GOOD MORNING: Michael Douglas has agreed to star in U’ s “U-571.” “I’ll be a hero for a change,” he enthused, “and I’m really looking forward to it.” He’ll command a WWII sub in the thriller. And there’s no romance in the Dino and Martha DeLaurentiis pic. Jonathan Mostow directs, starting late August in the giant tank at Malta, plus scenes in Rome. Douglas’s brother Joel will be a producer on the film and Michael’s son Cameron (19) will also be working on the production. Michael reminded us that his dad, Kirk, had been on a sub-chaser during WWII — and admitted they set off a depth charge too shallow when chasing a sub, and almost blew themselves up. (I can relate to that, too!) Before setting out to sea, Douglas has to return to work on “A Perfect Murder.” It’s to “elaborate” on the ending he says, “like we did on ‘Fatal Attraction.’ ” He said test screenings have been positive but they want to make it even better. The finale is with Gwyneth Paltrow. She is currently working in London and will have to get time off, and wing in for the scene which takes place in N.Y. … Meanwhile, Tom Cruise is readying to return to London in mid-May for his retakes on “Eyes Wide Shut,” this time with Marie Richardson replacing Jennifer Jason Leigh, who is unable to fly to London because of her current work in “eXistenZ.” And you think making movies is easy. … The Sylvester Stallone starrer for Universal, “Into Thin Air,” has been pushed back for further development of the story, says Brian Grazer. This thriller, to be directed by Lili Zanuck, was to have started in July. Next to start for Grazer is “Bowfinger,” starring Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin, with Frank Oz directing Martin’s script; newly added is Terence Stamp to play movie star Murphy’s manipulative guru. Also joining ’em is the glamorous Heather Graham, of “Boogie Nights” and “Lost in Space.” Imagine, currently shooting “Ed TV,” having wound “Life,” will also launch “Nutty Professor II,” “Laws of Madness” with Brad Pitt, and “Psycho” within a year.
A’KITCHEN CABINET’ REUNION and more of the GOP was held at Jimmy’s in BevHills Wednesday night. Betty Adams, newly returned to L.A., hosted the gathering, which included Nancy Reagan, Bill Wilson, Harriet and Ardie Deutsch, Marion and Earle Jorgensen (he celebrates his 100th birthday June 22 at the L.A. Country Club), Rosemarie and Bob Stack, Mary Jane and Charles Wick, Georgiana and Ricardo Montalban, etc. Many of this group had contributed to two issues of Vanity Fair — July and August — devoted to the Reagans In the June VF issue (covered by David Duchovny), another of Nancy Reagan’s close friends is interviewed: Merv Griffin. But this story is devoted to him, with pix (by Harry Bernson) on Merv’s many domains: BevHills, La Quinta, Carmel Valley, and on his yacht. … Will Don Johnson’s showbiz pals get to meet his fiancee, 29-year-old SanFran debutante Kelley Phleger, in Cannes? She is reportedly “very media-shy.” Johnson heads to France for WB’s “Goodbye Love.” And Cannes is no place for anyone who is admittedly “media-shy”. … Songs made famous by Frank Sinatra will be concert-conducted by Quincy Jones at the Sinatra Las Vegas Celeb Classic Gala May 30 at the MGM Grand’s new Premier Ballroom, with this spectacular lineup of performing talent: Vic Damone, Paul Anka, James Ingram, Diane Schuur, Patti Austin, Wayne Newton (who co-hosts the tourney with Barbara Sinatra), and Debbie Allen directing. Of course, an equal list of celebs will be golfing to benefit the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center & Opportunity Village. … Meanwhile, attorney Patricia Glaser (representing Tina, Nancy and Frank Jr.) tells me they have successfully been able to retrieve some classic 1960 acetate recordings of Frank, which were being auctioned. “We sent a demand letter and he (the would-be auctioneer) returned them to us.” They learned about the acetates and “his” plans to auction ’em on the Internet!
SILENTS ARE GOLDEN — film, that is. Rob Reiner is honorary chairman for the L.A. Chamber Orch’s ninth annual Silent Film Gala at the Alex in Glendale on May 16. Buster Keaton’s classic 1927 “The General,” screens, with the LACO accompanying the film with Carl Davis’ score. Rob tells me it’s one of his favorite silent films. He was there last year for the 1928 Marion Davies starrer “Show People” as well. “It’s great to see these movies on a giant screen, not on TV, and with live music,” Reiner added. He had tried to launch a movie musical himself, with a William Goldman script and music by Stephen Sondheim. … “Say It With Music,” starring Marilyn Lovell and Peter Matz, plays one night at the Freud Playhouse at UCLA May 11, with great B’way and Hollywood music. This performance is midway in the run of “Pajama Game” at the Playhouse under Matz’s musical direction. He continues to N.Y.’s Guild Hall June 26-27. He, Darryl Hickman and Charles Nelson Reilly are readying “Sardi’s” for B’way. It’s based on Vincent Sardi’s life and restaurant, natch, in the period of Texas Guinan and D.W. Griffith — up to the move of the current Sardi’s site.