GOOD MORNING: Robert Downey Jr. was back at work, in front of the cameras. On Tuesday, he filmed a musicvideo for the song “I Want Love.” It’s the first single from Elton John’s CD of all-new material, “Songs From the West Coast” (Universal), written by Elton and longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin. The album will be on the stands Oct. 2. The airdate of the single to be set; it was shot at the Greystone Manor in BevHills, with Sam Taylor-Wood directing Downey as he lip-synchs to Elton’s singing most appropriate lyrics … Downey’s agent, ICM’s Ed Limato, has been receiving several important offers for Downey to return to film and TV roles. Downey, nominated as a supporting actor in a comedy in “Ally McBeal,” will attend the Emmys … Wednesday night, Laurence Fishburne took the opportunity of his guestint with Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show” to announce his engagement to actress Gina Torres (“Any Day Now”), who was in the audience. Fishburne was on the show to talk experiences on “Apocalypse Now Redux,” in which he appeared when he was 14. The thesp just celebrated his 40th birthday. He’s next on screen as one of the voices inside Bill Murray in the Farrelly brothers’ “Osmosis Jones.”
ANOTHER DEADLINE FOR MEL BROOKS: Canal Plus, which has taken over ownership of “The Producers,” Mel’s hilarious 1967 movie, wants to rush out a DVD version, including some equally funny outtakes, and they want to include interviews with Mel today. He is also busy with a Miramax coffee table book on the success story of the B’way Tony winner. Publishers also are talking printing the original movie script … Brooks reminds us of the history of the filmed “Producers,” which he says segued from Avco Embassy and Joe Levine to Dino de Laurentiis to Barry Spikings and EMI to Canal Plus. As for the play, Mel says, “We’re thinking of taking it to Japan, Australia — do you think they’d go for it in Germany?” An L.A./SanFran company would be the next “logical” company outside B’way. As for Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, Brooks believes (hopes?) both will stay beyond their March contract finales. What about Broderick’s previously noted time out to TV “The Music Man”? “I don’t know if he will do it now. I hope both don’t leave the show.” There’s been no thought of any replacements.
AHMET ERTEGUN IS RECUPING after triple bypass and valve replacement surgery at a N.Y. hospital. The well-liked record titan celebrated his 78th birthday July 31 — in the hospital … In D.C. Tuesday night, the Creative Coalition hosted the first of four events targeting the impact of runaway production on the U.S. economy. The Demo-GOP event was held at the National Press Club followed by a meet between Lawrence Bender and Tony Goldwyn at Rupperts with Rep. Harold Ford. The next Creative Coalition event will be in Gotham Sept. 10, with L.A. and SanFran to follow … N.Y. and L.A. eateries aren’t the only ones to name dishes after celebrities: Washington’s Kramer Bookstore’s Afterwards eatery created the “Condit Club” sandwich — full of bologna … “No working press” are allowed at the Mondrian post-preem party Tuesday following Monday’s DGA screening of Miramax’s “The Others,” starring Nicole Kidman and produced by her about-to-be-ex husband Tom Cruise. Well, excuuuuse me! … I never correct other’s stories, but the Lizzie Grubman incident has launched tangential ailments: a N.Y. Post story claimed L.A. publicist Nancy Kane is closing her praisery to bring her clients to the Grubman/Siegel banner. A distraught Kane has asked me to assure all (her clients and press) that “the story is completely untrue.” But, she adds, “We have offered our support in terms of Grubman West Coast accounts pending an official working arrangement. Further discussions will resume at a future time.”
HOLLYWOOD BOWLING: William Warfield, 81, wings to L.A. to narrate “Show Boat,” on the Hollywood Bowl’s great stage Sunday. He sang “Ol’ Man River” as Joe in the 1951 MGM classic. Dick Van Patten will play Cap’n Andy at the Bowl; he bowed in “The Eternal Road” on B’way in 1936 (!) as “Little Isaac.” Warfield lingers a week in L.A. to perform in the Bowl’s Great American night, reading portions of Aaron Copland’s “The Lincoln Portrait.” Bowl principal conductor John Mauceri also tells me of “TV Night” at the Bowl, Aug. 26 — a first. It celebrates the 50th anni of the Hallmark Hall of Fame. And will include appearances by Florence Henderson and Shirley Jones in audience sing-alongs on their show themes (respectively, “The Brady Bunch” and “The Partridge Family”), plus appearances by TV favorites Mary Tyler Moore, Kelsey Grammer, etc. The TV Academy Foundation’s education arm will benefit from a percentage of ticket sales that night … The saga of the 1914-1916 Antarctic trek of Sir Ernest Shackleton and crew of 28, stuck in the ice 635 days (!), hits the screen in September in “The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition” by filmmaker George Butler, of “Pumping Iron” fame. Continued interest in the expedition has Kim and Art Garfunkel, Donna and Dan Aykroyd and the Bobby Kennedys Jr. interested in retracing Shackleton’s trek — hopefully not for 635 days!