GOOD MORNING: A very excited ‘N Sync member, 23-year-old Lance Bass, phoned from the Star City Soyuz training site in Russia with word the flight date is now set for Oct. 28. He will be aboard the two-day flight to the International Space Station, on which he will spend five days before the one-day return trip. Wednesday, Bass told producer David Krieff, here in L.A., of his excitement — he was fitted for the half-million-$ space suit he’ll wear. P.S. The suit will be emblazoned with names of the sponsors of the flight — y’know like suits of race car drivers, international soccer players. etc. They’ll be seen on his TV shows, seven half-hours, one hourlong from the space trek. Sponsors to date include Radio Shack and Procter & Gamble. A major soft drink pact is percolating and international sponsors will also be sold ($2 million-$5 million apiece) for airing globally, says Krieff. The commercials will be CGI’d from Earth into the space craft shows. Lance will also be singing during the space journey and music is being written for segments he will also produce. Attorneys for the Russians winged here this week to complete a 400-page pact with Krieff. The William Morris office reps the parties and the project. The cost of the venture is $20 million. And the cost of the insurance “is huge.”
IT’LL BE AN ENTIRELY NEW LOOK for 20-year-old Destiny’s Child star Beyonce Knowles, humming along with her movie career following her Foxy Cleopatra role in “Austin Powers in Goldmember.” She is acting/singing in Par-MTV “Fighting Temptations.” Director Jonathan Lynn, on the Senoia, Ga., location, says Beyonce will this time be seen like herself in jeans, T-shirts. There are 20 principal characters, headed by Knowles and Cuba Gooding Jr., in the pic about a giant gospel choir competition. Beyonce is no stranger to that music. She’ll also perform numbers for which she’s made her name; they’ll be in the pic’s nightclub scenes. With the emphasis on music, Lynn sez there will be two soundtrack albums. He also promises, “I can’t think of any reason why this film will not be PG-rated. There’s no bad language and no nudity” … Reports in the London Sun that “Angelina has decided to get back in touch” with her father — after seeing how distraught he was on “Access Hollywood” — “are untrue,” Jon Voight tells me. But he hasn’t given up hope. While Jolie’s in London working on the “Tomb Raider” sequel, Voight continues preparations on two films with his Crystal Sky banner, “Baby Genius 2” and “Unleashed.” He’s also awaiting the release of Andy Davis’ “Holes” for Disney starring youngster Shia LaBeouf.
HE WAS GOING TO CALL IT “The Return of Walt,” but has now decided to title it “The Return of the Animator.” He is producer Roger Corman, who says Frances Doel is writing the script. It’s Corman’s idea: the head of an animation company who comes back to life in 2066, 100 years after having been cryogenically frozen. The “fictitious” (he claims) studio head comes back to life to find his company on the verge of bankruptcy and by doing remakes of his classic pix, leads the studio back to new heights. I asked Corman if he was serious, but he assures me the low-budgeter will be made. And that he will choose a different name than “Walt.” Yeah, but … Bruce McNall, onetime partner of David Begelman in Gladden Entertainment who owned the L.A. Kings, completed his five-year prison sentence and has now signed a deal with Disney-owned Hyperion publishers for his book. He’s completed it with Michael D’Antonio “Fun While It Lasted.” He says it will tell all — what can happen to someone falling from the top to the very depths. And yes, he will name names — names of those who were kind during those five years, top Hollywood names who kept in contact with him while he was imprisoned, often in “the hole” for weeks and transported from one prison facility to another. He says he will, however, have to “tone down” some of those prison experiences. McNall and his lovely lady Dayna Hester were dining at Dan Tana’s where he also revealed that Michael Viner wants him to do the audio version of his book, much like other Hollywood authors … McNall is also back in the film biz, with supporters Robert Geringer, Peter Hoffman and Alan Salke. One project’s “The Swedish Job” by Will Rokos, another “Shadow Boxer” with Susan Hoffman producing.
THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH of Elvis Presley will be noted Aug. 16 in many ways — one of ’em the legiter, “A Reading of Elvis and Juliet,” a play by Mary (Mrs. Fred) Willard. It will be played on the stage of the ImprovOlympics in Hollywood as well as in theaters in Austin, Albuquerque, Oxford, Miss., Indianapolis, N.Y. (Abingdon Theater Co.), London (the New End), Las Vegas (the Greek Isle), Portland, Ore., and Little Rock, Ark. The L.A. company includes JoAnne Worley, Richard Kline, Johnny Dark, Clare Sera, Vicki Davis, Hope Willard (their daughter), Danielle Chuchran, Flannery Lunsford and Fred Willard as “Art Lesley: King of the Elvis Impersonators.” Fred is an Elvis fan — he enjoys impersonating him — in an authentic Elvis Presley suit ($2,500). For a change of pace, Willard will star in Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes” at UCLA’s Freud, bowing Sept. 17. Elvis Presley, Cole Porter — well, there’s still Shakespeare.