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Foley wants to educate Congress to help H’w’d

GOOD MORNING: A Republican friend and supporter of Hollywood stopped by our office Tuesday. He’s Mark A. Foley of Florida’s 16th Congressional District. He’s opposed to senators Joe Lieberman and Henry Hyde and their desires to regulate/censor. He’s also chairman of the House Entertainment Industry Task Force, which coordinates policy to protect American production recording and entertainment industry jobs … He was pleased to note our column Monday, in which we assured that “Gods and Generals,” the story of the preamble to the battle of Gettysburg, would be filmed in–the U.S.! Foley noted the lack of “pride” in domestic production. Allegiance to Hollywood’s talented artisans/workers should help override the obvious economic reasons to film outside the country, he says, adding that studios share the blame on runaway production. Foley wants to educate Congress to help Hollywood just as it would other Americans, such as farmers. “I’m telling them it’s not about helping the Julia Roberts or the Mel Gibsons but the average workers: the grips, the middle-class workers in the entertainment industry.” He can “relate” to them, as he’s been on movie sets, with a few acting walk-ons. “I know what the thousands are who don’t get any screen credits,” he said. Among things he’s telling Congress: Make it easier to film in federal sites. He did so when in office in Florida. He’s also a friend and fan of Jack Valenti. “He’s tenacious, eloquent and has boundless energy,” said Foley. Coincidentally, Valenti was in L.A. Tuesday on MPAA bizness, as well as a little politicking. He is prominent in the Aug. 13 New Yorker, tagged as “The President of Hollywood: How Jack Valenti got the big studios what they wanted in Washington.” Valenti says scribe Connie Bruck “is a good writer,” but adds of the content, “a lot didn’t happen.” But Valenti has been there before and allows, “It’s part of the turf.” Worth noting in the article is the space given Lew Wasserman; Bruck is writing a book on Wasserman and MCA.

IT’S NOT ELAINE’S and it’s not Michael’s Pub. But there was Woody Allen at Hollywood’s Musso & Frank’s Monday night and Tuesday and tonight at Culver City’s Jazz Bakery, tooting with Eddy Davis & his New Orleans Jazz Band. It’s all for DreamWorks’ “Curse of the Jade Scorpion Tour.” Chatting with us at Musso’s, he admitted music is his first love and that’s one of the reasons he’s subjecting himself to p.a.’s. The pic, set in the ’40s, gives him another chance to air the musicians and great bands of the era –something he’d wished to have been a part of. “I’ve got nothing against Hollywood,” he said of his reluctance to film here. “It’s just that I hate traveling.” On this trip he was accompanied by wife Soon-Yi and their two children. They spent the day at the beach in Malibu Tuesday … Jeffrey Katzenberg sat with us and Woody at Musso’s. He declared Allen “a national treasure.” Allen starred in DreamWorks’ “Antz” and “Small Time Crooks,” which did “very well” for the studio, said Katzenberg. He has one more film to do on his current DreamWorks deal. Katzenberg congratted Terry Press on getting Allen to wing out here. But I must say Woody looked bewildered (maybe his usual look?) as he was shunted by a platoon of press agents to join the required photo op shots with costars Helen Hunt, Charlize Theron, David Ogden Stiers and Elizabeth Berkley. Hunt, a million-$-a-seg star of TV’s “Mad About You” and a $10-million-a-pic feature star, took the usual “thank you” salary to work with Woody. She admitted she hasn’t read anything else to entice her back to work, having had a non-stop 10-year stretch. She’s trying her hand at writing … When the party at Musso’s wound down, Charlize and boyfriend Stuart Townsend (“24 Hours”) hied to a much newer Hollywood spot, Les Deux Cafe, to celebrate her birthday (her 26th).

AN INVITATION-ONLY TRIBUTE to Jack Lemmon will be held; the family requests those who wish to attend please call his prod’n company, Jalem … Jim Belushi and wife Jenny expect their second child in Feb. The have a 2-year-old daughter, Jamison Bess. Daddy’s series “According to Jim” bows Sept. 26 on ABC … “The Young and the Restless” star Joshua Morrow married schoolteacher Tobe Keeney Aug. 4 in Santa Barbara. Last month, the groom was named best hero at the Soap Opera Awards … Melody Scott Thomas, now in “Vagina Monologues” at the Canon in BevHills, inked a CBS/Columbia TV pact to continue playing leading lady Nikki Newman on “Y&R” … William Asher, vet producer-director-writer of shows with Lucy, Elizabeth Montgomery, Danny Thomas, etc. celebrates his 80th birthday today. He’s writing his autobio … Former legit press agents Peggy Phillips and Shirley Carroll O’Connor have embarked on bookwriting careers. O’Connor’s book is “Life is a Circus”; Phillips’ latest, “Two Women Under Water,” is her bizarre scuba-diving encounter with — Leni Riefenstahl … With cloning on the front pages, I wondered if George Lucas decision to title his next, “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones,” was a recent inspiration. No, I’m reminded that over 20 years ago, when Lucas wrote the first “Star Wars,” Obi-Wan Kenobi was talking to Luke about cloning. Back then, it was not a moral question, but a factual one. Send in the clones.

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