Sept. 11 focus of upcoming docu, mini-series

GOOD MORNING: First there was “One Day in September,” Arthur Cohn’s Oscar-winning film (1999) of the massacre at the l972 Munich Olympics. And now upcoming is “10 Days in September” — the story of what happened between the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon and Sept. 20, when the president made his speech to the joint houses of Congress. Edgar Scherick and Lionel Chetwynd are teamed on the Showtime docudrama — “at least two hours” long. Chetwynd is in D.C. researching the project and talking to those who were involved. He is soon to be sworn in as a member of the president’s Committee on Arts and Humanities. You recall, he was a George W. supporter during the presidential campaign and hopes to speak with him, well as the VP, secretary of state and defense. He has already met with Carl Rove and members of his staff. However, actors will play the lead characters in the docudrama which will include actual footage of those days and events. Chetwynd and Scherick had teamed previously on “Ruby Ridge: An American Tragedy” for CBS in 1996. … Chetwynd quick-tripped in from London for these meetings. He had been over there prepping another project, “My Uncle Percy,” a Canadian-British co-production. The romantic comedy is based on a true WWII story he scripted and will direct … Meanwhile, “Darkness at High Noon: The Carl Foreman Documents,” the docu he and Norman Powell completed for PBS, will be shown April 11 at the L.A. County Museum of Art under WGA Foundation auspices.

A SEGMENT FOCUSING ON THE SEPT. 11 attacks has been added to Robert Emery’s four-part miniseries, “The Genocide Factor,” which public television stations nationwide will air in honor of Holocaust Day, April 9, as well as Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, April 24. Emery promises, “It will be controversial — people don’t want to re-visit it. But it remains timely today with more crimes to humanity in the Congo, Sudan, Afghanistan, etc.” He financed the project through his Media Entertainment and started working on the project three years ago. He says the project got made primarily because “I’ve never understood why people kill each other.” But he blames genocide on “religious fanaticism.” And assures he has been very careful in his research. What can we do about it? “Early warning signs must be recognized and governments have to be more responsible,” he says. The series ranges from the beginning — the Biblical period to Native Americans and the Armenian Genocide. The second seg includes racism in America, the Japanese experience and Nanking, China. Next included are Cambodia, Pakistan and Bangladesh, Central America, Mexico, etc. and on to Africa, Bosnia, Kosovo, the Arab/Israel conflict, Sept. 11 and — hope for the future. Emery continues to work on his long-running Starz/Encore series, “The Directors,” one-hour profiles of Hollywood’s greatest filmmakers. He’s completed 52 and will do 26 more. He just did Cameron Crowe, and George Lucas is upcoming. Also on his sked is a 13-part series, “Kid health” with Peggy Fleming … Sissy Spacek is honored this weekend with a retro of her films (including, of course, “In the Bedroom”) at USC’s Norris Theater — but she won’t be able to attend. She tells me her 13-year-old daughter is appearing in her school’s production of “The Music Man” in Virginia. And mom’s busy helping with the costumes. And talking costumes, Spacek says she’s really getting a laugh over all the media fuss about what she’ll wear at the SAG and Oscars. P.S. She’s still shopping. As for her next film, when I last spoke to her (Jan. 10), she said she didn’t have another film offer. Fuggetit. She now says she has both film and theater offers from which to choose, thank you. She’s busy reading.

NATALIE COLE IS BACK in the studios recording — she’s signed with Verve and her producer is Tommy LiPuma with whom she did the unforgettable “Unforgettable” … The Bob and Dolores Hope Foundation presents a $1 million donation to the Academy of TV Arts & Sciences Foundation March 5. Hope, who will be 99, is not able to make the presentation. Daughter Linda will … Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings and Dan Rather posed together for the March 9 TV Guide Cover as they head the mag’s list of top 10 TV MVPs … As “State of Grace” shifts to ABC Family, bowing tonight, the show’s exec-producers- creators Brenda Lilly and Hollis tell me the 12-year-old Mae Whitman and Alia Shawkat who costar in the 1965, North Carolina-set story will face problems that are with us today as well — such as bigotry, anti-Semitism, etc. But the children’s imaginations will not be corrupted by today’s instant access media, call waiting, videos, etc. … Polly Bergen wings out from N.Y. to concert for the Cabrillo Music Theater Sunday. It’s granddaughter Kathy Lander’s interest … James Wyeth will greet celebs at Monday’s showing of works by Savannah’s College of Art & Design at the Time is Always Now gallery in N.Y. … American Masters preems “Gene Kelly: Anatomy Of A Dancer” March 3 on N.Y.’s WNET, March 5 on L.A.’s KCET … Gerald McRaney hosts the presentation of the Special Achievement Award for screenwriting to Horton Foote today in Natchez, Miss. Foote’s daughter, Barbara Hallie appeared on McRaney’s “The Promised Land” series.

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