Carrey takes Darabont’s breath away

GOOD MORNING: “Jim Carrey is the most committed actor I have ever seen — and he’s trying out totally new territory,” director Frank Darabont enthused to me from the set of “The Majestic” in Ferndale, Calif. Carrey plays a screenwriter who loses his job after being accused by the Hollywood Un-American Activities Committee of being a Communist. “He suffers amnesia after an auto accident, ends up in the small town where people think he’s a returned WWII vet. Sure the picture has a message,” says Darabont, “but the caboose is not the engine. The first job of a movie is to entertain and touch people’s emotions. This picture will help remind people what ideals our country was founded on and what we fought for. Those who came back form WWII where they fought fascism were now the victims of a witch hunt betraying those ideas and ideals. We betrayed them in a lot of blood. The movie is wonderfully Capra-esque. I’ve always seen Jimmy Stewart in Jim Carrey. He’s such a fan of his and loves his movies. We really vibe’d.” Darabont says Carrey as the screenwriter, is seen in the bar at the Formosa cafe, on the day he learns he’s been blacklisted. Also the day his girlfriend dumps him. He’s in the depths of emotions. Jim did a beautiful job — one he’s not been given the opportunity to do. He’s the most committed actor I’ve ever seen. When he shows up on the set it starts vibrating. He took my breath away.”

COME AND SEE THOSE DANCING FEET — live and on TV. That’s “42nd Street,” the revival that started previews this week at the Ford Theater and which will get a historical toasting June 2 with “Opening Night/42nd Street” a special on PBS. Tony Adams and his “My Favorite Broadway” partner Jeff Rowland of Metropolitan Entertainment are readying the special. It will cover not only the revival and history of the show, but the story of the famous “42nd Street,” the WB movie of the street in the 1930s when it was in its heyday with roof garden Follies and where every theater was packed. David Merrick converted the pic into a musical of the 1980s while the street was rundown and littered with porn shops. And now — the street is ablaze again as the revival opens May 2 in time to qualify for the Tonys. Adams has produced the Julie Andrews-hosted “My Favorite Broadway — The Leading Ladies,” “My Favorite B’way — The Love Songs,” and upcoming “Broadway and Beyond” … Adams is now finalizing the April 16 Carnegie Hall Benefit and Salute to Dudley Moore: A Man For All Seasons. Among those appearing/performing: Chevy Chase, Bo Derek, Eric Idle, Barbara Walters, Mary Tyler Moore, Amy Irving, Jill Eikenberry, Oscar Peterson and “Blast!” Cleo Laine and John Dankworth wing in from London — Dudley was their piano player in the early days … Julie Andrews, rehearsing the “live” “On Golden Pond,” tapes a special tribute. And Andrews receives the Ella Award April 25 from the Society of Singers, chaired by Ginny Mancini at the BevHilton. Performers here will include: Carol Burnett, Robert Goulet, Merv Griffin, Dick Van Dyke, Andy Williams and Michael Feinstein. On Thursday Feinstein, after surprising Katie Couric on her 10th anni on “Today,” invited her to sing at his Feinstein’s club in the Regency — the fee to go to the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance established in the name of her late husband Jay Monahan. Feinstein’s now back in L.A. winding an album of Jay Livingston and Ray Evans songs — with Melissa Manchester recording their “Never Let Me Go” April 12. Nat King Cole sang it in “The Scarlet Hour.” Rosemary Clooney, now singing at Feinstein’s includes the Livingston-Evans tune “Ya Got Class” in her repertoire. She duettted the tune with Bob Hope in “Here Come The Girls” — in 1953!

THREE FAMILIAR FACES TEAM to star in CBS’ half-hour sitcom pilot, “Late Boomers” — Burt Reynolds. Robert Urich and Joe Regalbuto (“Murphy Brown”). The ATG-produced series is written and produced by Mitchell Katlin and Nat Bernstein. Thirty years ago, Urich appeared with Reynolds in Chi’s “The Rainmaker” playing his younger brother. Burt recommended that Bob should come to Calif. to pursue his pic-TV career. In the series, they play former football player buddies with Urich now a sports announcer for the Chicago Bears. Regalbuto now plays Reynolds’ younger brother … Donna Summer, Stevie Wonder and Brian McKnight are the initial stars of the entertainment roster set by Nancy Davis’ Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis’ Eighth annual Race to Erase Multiple Sclerosis gala, the Rock & Soul to Erase MS, May 18 at the Century Plaza hotel, which will also be celebrating its grand reopening of its multi-million-$ renovation. On June 5, David Foster releases a Sony Epic album in which 10 stars chorus his “Lean on Me” theme. The gala is sponsored by Tommy Hilfiger and VH1’s John Sykes — sisters of both men have MS. Davis also reports the MS Symposium will be held May 19 at the hotel where new advances will be revealed. She has had MS 10 years and says “We have to find a cure.” … Former child actor and producer Tommy Cook reports that his mother, Fern Jane Cook, died Thursday morning — just shy of her 101st birthday! “She was one of the very good stage moms,” he sadly says … Ross Johnson dissects Elie Samaha and Andrew Stevens in the May issue of Premiere and also in next week’s edition of the L.A. Daily Journal. The story of the duo, Franchise Pictures and Intertainment, broke in Daily Variety last year … And in the next issue of Brill’s Content, Bobby Zarem defies the old adage that a press agent should be seen and not heard. He gives Abigail Pogrebin an earful.

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