GOOD MORNING: How much violence should be seen on television — either real or fictional? You’ll soon see what you didn’t see televised on the O.J. Simpson criminal trial and you’ll see or hear what you didn’t see or hear during the civil trial — where television was barred in that Santa Monica court. It was all revealed, both on film and live, Monday night at the DGA when HBO screened its docu, “Juror Number 5: 58 Days of Duty on the O.J. Simpson Civil Trial” followed by a first time meeting of Juror No. 5, Deena Mullen, with plaintiff Fred Goldman, his attorney Daniel Petrocelli, plus KNBC’s legal reporter Manny Medrano in a panel femceed by CNN’s “Burden of Proof” cohost Greta Van Susteren. The audience participation following the screening and panel discussion proved that these trials (of the Nicole Simpson-Ron Goldman murders, five years ago, June 12) will be topics of criminal, legal, and moral debates for a long time to come. Goldman said he had wished the civil trial had been televised so the entire world could have seen the horror of the murders unseen in the criminal trial. Attorney Petrocelli disagreed. HBO agreed to make this film because they, too, believed the horror and brutality had not been told or shown. Goldman and his daughter sat in front of us at the DGA theater and they shook emotionally during many of the scenes. Goldman said he wished “the criminal jury had seen the case presented so clearly (as the civil).” Petrocelli called the criminal trial “more of a media event.” Of course, in the criminal trial, the defendant did not have to testify but in the civil, the plaintiff (Goldman) had the right to force the defendant (Simpson) to testify. They all believed the judge in the criminal trial also allowed theatrics that were not allowed in the second. Goldman also said that the criminal trial’s defense attorneys “belong behind bars along with their client.” They all felt this HBO film is an important contribution to help balance the cause. In case you wondered, the Goldmans haven’t collected anything from Simpson despite the verdict. Juror Mullen is a remarkable woman. She is a lighting and scenic designer — and made countless drawings during the trial that are shown in the docu — in addition to the close-up photographs of the victims, plus dramatic portraits of an accused Simpson. And Mullen’s dramatic verbal descriptions made the evidence totally visual. The talented Mullen became obviously emotional at the finale and admitted she still has nightmares. She is currently designing sets for Eric Overmeyer’s “On the Verge” at the 24th St. Theater and lighting David Lindsay-Abaire’s “The Devil Inside” at the White Fire Theater.
ATTORNEY PETROCELLI, 20 years with Mitchell, Silberberg and Knupp, allowed that his firm spent $6 million on the case — of course receiving nothing in return. They just wanted to do it. (Petrocelli lost 30 pounds during the trial!) His law firm has represented many show business clients (studios included) over the years. Among them today are Harvey and Bob Weinstein’s Miramax and Petrocelli is currently representing their “Dogma” feature which the Weinsteins bought back from Miramax to shield Disney from accusations by Catholic groups. Petrocelli’s seen “Dogma” and says he doesn’t feel Kevin Smith’s pic is anti-Catholic … “Juror Number 5” debuts Tuesday on HBO. The unique evening screening was presented by HBO’s John Hoffman of Sheila Nevins’ docu unit, and Randy Barbato, the pic’s director-producer (with Fenton Bailey of World of Wonder Prods.). There were six other jurors in the audience — agreeing with Mullen’s presentation of the trial. The emotional evening finale’d with much-welcomed supper by Celia Hollander’s Food Works.
ALL IN THE FAMILY: Edward Norton, directing his first feature, “Keeping the Faith” for Spy Glass/Disney in Union Square, was visited on the set by director Gregory Hoblit, directing his New Line “Frequency” two blocks away. Hoblit gave Norton his first feature role in “Primal Fear.” They proximity of the two pix is a blessing for Howard “Hawk” Koch — he’s producing both pix … Lyricist Hal David receives the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters’ first Ivor Novello International Achievement Award Thursday at London’s Grosvenor House. It’s the Brit music industry’s premier honor for songwriters, composers and music publishers. Oscar and Grammy-winner David is a past ASCAP Pres. and current board member … The Verna Harrah clinic at UCLA is dedicated today. It is designed to assist victims of rape with a safe and private environment … Dustin Hoffman spent the day with students at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and TV — from morning till late afternoon telling them their ” mission in the 21st century is to tell stories of the human condition” … The invite reads: Donnie and Joe Smith wish they were inviting you to the wedding of their son Jeffrey Duke (Smith), but alas, no. At least he wrote a book about weddings and marriage titled “Life Sentence.” “We’re celebrating the release with a (he’s still a) Bachelor Party” — Thursday (27) at Spago, BevHills. P.S. The book’s funny, too … While Susan Lucci won her Emmy — after 19 nominations — composer Earl Rose finally won with his first — after 12 nominations. His next project is an album “Color, Rhythm and Magic,” a tribute to music from Walt Disney Studios’ classic animated movies to be released on Varese-Sarabande.