” Joining the cast is Joe Morton as (the late) Cab Calloway’s son. Outside of “The Godfather,” Landis says, this sequel has the most returning cast members. Jim Belushi’s sked (his TV series deal) cost him a role in the pic and both he and Landis are very upset. But, the director tells me, “He (Belushi) can be in the third ‘Blues Brothers.’ ” In addition to returning cast members, there will be a cameo by Paul Bartel. This sequel will be heavier with music but with a much lighter Aykroyd: “He’s lost a tremendous amount of weight,” said Landis, who is also producing a lighter-budgeted movie, “Susan’s Plan” — for $3 million(!). Leslie Belzberg produces “Plan” as well as “Blues” with John and Aykroyd. And Landis says “I’m getting more into TV”: his St. Clair TV banner is readying the first hourlong, family syndie’d sci-fi’er, “Honey I Shrunk The Kids” with Disney.
IT’S STILL A WONDERFUL LIFE: Jimmy Hawkins who at the age of 4 played Jimmy Stewart’s son Tommy Bailey in the classic pic, has written “It’s A Wonderful Life 50th Anniversary Scrapbook” (Running Press). He sent five copies to Stewart to autograph for charity auctions and two weeks ago, Stewart signed them. The first charity to benefit from an auction of a book will be the Pediatric AIDS Foundation. The event: an all-star reading, “live on stage” at the Pasadena Playhouse, Dec. 8 of the original “It’s A Wonderful Life” through special arrangements with Radio Spirits. Hawkins, who produces with Mary Jo Slate, says they’ve already set Danny De Vito as Mr. Potter, Nathan Lane as Clarence, plus Rhea Perlman, Christian Slater, Edward James Olmos. Hawkins is negotiating with PBS and “Great Performances” to tape the reading for their December Pledge Drive. … Next for Hawkins, via the Gil Cates-Dennis Doty banner, “The Life Of Roy Rogers” as a vidpic for CBS. This year, Roy and wife Dale Evans celebrate their 50th wedding anni and their 85th birthdays. … I caught “Men in Black” at AMC’s (so well-run) Century 14, where a trailer for next summer’s “Godzilla” brought repeated shrieks of joy, laughter and applause from this SRO audience. Good things to come. … And Monday night at Mann’s Westwood Plaza (great popcorn!) preview of Marty Bregman’s Touchstone “Nothing to Lose,” most of the audience left before the finale of final credits and missed a very funny, unexpected, last scene — but not with (the already hysterically funny) Tim Robbins or Martin Lawrence. Pro audiences should always stick around for final credits. … “I don’t know if any of my fans will like it,” wonders Pauly Shore, who plays a romantic lead on the Movie Channel’s “Curse of Inferno” with Janine Turner and Ned Beatty. “But this could be the key that lets me out of the box — the box that Hollywood has kept me in,” said Shore. He also tours playing his real self, with his dad, vet comic Sammy Shore. The young Shore (29) has also written a book, “How Did You Expect Me Turn Out?” Ask his mom, Mitzi Shore; she, too, may join the men on comedy tours.
MADLYN RHUE, BRAVING multiple sclerosis, suffered two broken legs and multiple bruises when the lift lowering her wheelchair broke — as she was readying to go to her doctor’s office! She was rushed to Cedars-Sinai, is now home, but tells me, “I’m so lucky!” However, the valiant Madlyn is confined indoors, immobile for three months, and would appreciate any company execs, producers, etc., who can send her current movies: “There’s nothing but re-runs on (TV) all summer,” she reminds. … Although he would like us to believe he’s out of showbiz, Michael Ovitz left yesterday for the Herb Allen doings in Sun Valley. “But I’m on vacation,” Ovitz assured. … Music’s the menu mentioned as the theme for the next chain of eateries from the Planet Hollywood restaurateurs. Among the major names being cooked up to partner in this venture: Mick Jagger, U2, Elton John. It’s a multimillion-$ platter for each. … While awaiting the decision from the boxing commission, Mike Tyson dined in a quiet corner of Nicky Blair’s eatery in Las Vegas Monday night. … Bernard Erpicum, although in Chapter 11 with his Eclipse restaurant here in West Hollywood, is remaining open and also plans to open branches in Vegas and Miami, well as a different site in L.A. Dan Tana’s eatery gets a big yarn in L.A. Mag’s Aug. issue; it’s written by Jonathan Foreman, son of Eve and Carl Foreman. Jonathan, a young lawyer-writer, worked the month of May ’96 at Tana’s, from kitchen to front desk.