Every President needs an Army

GOOD MORNING: I offered my services as presidential press secretary to Warren Beatty when he takes office. And I promised not to pull a George Stephanopoulos and reveal any presidential or White House insider info when I leave after Beatty runs for a second term. Beatty laughed, but I wasn’t kidding. And I assumed he wasn’t kidding about his reported presidential plunge — but, then again, it’s hard to know when Warren is or isn’t kidding. It’s also sometimes hard to know what Warren is saying, since he is so often saying nothing. Like now. But he did make one thing clear: “I am not returning all the other calls but I am returning yours, since we have known each other 39 years.” But who counts? “I know what you want me to answer,” he admitted, “but I am not going to answer any questions.” I decided to ask anyway, since the N.Y. Times headed its story “Actor Hinting That He’ll Run For President,” and since Newsweek follows in its Aug. 23 issue saying “Annette Says Yes To Warren’s Run,” claiming Beatty “is seriously considering running for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.” At one Demo fund-raising event in Hollywood, I sat next to Warren and longtime Demo backer and strategist (the late) Pamela Harriman as they talked candidates — none of whom were Warren at that time. So, howcum he’s thinking of running now? Why was he unhappy to make a choice between would-be candidates Vice President Al Gore and former Sen. Bill Bradley, as the Times had said? “I never said that,” claimed Beatty, repeating, “And I’m not going to answer your questions” about getting in the race. Despite his (usual) reluctance to elaborate, while effectively managing to exasperate, he did allow himself to say, “There must be somebody better than me” to run for president. Obviously not, judging by the number of calls he’s gotten (and refused to answer). Thanks, Warren, my offer still holds.

I’M STILL BUTTING INTO everyone else’s business. When I was standing alongside Sharon Stone, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones at the Spago post-preem party of Albert Brooks’ USA Films feature “The Muse,” I asked, “Why don’t you (Sharon and Michael) make another film? It’s been seven years since ‘Basic Instinct.’ On second thought,” I mused, “why don’t the three of you — Sharon, Michael and Catherine — make a film together?” That met with a happy reaction from the trio. So, I left it for a Muse to inspire a script. Sharon’s manager Chuck Binder said he would like to see, in 2000, Sharon return to making big films with superstars like Douglas, since she’s now wrapping another smaller film, “Beautiful Joe.” Douglas allowed he would like to make another film with Sharon: “She’s great.” As for making a film with his friend Catherine, he admitted, “She’s a very talented actress — it all depends on getting the good material.” Meanwhile, there’s no question of their close relationship, “but we’re not engaged,” Douglas quickly said. Meanwhile, she’s met his mother, Diana, and dined with his father Kirk and Anne Douglas. And she’s played golf with Michael and Kirk at Hillcrest. You know the old saying, “The family that plays together, stays together” … Michael, with “Wonder Boys” in the can, now is producing “One Night at McCool’s” (for his Further banner and USA), in which he’ll work two days with stars Liv Tyler, Paul Reiser, John Goodman, Matt Dillon and Reba McEntire.

PRODUCER HERB NANAS AND ALBERT BROOKS took off for N.Y. after “The Muse’s” L.A. preem-party at Spago. Nanas, who also manages Brooks, admitted the pic was brought in for $15 million, but it certainly looks like a lot more! He said Brooks was able to get the entire cast, including the star cameos, “with just one phone call” — and that includes Andie MacDowell, Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Lorenzo Lamas, Jennifer Tilly, Rob Reiner, Wolfgang Puck, James Cameron and Martin Scorsese (“He should be an actor,” said Brooks). They all worked for less than their usual salaries … As for Sharon’s nude scene (a quickie), Brooks admitted it was her suggestion: “It was not in the script.” It certainly made the point, as proven by MacDowell’s reaction. Sharon was accompanied at the preem-party by husband Phil Bronstein, who had undergone angioplasty a week ago. He said he was OK the very next day. And certainly looked it! … Brooks told me he’ll next star in Christine Lahti’s first feature directorial stint, “My First Mister” with Leelee Sobieski, if they get the financing. Over $270,000 was raised at the preem-party for Planet Hope, created by Sharon and sister Kelly in 1991. Next week, 150 children and their mothers will be sent to summer camp … At the lavish Spago party (as only Wolfgang Puck can create) a Mercedes-Benz was auctioned, with Fry’s Electronics buying it for $50,000. Tiffany & Co. donated two broaches for the auction and the Lee Iacocca family was a hefty benefactor for the event. And talking cars, while the Leviathan-sized limos were arriving at the well-run Spago-party, Ed Begley Jr.’s small electric car pulled up with Ed and his expectant lady Rochelle Carson. Their baby girl arrives in two months. And a wedding comes soon, too. Begley’s busy on HBO’s pilot, “Lloyd What Happened?,” Tom Hanks producing, and voicing “The Pigs Next Door” for Fox Family.

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