‘Brockovich’ sequel could be in cards

GOOD MORNING: A sequel to “Erin Brockovich”? Why not? Julia Roberts told me it’s her favorite film. And the real Brockovich told she was thrilled with Julia’s portrayal — and she certainly should be. Julia is masterful, dramatic, comedic, sexy (and revealing). The real Brockovich parlayed Roberts’ baring movie wardrobe by arriving at the Village preem in a gown (from Nicole’s on the Sunset Strip) barebacked, bare-sided and more. It caused as much eyebrow-lifting (and eye-lowering) as Jennifer Lopez’s at the Grammys. Brockovich said she is now preparing, along with attorney Ed Masry (with whom she still works), for a November court case vs. PG&E — this one about a similar poisonous problem in Kettleman Hills in the San Joaquin Valley. Brockovich was back at her Westlake office at Masry & Vititoe as a “legal investigator” Wednesday ayem, only briefly. She reverted to her motherly role when she received a call telling that 9-year-old daughter Elizabeth (the 1-year-old portrayed in the movie) had come down with a 103-degree fever and Erin rushed her to a doctor … At the preem, Julia was hugging the child actors who played Brockovich’s kids; they obviously had a great relationship with her in making the marvelously realistic pic, which should be a box office blockbuster and reap awards for Roberts next year, even though it’s such an early year release. As for the real family of Brockovich, Erin is married (one year) to handsome thesp Eric Ellis. Meanwhile, Roberts’ handsome boyfriend Benjamin Bratt, beaming at her side along the line of vidinterviewers, told “Access Hollywood’s” Pat O’Brien his opinion of Robert’s performance: “She was all legs, breasts and balls and they’re made of brass!” When I asked Bratt if he and Julia have plans to team (again), he noted, “It’s on the horizon” … As for the question of a sequel to “Brockovich,” Jersey Films’ Danny DeVito allowed, “Why not?”

IT WAS IRONIC THAT stars portraying two real-life characters were congratting each other at the preem: Julia Roberts to Oscar-nominee Denzel Washington for the best performance of his career in “The Hurricane,” and Washington praising Julia. The multi-talented Denzel has now received a greenlight from Fox Searchlight to direct an untitled sailor-psychiatrist yarn by Antwone Fisher, ex Sony security guard. Fox would, of course, like Denzel to also star. Who wouldn’t? Meanwhile, he may act first in WB’s “Training Day” as a bad LAPD cop. How timely! … At the preem, it was a delight reunioning with Albert Finney, another great actor, who gladly said he was here from England “to help beat the drum” for the film, in which he said he’d had a marvelous experience working with Julia and director Steven Soderbergh. Finney, playing Julia’s boss, Calif. attorney Ed Masry, has no British accent whatsoever — even less than Michael Caine’s in “Cider House Rules” … At the preem, “Erin Brockovich” was interrupted several times by applause following scenes by Roberts and Finney; the mood continued in high gear in a tented post-party (sponsored by gloss.com and designed by John Chuck and Angel City) as guests anticipate big boxoffice for the pic bowing Friday.

IT’S ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS.” That’s Regis Philbin’s (correct) interpretation of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’s” five daytime Emmy nominations. “Ridiculous!” Reege repeated; “Who could be more primetime than ‘Millionaire’?” He also reminded that he has never won for his real daytime show, “Live With Regis & Kathie Lee,” adding, “And many of those past winners are long gone from the air!” As for the replacement for the departing Kathie Lee Gifford, Regis says “tapes (of would-be cohosts) are pouring in.” Since his beautiful wife Joy has repeatedly been a wonderful guest hostess with Philbin, I asked Reege how he would feel about her as the regular cohost. “I could probably live with it,” he laughed. So could we. Regis just completed weeklong Florida dates with Don Rickles; Reege now admits, with the nighttime TV tapings of “Millionaire,” the days of playing clubs may now be over … Meanwhile, you couldn’t have found happier Daytime Emmy nominees than Donny and Marie Osmond. I talked to them on a break from taping their show Wednesday and the usually enthusiastic Osmonds were even more effusive with their five nominations. Both bubbled over, telling me after 37 years on various TV shows, this is their first nomination. “This really means so much to us, for all the people who work so hard on this show — for two years.” They’re doubly happy, with a pickup for a third season. I asked the Osmonds’ opinion of Regis being included in the daytime category and they laughed, “We’re lucky we’re not a gameshow!” … Howard Strickling would have loved this: the Publicists Guild will pay tribute to MGM in celebration of its 75th anni at the praisers’ awards, Wednesday at the Beverly Hilton. Among stars of Leo’s golden era who will attend: Cyd Charisse and Tony Martin, Gloria de Haven, Betty Garrett, Kathryn Grayson, Janet Leigh, Anne Francis, Margaret O’Brien, Ann Rutherford and Audrey Totter … Hollace Davids, sr. VP of special projects at Universal Pictures, is honored as California State Mother by the California American Mothers Inc. Angels of the Year 2000, 65th anni, March 25 at the Sheraton Universal. Guest speaker is Sarah Purcell, celebrity Mother of the Year.

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