‘Statement,’ ‘Divorce’ to divide Gallic auds

GOOD MORNING: The French will not like one upcoming film, but they’ll love another — according to their respective filmmakers. Norman Jewison, now editing “The Statement,” admits to me “both the French and the Catholic Church in France won’t like it. We show anti-semitism during and after WWII.” Jewison doesn’t plan to pull any punches. The pic stars Michael Caine as an on-the-run Nazi Frenchman in a cast that includes Alan Bates and Charlotte Rampling. It was filmed in Paris as well as Marseilles where the temperature reached 100-plus. … Meanwhile, the mayor of Paris and the minister of culture were so enthusiastic about the script of “Le Divorce” they allowed the Merchant-Ivory film troupe to not only shoot every street scene in Paris but allowed them to film a major chase in and atop the Eiffel Tower. Ismail Merchant tells me it’s only the second time a film company got such an OK, the other was for a James Bond pic. They could only film 6-9 ayem. And when Japanese tourists arrived early, they were included in the sequence … Merchant-Ivory’s next is “The White Countess” set in China in 1933 with script by Kazoo Ishiguro, whose novel “Remains of the Day” was scripted by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, the scribe for Diane Johnson’s “Le Divorce.” Jhabvala is writing “City of Your Final Destination” from Peter Cameron’s novel for M-I. This one’s set in Uruguay and New York … Kate Hudson, who is four months pregnant, attended the preem with Chris Robinson. In “Le Divorce,” it’s Hudson’s sister, played by Naomi Watts, who is enceinte. The slim Watts was also on hand. … Add news from Paris: Roman Polanski will direct “Hedda Gabler” on the Paris stage with wife Emmanuel Seigner starring.

I GOT A PREVIEW of what the Radio City Music Hall will look like starting Oct. 8 when “Sinatra: His Voice, His World, His Way” bows. Seth Abraham, president of Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall Entertainment, quick-tripped out here to meet with Tina Sinatra and Bob Finkelstein, attorney for the estate of Frank Sinatra, a partner in the $10 million venture. Although the RCMH stand is limited, a ditto Las Vegas production is in discussions. It’s anticipated the show could play there indefinitely. A London company is also being discussed. The presentation will boast Sinatra’s voice via recordings be backed by John Pizzarelli and a full-orch “live.” Tony Award-winner Des McAnuff, who directs, told me Sinatra had the “great vision and foresight” to not only make these separate tracks, but to also film his recording sessions. Personal footage — some never seen before — will also be included. Abraham showed me some stills including one of an emotional concert he gave in Paris after Ava Gardner walked out on Sinatra in Spain. There will also be Rat Pack and family footage in the presentation. After only one ad (in the New York Times) the 16 performances ($40-90) are already 53 % sold out, Abraham said. “We hope the new technology will interest the younger fans who may not be that Sinatra hip. The challenge is to interest them,” he said. While in L.A., he also met with Les Moonves, as well as NARAS prexy Neil Portnow, to encourage CBS to bring the Grammys back to N.Y. — to Madison Square Garden — and the Latin Grammys to Radio City Music Hall … I spoke to McAnuff between his rehearsals for the La Jolla Playhouse’s (he’s their artistic director) bow of Tom Donaghy’s “Eden Lane” Aug. 17. He says a memorial to Gregory Peck is planned at the Playhouse where a park has already been named in his honor. “The playhouse is proud of his (Peck’s) legacy, his name will be permanent there,” he assured me … The Hammerstein Theater in N.Y. will be the site of the live telecast of CBS’ 75th anni show Nov. 2. Producer Gil Cates and director Louis J. Horvitz checked out the house which will also have a sit-down dinner prior to the three-hour TV extravaganza … The Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall will be the setting for the 60th anni bash for “Casablanca” and the release of the WB DVD. Stephen Bogart, son of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, is among those helping to launch the disc. Although the family has no residuals, his banner, MODA Entertainment, is involved in pre-production of WB DVDs including the Bogart classics “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” and “To Have and Have Not.” MODA’s also readying a feature, “Remake,” a comedy that makes fun of Hollywood, says Bogart, fils.

DISCUSSIONS ARE UNDER WAY for Joe Roth to produce the 76th Oscar show. Acad president Frank Pierson is now in Salt Lake City readying Showtime’s “Paradise” Aug. 20 in High Definition. It’s the story of a TV evangelist as played by David Strathern and co-staring Barbara Hershey. Pierson assures “It’s not an expose. (It’s) respectful and will show the stress between God and — TV.” … The market for movie and showbiz memorabilia has never been higher than today, Joseph Maddalena, head of Profile in History tells me. His company in BevHills holds a giant auction today — by live bidding as well as by phone, fax and eBay — of movie and TV memorabilia valued at more than $1 million. Biggest item up for bidding, he believes, is George Reeve’s “Superman” costume from 1955 which he expects to go for $150,000-$200,000. Items also include Sharon Stone’s dress from “Basic Instinct,” Elizabeth Taylor’s dress from “National Velvet,” Archie Bunker’s hat, the original script of Mel Brooks’ movie version of “The Producers,” etc. … Barbra Streisand has recorded the final song for her “The Movie Album” due out this fall from Columbia … Emmy winner Fyvush Finkel will be accompanied by his musician sons Ian, on xylophone and Elliot, piano, when he performs on the Jerry Lewis Labor Day MD Telethon. The Finkels spent Fyvush’s hiatus from seasons three and four on “Boston Public” producing a CD of songs the 80-year-old Fyvush sang in his career from Yiddish Theater to Broadway. Title of the album: “It’s Never Too Late” … Seven hundred friends attended a “celebration” of Lynne Weaver’s life. She was the wife of the Dennis Weaver’s son Rob and was one of the victims of the Santa Monica Farmers Market disaster … Edna Cantor McHugh, one of the five daughters of Eddie Cantor, died July 24. She leaves a daughter, Judy McHugh and a grandson, Lee Newman Kafafian. Also, two sisters survive, Marilyn and Janet … Jessica Corbin, Pat Boone’s granddaughter, will be one of the guest hosts on ABC’s “The View.” She’s skedded to tape her show Tuesday. She’s currently a host on the Tech TV network … Cliff Robertson will be a part of the Experimental Aviation Assn. event in Oshkosh, Wisc., this weekend Cliff just returned from the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio, where he received an award for his humanitarian efforts in Biafra, etc. Martina Navratilova will make a second appearance — as herself — in “Will & Grace” next season. She wings here in mid-September from the U.S. Open where she’ll be playing doubles.

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