GOOD MORNING: What do Tony Kushner and writer Matthew Carnahan have in common? While Kushner and Steven Spielberg are still planning their feature about the aftermath of the 1972 Munich Olympics, Carnahan tells me of his plans about another Nazi-themed sports saga, “The Waldenberg Olympics” — which took place in the Nazi camp in 1944 with 6,000 prisoners participating in all Olympic events — “except pole-vaulting and javelin-throwing,” Carnahan quickly adds. An eight-minute docu on the subject aired on NBC Sports during the Athens Summer Olympics. The feature version is being negotiated with NBC, says Carnahan, who will write the script “on spec — so we won’t have to go through the studio system in getting it made.” Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray will produce. Kushner and Carnahan go back to days at NYU, where the latter acted in Kushner’s “The Age of Assassins” … Carnahan appeared at Book Soup Wednesday night with his first novel, “Serpent Girl” (Villard), having signed and sold out all copies Tuesday at Dutton’s. This will also go the theatrical route, The multitalented (stage, TV and films) Carnahan and girlfriend Helen Hunt (they have a 9-month-old daughter) are “definitely” working on a dramatic biographical feature. He’s also signed on for two pilots. He admits, “I love to write.”
RUE MCCLANAHAN RETURNS to B’way in “Wicked” May 31, playing Madame Morrible. Her deal includes days off to make appearances speaking on behalf of breast cancer around the country … Rue says, “I am now completely cancer-free — since St. Patrick’s Day (today!) 1998. I’ve always wanted to go back and live in N.Y.,” says Rue, unlike her “Golden Girls” co-stars Betty White and Bea Arthur, who preferred L.A. She’s married to her fifth husband, Morrow Wilson, and says she’s writing a book, “My First Five Husbands,” and writing her second musical, “Cobra Island” with Jay Bradley … Kim Cattrall, onstage in London in “Whose Life Is It Anyway?,” is hoping it will go to B’way following the reception in Blighty. The star of “Sex and the City” admits she was apprehensive, but recalls her mentor Jack Lemmon’s words: “If it doesn’t scare you a little, don’t do it.” Her banner’s also readying a remake of Clifford Odets’ “The Country Girl” (she’d play the Grace Kelly role, natch) and her feature “Ice Princess” bows this weekend for Disney. Her Fertile Ground Prods. also is readying 90-minute docu “Sexual Intelligence” for HBO, with a book of the same name due in stores at the same time.
COURTING JUSTICE from Santa Maria to Culver City, from Michael Jackson to James Caan: Rikki Klieman continues to do double duty. In the ayem, Monday-Friday, she uses her 20 years of legal experience to comment with Howard Weitzman and Shawn Chapman on E!’s hourlong re-creation of the day’s court doings and then heads to the Culver City’s extravagant stages for NBC’s hit series “Las Vegas,” where she plays Caan’s attorney. She says, “The casino set is so real you want to put a quarter in one of the (prop) slots.” She laughingly recalls her intro to the costume-revealing show: “When I was asked to play a role in the series by (producer) Gardner Stern, the first thing I asked was, ‘Do I get to keep my clothes on?’ I had to remember I’m married to the police chief!” Her husband is LAPD chief William Bratton — with whom she hosts a slew of official functions. Klieman also continues to be a regular legal contributor to NBC’s “Today” show.
DUSTIN HOFFMAN’S SON Jake was the DJ at the Vine Street Lounge for Michael Sutton’s promotion, where he brought in cast members from “The OC” including Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson. Also there was Adrian Grenier (HBO’s “Entourage”), Tara Reid, Rod Stewart’s daughter Kimberly and Cisco Adler. At Geisha House dining beforehand were Wilmer Valderrama of “That ’70s Show” as well as Prince. Sutton, son of Joe Sutton, will open the Lodge steakhouse on La Cienega’s Restaurant Row in May … Jimmy Murphy, whose name has topped the town’s classiest eateries, has sold his (final restaurant) Jimmy’s Tavern on Pico Boulevard, which will reopen as Kay & Dave’s. Murphy says he’s writing a book about Hollywood’s halcyon dining days. His son Sean partners with Harrison Ford’s son Ben in catering biz TCB.
NEIMAN-MARCUS BEVERLY HILLS will no longer be the same without John Martens, the smiling VP/general manager lo these 25 years, who’s retiring next week. He was responsible for the store’s involvement with countless community and industry fundraisers — and he also generously filled all of the store’s windows on Wilshire with blown-up photos and columns on my 50th anniversary with Daily Variety. Kelly Cole of N-M Newport takes over from Martens … Scott Baker, son of Seth Baker and veep of the Baker Newspaper Group (includes Beverly Hills 213), and Veronica Jane Kay, national amateur surfing champ, celebrated their wedding with a lavish reception Tuesday at the Peninsula Hotel. They tied the knot Feb. 26 on the beach at Catalina … Director Ronald Neame celebrates his 94th(!) birthday Saturday aboard the Queen Mary, where his “Poseidon Adventure” celebrates its 34th anni. Co-star Ernie Borgnine will be on hand. Neame will sign copies of his autobiog, “Straight From the Horse’s Mouth,” with proceeds to the (now-bankrupt) Queen Mary’s fund … Chris Rock joins the “Night of Comedy” hosted by Doris Roberts at the Wilshire Theater Saturday benefiting the Children With Aids Foundation….The Rodeo Drive Walk of Style will be held Sunday … Director Peter Medak’s prized pix will screen today through Saturday at the Aero in Santa Monica. They include “The Ruling Class ” and “A Day in the Death of Joe Egg” … Megan Chernin and husband Peter Chernin co-host the first Stand Up for Mentoring gala April 27at the Kodak, honoring Chris Albrecht, whose HBO has a workplace mentoring program. All proceeds go to the L.A. Mentoring Partnership with supports 60 L.A.-based mentoring groups, including the Fulfillment Fund. The latter’s founder Gary Gitnick allows, “We’re all trying to help as many children as we can.” Skedded so far on the show are Chris Rock, Bill Maher, Ellen De Generes. Megan C. says the organization will be an “umbrella” for all the mentoring orgs.