GOOD MORNING: Gary Sinise is putting together a film — like nothing we’re seeing about Iraq. He’s been there twice, most recently a couple of weeks ago and he tells me he’s assembling footage “which tells the story which never gets reported by the media.” Sure he’s been in an Army camp where mortars from Iraqis fell at 5 ayem one day. “But I saw a lot of things never reported in the media, which focuses on the attacks.” His footage will feature our troops and the Iraqi children, visits to their schools where the children and their teachers were “happily all over our soldiers. That never gets reported. (The teachers and children) now know that 1,200 children were murdered in a mass grave, that there are millions of others who were mass murdered.” Sinise, who was Oscar-nominated for his 1994 role in “Forrest Gump” as Lt. Dan, is called by that name by troops around the world — even though most of them were only kids when the film was first released. Sinise reminds that he has supported the military since before “Forrest Gump.” “It’s good to support the military. No matter who is in the White House, it’s still our military.” He related touching incidents to me about his last visit. He received a special award from the Disabled American Veterans. In February, Sinise and his band, the Lieutenant Dan Band — 10 men “playing classic and current rock” — will tour Pacific bases of our military. He’s now filming Revolution’s “The Forgotten” for director Joseph Ruben, playing a shrink to Julianne Moore who thinks her son (?) died in a plane crash. P.S. Sinise says he’s never had a shrink. On occasion he’s seen therapist, “but not regularly. I’m my own psychologist right now.” He’s also receiving raves for his performance in “The Human Stain” with Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman. And as a founder of the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago he’s busy readying its first celeb and pro golf tourney for Feb. 6-8 at Rancho Mirage’s Landmark Golf Club with all proceeds to benefit the theater company. Sinise will emcee the final night’s entertainment at the Westin Hills Resort.
ALL IN THE FAMILY: It was Samuel Goldwyn Jr. congratulating son Tony Goldwyn at the Armand Hammer party after the Westwood Village preem of The Last Samurai.” Goldwyn pere was paying tribute to the epic WB pic while his own giant adventure 20th’s “Master and Commander” is enjoying its own critical and box office successes. The Goldwyns were praising Tom Cruise in “Samurai,” with Tony telling me that Tom did all his stunts — except falling off his horse in battle. He also assured me that not one horse was injured in those spectacular scenes. Tony, who also joined his pic’s makers Wednesday night at the N.Y. preem, next directs the “Betty Ann Waters Story” starring Naomi Watts for Working Title. Goldwyn pere is readying to open “The Japanese Story” starring Toni Collette, then the Holocaust story, “The Women of Rosenstrasse,” and then start “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” starring Jim Carrey. And Goldwyn Jr. didn’t miss the opportunity to tell me that his “Master and Commander” star Russell Crowe is “the most exciting screen personality since Marlon Brando. He is a true movie actor person” … Tom Cruise, who did the coast-to-coast “Samurai” preems, taped “Inside the Actors Studio” during the unspooling of “Samurai” at the Ziegfeld in N.Y. And Wednesday he was back at work in L.A. night shoots with director Michael Mann in Par/DreamWorks’ “Collateral” … Meanwhile, the music of another of the year end’s pix, “Cold Mountain,” is toasted Monday at UCLA’s Royce Hall with readings by cast members Nicole Kidman, Jude Law and performances by Sting and Alison Krauss. The Second Harvest Food Bank benefits from the preem.
MICHAEL JACKSON IS STILL in the movie-making biz — although perhaps somewhat on hold. Jackson, who once said he’d produce “Peter Pan” (and star?) is now involved with Bryan Michael Stoller on his “They Cage the Animals at Night.” Jackson appears in Stoller’s “Miss Cast Away,” having filmed his sequences as “Agent M.J.” at Neverland Ranch. The pic’s to be shown to distribs next month. Jackson is also quoted in Stoller’s upcoming book, “Filmmaking for Dummies” which gets a booksigning party at Borders, Westwood Dec. 10 with Evan Marriott (Joe Millionaire) reading excerpts … Debbie Reynolds admits, “I can’t seem to get the industry excited about it” — her proposed Motion Picture Museum at Hollywood & Highland. “So I’m having this sale (auction) to pay a lot of debts and to get the building started.” She says a bond issue for the museum fell through after 9/11. And she has a 40,000 square foot warehouse filled with 4,000 costumes, props, etc. … The live auction of more than 400 priceless items will be held Saturday at Le Meridien Hotel in BevHills. One item even includes daughter Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) hosting a private screening of “The Empire Strikes Back” … The Friars Club of California’s tribute Sunday to Tony Martin on his 90th birthday promises to be a sell-out with wall-to-wall celebs. The past month has been tough for Tony and wife Cyd Charisse as son Tony Jr. fights to recover from a freak auto accident near his home in Frasier Park … Actor-author Dick Gautier and Tess Hightower will wed Sunday at the Woodland Hills Hilton … Frank Price receives an honorary doctorate of Humanities from Michigan State in East Lansing Saturday … Neil Simon, final-tuning his “Rose’s Dilemma” at the City Center and starring Mary Tyler Moore, promises, “It’s a lot changed — and a lot better — from L.A.” ‘Lest you think Simon’s just working on one play, he’s also working on “Waiting for Papa” which will try out at Williamstown Playhouse in early summer. It’s set in N.Y. 1939 — when Simon was a small boy … Celebs including Barbra Streisand, Will Ferrell, Carl Reiner, Michael J. Fox, Jeff Bridges are participating in the Amazon.Com Holiday A-List … Tonight, Shirley Jones joins George W. and Barbara Bush for the tree-lighting ceremony at the White House in advance of celebs’ Sunday reception at the White House preceding the Kennedy Center Honors. In the December Ladies Home Journal, “Something’s Gotta Give” co-star Diane Keaton has this to say about preparing for a naked love scene: “The movie’s nudity was in the service of a joke on men, so, though it wasn’t fun, I couldn’t take it too seriously. I probably should have dieted or gotten a trainer or something for it, but I just didn’t care that much. You spend so much time when you’re young looking in the mirror–it’s just not productive and I won’t let myself do it anymore.”