‘King’ helmer wants to add latest twist to pic

GOOD MORNING: While Mike Tyson awaits the decision on a cut from his take from Saturday night’s abbreviated bout, HBO’s “Only in America: The Don King Story” director John Herzfeld is asking for more dough to change/add to his vidpic. Monday ayem, Herzfeld was on the phone to HBO Pictures prez John Matoian, asking to up the pic’s budget in order to include the bizarre chapter in the King-Tyson saga and to rewrite an earlier scene. New pages of the script were being faxed east late Monday, Herzfeld told me. In the movie, Vegas fighter Cliff Couser makes his acting debut playing Tyson and will be seen duplicating bouts with Tony Tucker, Bonecrusher Smith, Buster Douglas — and Evander Holyfield. Couser is a Tyson lookalike, but footage from the actual second fight with Holyfield is planned to be used. Herzfeld, you recall, said here Friday he picked Holyfield to win and was on hand in Vegas to watch. Although he won (!), he says, he didn’t accept any of the money; “I couldn’t take that money from friends,” he told me Don King’s problems do not end with Tyson’s tsoris: King is facing a Sept. court date on federal fraud charges after he was re-indicted in April following the November 1995 deadlocked Federal jury on the contract for the 1991 fight between Julio Cesar Chavez and Harold Brazier.

THE LIVE “HONG KONG 1997 Spectacular” today (6 a.m., L.A., 9 p.m. Hong Kong), before an audience estimated at 4 million, had to fight weeks of torrential rains and winds to get the lighting, and other special effects working on the eight, 100 foot-long barges in the harbor. Exec producer Don Mischer reminded, “This is the only show designed for the people of Hong Kong.” All the other events were highly private affairs. The Chinese were concerned about terrorism, Mischer admitted, and the Chinese government would not OK the use of 24-inch pyro shells for the largest fireworks display ever seen there. They compromised at 16 inches, and even that was a first for Hong Kong. The BBC and European TV nets carry “Spectacular” live; L.A. sees portions, delayed. … What about the showbiz outlook for Hollywood in Hong Kong? Andre Morgan (Ruddy-Morgan) is back from there where they announced two pictures with Shannon Lee and Raymond Chow’s Golden Harvest plus Korea’s Samsung. First pic for Lee with ’em is “Enter the Eagles.” It was to have been shot in Vancouver, but has now shifted — to Prague. It will be filmed in both English and Cantonese.

JOE ESZTERHAS FEELS THAT HE and Disney (Buena Vista) might be better off if someone else distributed his very offbeat (to say the least) “Alan Smithee” film, which even makes fun of Disney on screen. In a (somewhat) humorous letter to Joe Roth, Eszterhas asked Disney to allow him to find another distributor — even though he removed McDonald’s references in the pic, because of Disney’s corporate relationship with them. The change (in distributor) would save “headaches later,” Joe said. Disney apparently agreed with Eszterhas and suggested he first show it to Miramax’s Harvey Weinstein. That was OK with Joe on two counts: First, Miramax has been known to handle off-the-beaten-path pix, and this is certainly one of ’em. Second, Weinstein is a “featured player” in the movie, Eszterhas reminded. “He is a central character.” Joe (and I) are awaiting word from Harvey, who is in London. Eszterhas takes out another of his famous ads in Daily Variety Wednesday, this one to thank the musical contributors to his movie. Twenty-five of the submitted pieces will be in the pic, which is scored by G-Wiz and will be released on the Priority Label. It’s an “Alan Smithee” movie with director Arthur Hiller’s name removed from the credits — however, “A very special thanks to Arthur Hiller” follows the end titles.

AN AT-HOME PREGNANCY TEST commercial was directed by David Lynch. The ad, for Unipath Diagnostics Clearblue Easy One-Minute at-Home Pregnancy Test, hits the air in a $7 million media campaign from Ogilvy & Maher ad agency. It’s in black and white. … President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore starred in the Democratic National Committee’s triple-play fund-raiser Monday in N.Y., starting at a Supper Club cocktailer, then the special performance of “A Funny Thing Happened” (which Whoopi Goldberg arranged), then on to the Plaza Grand Ballroom dinner with Lauren Bacall femcee’ing a show starring Wynton Marsalis, Billy Porter and Peter Duchin’s band. Bobby Zarem surrounded the politicos with showbiz folk. … Despite their early calls for Par’s “The Odd Couple 2,” Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau were at Sunday’s Bruin preem and Spago bash for 20th’s “Out to Sea.” (Lemmon said the “Odd” script and “Some Like it Hot’ were the best of his entire career.) Co-stars Hal Linden and Donald O’Connor were also on hand, although they had to tee off early Monday ayem at Riviera for the Danny Arnold fundraiser.

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