GOOD MORNING: With apologies to Robert Burns, the best-laid schemes o’ mice and — movie makers often go over their skeds. “It was a freak accident,” Sherry Lansing says, describing the cause of the shutdown of Par’s “The Hunted.” Oscar-winner (“Traffic”) Benicio Del Toro suffered a fractured wrist in a fight scene with Tommy Lee Jones when both were reaching for a knife. Del Toro was rushed to UCLA hospital for surgery. He had five days left to work in the film directed by Billy Friedkin. Lansing says the healing process will require five months before he can return to work. “The Hunted” was skedded for a spring 2002 release, but Lansing says it will now be pushed back to the fall. But Friedkin will be able to edit while waiting resumption of shooting in Portland, Ore. The unfortunate delay is covered 100% by insurance. Del Toro was skedded for a fall start in “The Assumption” with Juliette Binoche for director Walter Salles in Rome. Jones has already left to start “Men in Black 2,” which winds Oct. 22. … And over at Revolution, “America’s Sweethearts’ ” Julia Roberts was called back from N.Y., Catherine Zeta-Jones from Marbella, to join co-stars John Cusack and Billy Crystal to shoot a new ending. Test audiences wanted a comedic rather than a romantic ending. So one was written and shot over a weekend; on Thursday in Thousand Oaks it tested positively. The Joe Roth-directed comedy opens July 20 … But Monday night — until 3 ayem Tuesday — on 42nd Street between B’way and 8th Ave. at the Ford Theater, Dick Benjamin shot the finale of Par’s “Marci X” (Scott Rudin producing) with the theater marquee announcing the MTV Awards instead of the usual “42nd Street.” In the pic, Christine Baranski plays a right-wing senator outraged at the lyrics of the Felony Assault label’s star, Dr. Snatchcatcher, as played by Damon Wayans; the unsuspecting label owner is played by Benjamin. His daughter, played by Lisa Kudrow, tries to save the day. With hundreds outside, the interiors were shot at the 3,000-seat 175th Street Theater. Baranski exclaims of the rap star, “We’re going to stop all this filth!” Benjamin noted, “I was saying to myself — is this really happening. Me, directing a movie on 42nd Street — with all the traffic stopped. I’ve been on this street all my life!”
TUESDAY NIGHT IN NASHVILLE a spectacular turnout of stars showed up on a day’s notice to perform for the July 4 celebration of 225 years of Independence Day holidays. Norman Lear, on hand with an original copy of the Declaration of Independence he recently purchased, told me the assembly was miraculously accomplished after a brief conversation with CAA’s Rob Light, DreamWorks’ Nashville topper James Stroud and MCA’s Tony Brown. More than 60 major stars turned up for an 8 p.m. performance of “America the Beautiful” backed by the town’s top musicians, who laid down the track earlier Tuesday. They were photographed in 35mm (hair/makeup having been provided as well for those in this amazing show of love and patriotism). Among those participating: Jewel, Kenny Rogers, Brenda Lee, Martina McBride, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Lonestar, Michael W. Smith, Keith Urban, Billy Dean, Avalon, ZoeGirl, True Vibe, Litttle Big Town, BR549, Trace Atkins, Jars of Clay, Clark Family Experience and John Berry. I have never heard Lear as excited and enthusiastic as he is about this July 4 event — more details to come. Meanwhile, more than 50 arts and entertainment celebs joined members of the Creative Coalition in urging Sens. Joseph Lieberman, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Robert Byrd and Herb Kohl to withdraw their support for the Media Marketing Accountability Act of 2001 (S.792), which would give the Federal Trade Commission control over ratings. This long list ranges from A (Adam Arkin) to T (Kathleen Turner) with HBO Jeff Bewkes, Marshall Herskovitz, RIAA prexy Hilary Rosen, Court TV’s Henry Schleiff also among ’em.
“HAIR” RAISING — THE CURTAIN for an extra performance Sunday night at the Wadsworth Theater in Westwood … Backstage at the Geffen for “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks”: Carol Burnett asked Uta Hagen for an autograph, Danny DeVito sent her baskets of flowers, Bill Cosby sent a note professing his love for her … Carol Lynley surprised Warren Berlinger backstage on opening night of the play “4318 Clarendon Road” at the AT&T Digital Media Center. They co-starred in “Blue Denim” … Margaret Cho, who tells me that “Richard Pryor is the entire reason I do comedy,” will be double-billed with her pic, “I’m the One That I Want,” and Pryor’s ” “Live on Sunset” at the Beverly Cinema Thursday and Friday. Cho is readying to go out live again with a new act — a 35-city tour, L.A. on Sept. 15 at the U Amphi; Sept. 21 at the Hammerstein in N.Y. And yes it will be as explicit as before, she promises. … Everything comes to he who waits: 23 years ago, Michael Marlin was bumped from the “Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” when — a buffalo chip thrower won over. Thursday, Marlin is booked back on the show, starring Jay Leno. This time Marlin displays his unique “Luma” show with a timely “rolling blackout theme.” Hope he’s not bumped by a power outage.