GOOD MORNING: I caught up with producers of “Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope,” Tony Eaton and Larry Klein, at Universal where they’re readying Stages 6, 19, 20 and the back lot for Saturday night’s airing, 8-10 p.m. They will also switch cameras to/from NBC’s Stage 3 at NBC Rockefeller Center and London’s BBC for the heavy array of performing talent. Glenn Weiss directs the company of hundreds of crew. Everyone’s a volunteer — exex, writers from screen, TV, stage. The talent has volunteered to drive/fly ’emselves to the performance sites. Eaton and Klein told me, “We have everything carefully timed — maximum four minutes for a song, a minute or so for the star pitches,” plus cutaways to the star-studded phone bank where Jay Leno and Ryan Seacrest will color commentate. The program will be recorded in high def for a DVD that will follow the special — enabling more funds to be raised. The producers allowed they were overwhelmed by the response of the talent who voluntarily phoned in on their own to appear. They were totally blown away when Clint Eastwood made the call himself. They said, “George Clooney is amazing.” He rounded up a name list including Leonardo DiCaprio. Clooney took a two-day break from the show to p.a. “Ocean’s Twelve” in Japan, returning today. And DiCaprio is just back from a multi-European trek for “The Aviator” … The two-hour, commercial-free show will also be carried by MSNBC, Bravo and USA. The producing duo are no strangers to star-heavy shows, having done the American Music Awards and Radio Music Awards. Former Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton, who head the relief committee, will also tape remarks to be aired.
MARTIN RICHARDS HAS joined the fraternity of producers seeking from Miramax what they claim is a just return on their investments from their respective hit pictures. Saul Zaentz is still trying to get dough from his deferment of the profits of Oscar-winning “The English Patient,” which had a $225 million-plus worldwide box office as of March 2002. Zaentz is repped by attorney Martin Singer, who confirmed their audit “has not yet been resolved.” And Marty Richards’ attorney, Thomas Puccio, reports he has notified Miramax that Richards “does not accept the accounting” on their Oscar-winning film, “Chicago” which cost $46 million and at last count had a worldwide gross of $306,776,732 as reported in Daily Variety. Richards was informed the film was $50 million in the red … Zaentz spoke to me as he was boarding a plane Wednesday for London, Paris and Madrid to talk coproduction deals on his next, “Goya’s Ghosts,” to be directed by Milos Forman (they teamed on “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Amadeus”) from the script by Jean-Claude Carriere. The pic will be shot in Spain with post in England. He’d like to start filming in September.
A SAMPLE OF the awards express train was evident to me as I talked with “The Sea Inside’s” Javier Bardem just days before Saturday’s closing of the Oscar polls. On Tuesday night Barden said he was at the National Board of Review event at the Tavern On The Green, having arrived from L.A. that day from the Broadcast Critics’ Award. Wednesday he was back in L.A. at a screening of the “Sea” hosted by Paula Wagner, followed by the weekend’s activities Although the film was completed in December 2003, the affable Barden, said “I usually do only one film every two years.” He spends the rest of the time in acting school. “I like to clean myself,” he laughed. He’s, of course, searching for a film as good as his last — and to reteam with director Alejandro Amenabar and with “Before Night Falls'” Julian Schnabel. Schnabel “said he’d like to do something with a Latin cast,” Javier noted.
I CAUGHT UP with Jim Garner in his dressing room at Disney on a break from “8 Simple Rules.” He was truly emotional about the fact he’s to receive SAG’s Life Achievement Award — while also receiving, this week, a SAG nomination for supporting actor in “The Notebook.” But the veteran of features and TV (he’s 76), admitted “I have such a fear of making a speech — and getting in front of an audience.” He was pleased about the recognition for “Notebook,” reminding that it was made two years ago and that two different endings were shot — dying in one, living in the other. “And I didn’t care — as long as the picture did well.” Howcum he came back to TV, having starred in two major hits “Maverick” and “The Rockford Files”? “I’d never done a four-camera sitcom. It’s not difficult physically — compared to “Rockford Files” where we did 10 pages a day. And in ‘Maverick’ I was so young and dumb I didn’t know how tough it was. This one, I’m really enjoying it. It’s a fun set. And I’ve always enjoyed going to work. I hardly ever use the alarm clock to get up at 5 ayem — and I’ve been doing it for 50 years.”
IT’S FAREWELL TIME on the ” Everybody Loves Raymond” set where the final seg is filmed next week. The cast and crew will be toasted Jan. 23 by CBS at a gala wrap party. This week, creator and exec producer Phil Rosenthal’s wife Monica Horan, who plays Brad Garrett’s wife Amy, is featured. It’s not farewell for Rosenthal and the writers (9) — they’ve formed an act and have had several successful outings of “Secrets of the Writers’ Room of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond'” in which they tell their stories and show film of the translation to the TV’er. They have bookings in N.Y. and Hawaii. Rosenthal also has a development deal with Par for features. P.S. He’s seen in “Spanglish,” in which James L. Brooks cast him as a chef.
HBO’S ‘DEADWOOD’, which was dead in the water due to the rainwater on the former Gene Autry Melody Ranch location , resumed shooting Wednesday. The site, which boasts two stages, will add a third when the show takes a break between seasons. … On the inside — interior designer Kerry Joyce’s furniture collection is seen on “Will and Grace” tonight in Lily Tomlin’s fancy N.Y. apartment … Christy Carlson Romano, the voice of Disney’s Kim Possible, will be serenaded by hundred of students from 20 states at this weekend’s Broadway Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta. She’ll receive the first Broadway Junior Star award for being a role model to young performers … PBHG Inc. (Parris Brothers Holdings Group) is financing a docu project called “King/Drew Medical Center: Killer or Martyr,” produced by Urban Entertainment and directed by Randy Holland. Pic will explore the debate over the Central L.A. medical center.