Crane biopic causes chaos

GOOD MORNING: There was drama offscreen in the Aidikoff Screening Room Tuesday night before the advance magazine showing of Sony Pictures Classics’ “Auto Focus,” the Bob Crane story starring Greg Kinnear as the “Hogan’s” hero. His son, Bob Scott “Scotty” Crane (31) and wife Michele were not permitted to view the pic and were escorted out of the room despite their protests. Meanwhile, his half-brother, Robert David Crane (52), remained in the audience — he has a (small) role in the film. “I was totally emotionally wiped out,” Scotty told me. “We (he and Robert David) had not seen each other since the funeral” of their murdered father in 1978. While being led out of the screening room, young Crane distributed fliers for the audience to contact him. He was going to attempt to see a screening tonight — but it was canceled. Scotty and his mother, Patricia (known professionally as Sigrid Valdis), had been trying for years to see the script — they had their own — and Scotty had also met with director Paul Schrader to be assured it was accurate. Scotty told me Sony offered him $25,000 if he’d “write off” on the project. “We didn’t want any money — only the truth,” says Scotty. But their lawyer Lee Blackman confirmed they’d put Sony on notice that if there’s anything “defamatory” in the final pic, they’d determine proper action. One of the items concerning them about the film’s content is possibly doubting Crane as the father of Scotty. “We have DNA proof he is,” Blackman said. Maria Bello plays Patricia, Crane’s second wife, and Rita Wilson plays his first wife, Anne Crane. Willem Dafoe is John Carpenter, who was accused of the murder and acquitted in a trial 14 years later … Revelation of Bob Crane’s double life — the respected star of the series and legit performer — was that he photographed and videotaped a thousand women with him (and Carpenter) in you-know-what scenes. Kinnear says the film does “go into Crane’s lifestyle, his sexual addiction,” but admits, “there’s a body double for a lot of my stuff!” He forewarns, “Anyone going to see this movie to see explicit (sex) will be vastly disappointed. (Schrader and I) had a lot of discussions on how to handle them.” But he also reminds that “videotaping was primitive (and black-and-white) in those days compared to today’s standards.” Still photographs, though, weren’t … Sony Pictures Classics’ Tom Bernard gets word to me that Scotty was barred from the unfinished print screening Tuesday, but he will be invited to the premiere. The film opens Oct.18.

HOLLYWOOD AND WASHINGTON — well, sort of. While the House Intelligence subcommittee’s report tells of the inadequacies of the nation’s spy agencies — the CIA, National Security Agency, the FBI, etc. — the International Spy Museum bows Friday following a gala tonight in its headquarters — across the street from the FBI’s hq. Among those attending are Barbara Feldon, who was “Get Smart’s” Agent 99, “24’s” Leslie Hope and “Spy Kids'” Danny Trejo … The museum boasts a section devoted to pop culture. It includes a filmed loop of film and TV clips including “I Spy,” “The Third Man,” “Austin Powers.” Sorry, no Bond footage is yet cleared. But an exact replica of Bond’s Aston Martin DBS from “Goldfinger” is there fully reacting with its machine gun headlights, tire-shredding wheels, bulletproof windshield, etc. The exhib includes Hollywood spy artifacts — like lipstick pistols, radio transmitter shoes, shirt-button cameras. And clips showing where Hollywood actually got it right — and wrong, of course.

IT WAS MOTHERHOOD IN THE CITY Tuesday as “Sex and the City” previewed its first two segs (of eight) of the fifth season that bows Sunday on HBO. The series’ expectant co-stars Sarah Jessica Parker and Cynthia Nixon were on hand and not camouflaging their happy condition as they have while filming the show. The carpet at N.Y.’s Museum of Natural History bash was pink and pink, feathered boas decked the museum’s Powerhouse restaurant. Also on hand: co-stars Kristin Davis and Kim Cattrall, plus Chris Noth, David Elgenberg, Willis Garson, Ron Livingston, Amy Sedaris, Molly Shannon, Mario Cantone and Evan Handler. Plus the show’s creator Darren Star and exec producers Michael Patrick King, John Melfi and Cindy Chupack … The news was all good — for the news crew on hand at the Palm where Joan Van Ark birthday-partied husband John Marshall, alumnus of KTLA, KTTV and KNBC. Surrounding him were Jeff Marlowe, Kelly Lange, Bob Navarro, Doug Kreigel, Joe Ramirez, Joe Ricco and other well-wishers including actress-daughter Vanessa and husband Andrew Kashino. Marshall retired from nightly b’casting’s rat race and devotes his know-how (and who) to his Web site … “Judge Joe Brown” tapes its 1,000th seg today The Big Ticket show distributed by Par Domestic TV starts its fifth season Sept. 9 as the country’s No. 2 courtroom show … Marcia Gardner, wife of producer Arthur Gardner, died July 10. They had been married 60 years and the family informs that any contribution to the Motion Picture and TV Country and Hospital would be appreciated … Following news that President Kennedy’s PT 109 had been found deep in the waters off the Solomon Islands where it was torpedoed in 1943, Cliff Robertson, who portrayed Kennedy in “PT 109,” is headed to Key West to skipper PT 728, the last PT boat made during WW II. While in Florida, Robertson receives the first Mel Fisher Lifetime Award. Robertson also portrayed Fisher — in “Dreams of Gold” with Loretta Swit.

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