‘Town’ stars know who’s in charge

GOOD MORNING: I was surrounded by Warren Beatty, “Town and Country” director Peter Chelsom, the pic’s producers Andrew Karsch, Simon Fields, Fred Roos, Cyrus Yavneh and New Line’s Lynn Harris. Diane Keaton and Garry Shandling were getting ready to start a scene and Goldie Hawn was being made up in her trailer. Since all of the principal stars boast credits that include writing, directing, producing and starring, I wondered if the filmmakers were being told by the quartet of players how their movie should be made. Helmer Chelsom was quick to point out he, too, was an actor so he could handle the situation, should it arise (which it hadn’t yet). But Goldie laughingly told me she had occasionally “made a suggestion.” Beatty was the most relaxed I had ever seen him, especially after his duties on “Bulworth” (as producer, director, screenwriter, star). “This is like a vacation,” he said as he relaxed in his chair, biting into a breakfast burrito. The location was the ultra-modern, nonconventional Lawson-Weston Brentwood house designed by architect Owen Moss. In the movie, it is occupied by Hawn and her just-thrown-out-of the-house husband Shandling while best friend Beatty, in his underwear, is in an upstairs bedroom. He is having an affair with Hawn. Meanwhile, Beatty is separating from Keaton, his wife of 25 years and mother of their two children … The pic is like a French farce, including doors opening and closing on the stars. Bill Fraker is the master D.P. catching the shenanigans. No wonder the mood is high and Beatty is so relaxed. In view of this assembled talent (and with the above group so amicably arranged around me), it was time to ask about the pic’s budget. I was told it had been $40 million, but New Line raised it, to account for the castings that also include Andie McDowell as one of Beatty’s paramours and now Charlton Heston. He plays (for three days) McDowell’s very rich, conservative father who won the 1952 Gold Medal in the Biathalon for skiing — and shooting. Beatty, who in real life once made an appearance for rigid gun control, faces Heston in scenes this week shooting (excuse it!) at Greystone, which is doubling for Heston-McDowell’s mansion in Sun Valley. Coincidentally, McDowell and husband Paul Qualley are selling their mountain ranch home on 3,000 acres in Montana and moving to Asheville, N.C. (McDowell works next in “The Muse,” to shoot in L.A.). Marion Seldes plays Heston’s wife and McDowell’s mother in “Town & Country.” Jenna Elfman also co-stars. The leading quartet of players has agreed to less than their ordinary salaries in exchange for percentage deals.

THE VACATION WILL BE OVER soon for Beatty. When “Town & Country” winds, he will take on his usual multi-duties for his next film. He is currently writing the script, which he will direct and in which he will star. It will again have something of import to say — this time about family. Beatty has become fully aware of family values as the father of three and as husband to Annette Bening. While he escorted me over to Hawn’s dressing room trailer, Warren told me of the joys of fatherhood and the love and respect he has for his wife. “I don’t know how she does it,” he admitted, “and she works, too” (seguing from one film to another). As Warren led me to Goldie’s trailer, he reminded me he didn’t make “Bulworth” to be a blockbuster but is satisfied with its blossoming reaction as it is headed to the Venice fest … A tearful Goldie greeted Warren and me at her trailer door and she sobbed as she gave us both big hugs. She said she had just read quotes by director Risa Bramon Garcia about Goldie’s daughter Kate Hudson (19) in Garcia’s (Par-MTV Films) “200 Cigarettes,” calling Kate, “The biggest movie star I’ve ever seen.” “A star is born!” exclaimed a tearful Goldie. “My baby is going to be a star!” When she regained her composure, Hawn assured Warren (and me) that her “baby” would be able to handle success. Hopefully as well as her mom, I added. Hawn celebrates her daughter’s newfound praises with the rest of her family in Canada: She has a month off “Town & Country” as they film sequences with the other principals. Good timing.

NANCY MEYERS AND CHARLES SHYER (“The Parent Trap”) are “taking a little time off” from their togetherness. No twins here to bring ’em back together. They’re wed three years, together 21. But they still have many plans together for their company … George Schlatter birthday’d wife Jolene with a surprise party at Le Dome. Biggest surprise was the presence of Johnny Carson (and wife Alex), who admitted to me this was the first time he’d worn a tie since leaving his show. After congratulatory faxes were read, Carson quipped, “You mean I could have sent a fax and stayed home?” Johnny has no intention of doing anything: no guestings, no acting jobs (like Garry Shandling, f’rinstance, above). Fred de Cordova, at the party with wife Janet, said he gets calls every week requesting he give Carson their offers. Fred tells ’em Carson’s standard answer: “I did it.” De Cordova and Schlatter are both advising Jay Leno not to go ahead with the proposed wrestling match with Hulk Hogan. Accidents can happen! After the Schlatters’ party, guests including Billy Wilder, Kirk Douglas and Jack Lemmon were giving autographs to fans waiting on the now-sizzling Sunset Strip.

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