GOOD MORNING: Unlike “Contact,” “Deep Impact” will have no digitalized appearances by President Clinton. The Chief Executive will be portrayed (in many scenes) by Morgan Freeman. “I’m sure it’ll make Colin Powell happy,” said Richard Zanuck, who produces with David Brown. Steven Spielberg exec produces with Joan Bradshaw on the Par-DreamWorks pic. Nor will there be any digitalized superimpositions of the White House, said Zanuck from the location in the D.C. area. “We have built the Oval Office at Warner Hollywood Studio” and there is more than enough stock footage of Washington and White House exteriors. However, there will be plenty of ILMagic when a “Deep Impact” meteor lands outside the Hamptons and creates a mile-high tidal wave along the eastern seaboard. Tuesday, in Manassas, Va., the company created a scene of a panicked traffic jam with 1,900 vehicles, cars, trucks, RVs, trailers, boats and 2,100 extras fleeing the deluge (but no aliens!). It was filmed on an as-yet unopened strip of freeway. There were, of course, car and bus crashes in the attempted escape from the meteor’s massacre. Director Mimi Leder designed ‘copter shots for some of the action in order to move in close to a romantic scene between Elijah Wood and Leelee Sobieski. P.S.: All this is going on in D.C.’s 105-degree heat — and humidity to match, natch.
GIANNI VERSACE’S INFLUENCE on fashions in movies and TV gets another airing in the now-shooting HBO biopic “Gia” starring Angelina Jolie (Jon Voight’s daughter). Producer Marvin Worth says a 1979 Vogue layout with Gia, in Versace, and photographed by Chris Von Wagenheim, is reproduced in the telepic. Worth and wife Jan are known as longtime — 20-year — Versace fans/wearers; he was really the first in Hollywood to wear Versace. And the Versace boutique on Rodeo Drive is the first in the U.S. It closed yesterday and remains closed today, said owner Carolyn Mahboubi, reached in Milan where she had flown to buy the newest Versace collection. She told me people in Italy were “in a state of shock.” Italian TV was unspooling his life story all night long. Courtney Love was in Rome to see one of his showings. She wore Versace’s spectacular white gown to this year’s Oscars. She credited him with “helping me make a transition to a new period in my life without compromising who I am.” … Rodeo Drive’s Fred Hayman had Gianni Versace and sister Donatella to dinner at his BevHills home and worked with him on the Oscars. “He was interested in dressing as many stars as possible,” said Hayman. “He loved Hollywood and invited stars to the front row of all his shows” Although they had their differences, Giorgio Armani, a Versace Rodeo Drive store neighbor (and elsewhere around the world), said that news of Versace’s death “has left me in a state of shock — Gianni Versace, together with a handful of names, symbolizes the success of Italian fashion all over the world. My reaction is one of revolt against such an unnatural and violent death and one of profound grief.” … Dennis Hopper and wife Victoria had visited with Versace two weeks ago in Florence. “We had a wonderful time at dinner with him and (model) Naomi Campbell at his home. He was a most wonderful and generous man. Even in the most tense situations at fashion shows he was always up — happy to take care of you.” Hopper, now enjoying his busiest period, starts “Lured Innocence,” a film noir, before beginning the Disney comedy, “Meet The Deedles”. … Steven Seagal told me, “Versace supplied my wardrobe in almost every movie I’ve done. He was my friend. He was a gentleman, quiet, my kind of guy.” Seagal says his roles will be quiet in the future — no more action-violence pix. “I’ve turned down dozens of ’em.” After his environmentally-themed movie, “On Deadly Ground,” plus another, “Fire Down Below,” he wants future pix to also say something important. He’ll also do a cameo in Billy Crystal’s “My Giant”. … Sylvester Stallone, a neighbor of Versace’s in Florida, said, “The world has lost one of its most cultured artists in such a violent fashion. He will never be duplicated.”
RAQUEL WELCH SOUNDED amazingly cheery when she phoned me Tuesday morning, despite the closing notice of “Victor/Victoria.” ‘I’ve had a wonderful time — standing ovations, fans outside the stage door, police on horseback holding back the crowds. It all made me feel I shouldn’t stay away from the stage that long again.” So, she’ll be back, in May 1998, in the international company (South America first) and then the national company of 15 to 20 major cities. In the interim she says she has personal and other business to attend to, including a new house in L.A. She will eventually play “V/V” here. Welch claimed when she came on board “V/V” she inherited “some financial difficulties already existing.” She says she loved working with the cast. And as for difficulties with Blake Edwards? “Everything’s fine — we’ve resolved our differences. I made my peace with him. He was pretty much married to what (wife) Julie (Andrews) was doing all along.” … Julie Andrews, meanwhile, is recuperating from throat surgery — and is still limited to whispering. When will she able to sing? “In time for the opening in Houston,” Aug. 26, says (hopeful) producer Tony Adams. They’re closing on B’way on July 27, in order to be able to turn around the B’way sets, costumes, props for Houston and not have to duplicate ($$$) ’em. … On B’way tonight, the revival of “1776” opens for previews at the Roundabout on 45th St., a block from the Lunt-Fontanne where “Titanic” is breaking records — both shows won Tonys for playwright Peter Stone, who is now talking revivals of “Finian’s Rainbow” and “Annie Get Your Gun,” plus a new Kander/Ebb musical-mystery, “Curtains.”