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Inside ‘The Alamo’

GOOD MORNING: I went inside “The Alamo” and got the “inside” from one of its defenders, young (18) thesp Edwin Hodge who plays the slave from South Carolina who fights alongside Lt. Col. William Travis (Patrick Wilson). “He’s my master,” Hodge tells me, “but I call him Sir.” Hodge says he was originally skedded to work two months in the film on the 52-acre site built outside Austin. He remained six months. Director John Lee Hancock, who replaced Ron Howard, saw more to the characters, reports Hodge. “If it was Ron Howard (directing) it definitely would have been an R with bloodier battle scenes. But John Lee and Disney definitely toned it down. However, when people get shot you do see blood spattering!” … Of his role as a slave, he reminds, “We should take a lesson — people have to know. Sure, we’ve learned about it, but,” he also sadly admits, “we (his younger brother and sister) have dealt with racism. It’s still around today.” Hodge, who started his career at the age of 7 on Broadway — in “Showboat” — next stars in the indie film, “Debate Club.” He plays the only black member of a student debating team.

LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT” filming its 100th seg Wednesday in N.Y. was the site for a reunion between the series regular Mariska Hargitay and a guestar — her father Mickey. You recall, Mariska’s mother and Mickey’s wife, Jayne Mansfield, was killed when Mariska was only 3 years old. Mariska last appeared with him in his Hungarian-made film, “Mr. Universe” in 1988. In a scene for “SVU” Mariska (39) tells me her father appears with a young girl playing his granddaughter. “She’s called Sunshine,” said Mariska, “and that’s what he used to call me when I was a little girl. This show is the highlight of my five-year career on the series.” In the series, Mariska plays detective Olivia Benson who deals with rape and abuse victims. And this 100th seg deals with the story of a man who kept — and raped — women in his cellar. Mariska has also PSA’d for “The More You Know” campaign starting today. The subjects include parental involvement with children in subjects including violence, substance abuse as well as prejudice. She’s also involved in the Mt. Sinai Hospital’s program on sex, assault and violence. She says her fan mail comes in from viewers who have benefited from the show. “Our show makes people feel safe,” she says proudly … And Aaron Sorkin’s among those highly involved in the P.S. Arts program whose “Express Yourself 2003” Street Fair in Venice is sponsored by Old Navy. The P.S. Arts works to restore arts education in under-served public schools. Sorkin feels strongly about the cut in arts programs in schools. “I know what it meant to me growing up. It helps make friends — and confidence.” As for his participation, he claims “I’m just a cheerleader.” … The alumnus of “The West Wing,” (he left least year), says “I just cast my vote these days.” He’s writing a script, “Philo,” about the battles between Philo Farnsworth and David Sarnoff during the invention of the television. “I’m writing it on spec — just as I had on ‘A Few Good Men’.”… Talking politix: Sen. John Edwards (D., N.C.) was toasted Wednesday night by Hollywoodians at the home of the Dennis Hoppers in Venice.

SPINNING BORIS,” THE TRUE STORY of U.S. consultants who steered Boris Yeltsin’s 1996 bid for re-election, is now getting bids from theatrical distribs, reports producer Andy Licht. It won the Hampton Film festival and is slated for Showtime airing next year. Next up for Licht and Jeff Mueller is “Cat and Mouse” at Fox with Kevin Lima directing the live action toon scripted by Neil Tolkin and rewritten by Karey Kirkpatrick. It is hoped Will Farrell will star in the pic that opens with a 10-minute animated seg segueing into the live action … Anna Lee sadly tells me she’s not received a renewal of her stand on “General Hospital.” She’s played Lila Quartermaine for 25 years. Lee, 90, tells me, “They have been like my second family — the show has been a reason for me to go on.” She’s been wheel-chaired since an auto accident five years ago. And that tragedy, plus the fact her house burned down seven years ago, have put an enormous financial burden on the vet thesp. “I don’t really know what I’ll do.” She claims she was once told by one of the show’s execs, “You’ll be on the show for the rest of your life” … Larry Thompson has inked a six-figure deal with McGraw-Hill for his book, “Shine: Searching For the Star Within You.” Thompson’s managed more than 200 stars and says “I’ve learned how they tick. In my book it also tells how they think, their common denominator. And you don’t have to be in the movies to be a star. It’s a self-help book.” He lists these essentials for anyone to achieve success: “Talent, the rage for success, a team to support you and — LUCK!” … Jeff Bridges signs his amazing coffee table book — pix he’s shot on his film sets — at the Rose Gallery at Bergamont Station in Santa Monica Nov. 6 with proceeds to the MPTV Fund … Walter Yetnikoff, who was once the most powerful man in the music biz, tells all — to David Ritz in his biog from Broadway Books (Random House) out in March. Ritz tells me, Yetnikoff “was a crazy man who knew no boundaries. It took him 10 years to chill out. He pulls absolutely no punches.” And as reported earlier this month, Yetnikoff is getting back into the music biz with Commotion Records. He certainly stirred one up … And also on the book beat — and definitely in a lighter vein — “The Sibling Thing” (Tallfellow) or “How I Went from Prince to Pest in Four Short Years,” as told to Saul Turteltaub by Maxwell Lee Turteltaub, age 4. It’s about everyone you know — even yourself … And for a reminder of the great talents of costume designers get a copy of Deborah Nadoolman Landis’ “Screencraft — Costume Design” (Focal Press) to add to your library of film crafts and film greats … And among those on hand at Chuck Fries’ home to toast his upcoming book, “We’ll Never Be Young Again: Remembering the Last Days of John F. Kennedy” — Leslie Martinson, who directed “PT 109.” … Sharon Stone, her sister, Kelly, and attorney David Lash are honorees at the fourth annual L.A. Family Housing Awards dinner Dec. 10 at the BevHilton. Robert Townsend hosts. … I’m off to take a bow at the Savannah Film Festival and on to N.Y. for “CBS at 75,” HBO’s preem of Mike Nichols’ “Angels In America” and a quick look at the new B’way season. I’ll be back in Hollywood, Nov. 10

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