Hong Kong event promises to be huge

GOOD MORNING: This will be the largest show ever staged in Asia — or anywhere, perhaps. “The Hong Kong ’97 Spectacular” will be performed July 1, the day after the hand-over to the People’s Republic of China. The show will be set on three miles of the waters of Victoria Harbor, probably the busiest waterway in the world. All traffic will be stopped, and even planes coming into Hong Kong airport will be temporarily re-skedded during the fireworks finale. Don Mischer Prods. is producing, with Don as exec producer, David Goldberg as producer and Adam Bezark directing. You recall, Mischer last year was director of the spectacular ceremonies of the Centennial Olympic Games. His record includes the Emmys, Kennedy Center Honors, People’s Choice Awards, and he’s winner of 12 Emmys. But this will be the granddaddy of them all, a “live” show to be covered by networks around the world; 6,000 press reps will be on hand, as well as for the previous day’s ceremonies when Hong Kong becomes the Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China “Spectacular” is sponsored by Hong Kong businessmen and, says Mischer, “It is a gift to the people of Hong Kong. Our show is not political and is not connected to the hand-over. It is a celebration of the past, present and future of Hong Kong. It is the spirit of the city and the people.” Mischer, Goldberg and Bezark spoke to me from Hong Kong today as they were en route to Jiangmen in Mainland China, where 600 are working on the flotilla. “These are can-do people,” said Bezark. Goldberg added, “They do the impossible as easily as we tie a shoelace!” Although the trio has enormous credits — from Disney World to Universal Hollywood — they say this “is a chance to do something historical, an entire country changing ownership” Because of its scale, it will be difficult to get the human element in the show, Mischer admits. The show will be in five sections of barges — like a mammoth, floating Rose Parade. One float, f’rinstance, “The Pearl of the Orient,” will rise up out of the harbor. “River of Life” will consist of barges six-seven stories high, and one will be 12 stories high! A “City of Light” display will feature the latest laser technology. The finale, as you might imagine, will have some of the most spectacular fireworks ever seen. Music will include an original, “Symphony 1997,” by Chinese composer Tan Dun; featured soloist will be acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma. It will also include playing of the ancient (221 B.C.) Bian Zhong bells recently discovered in China’s Hubei province. Since many heads of state will attend, having been on hand from the previous day’s ceremonies, security will be extraordinary. The cost of this spectacular — $12.8 million. MEANWHILE, DOWN IN SAVANNAH, GA., Clint Eastwood is filming “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” Christmas party sequences in the Mercer house, where it all happened. They’re working in all-night shoots. The late Jim Williams’ sister, Dorothy Kingery, who lives in the house, is helping Eastwood hand-pick locals who are appearing as extras at the party. Kevin Spacey, who plays Williams, slept one night in the house to get the feel of the character. But Kingery did not want the murder scene (in which Jude Law is killed) to be filmed in the house, so it will be shot in L.A. … Lorne Michaels and Amy Heckerling are readying a feature version of the latest wild and crazy guys of “SNL”: “The Roxbury” duo, Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell. Heckerling is also working on the “Say Uncle” feature to star Billy Crystal and readying the “Clueless” TV’er for its UPN switchover.

OVER $1.6 MILLION WAS RAISED at the Wiesenthal Center dinner honoring Jonathan Dolgen, Wednesday night at the BevHilton. In advance of the dinner, the Center’s Dean and Founder, Rabbi Marvin Hier, told me he’d asked the evening’s producers (Paramount) about the choice of Chris Rock as one of the entertainers. Hier says he told them, “I hope he (Rock) is in good taste and knows what the evening is all about.” I guess Rock didn’t — there’s a time and a place for everything. At our table, Mace Neufeld counted the F-word used by Rock 15 times. And the rest of Rock’s act was far from “good taste.” Bob Dylan followed to thunderous applause. Receiving a standing ovation, heroes of the Holocaust took the stage after heart-wrenching footage of victims and their rescuers was screened. Dinner chairman Jeff Katzenberg and Michael Douglas presented the Humanitarian award to Dolgen. Studio toppers, agency reps, and creative talents filled the room. Among stars there, Harrison Ford (“Air Force One”), James Caan and Jon Voight.

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