A correction was made to this article on Aug. 18 2005.
GOOD MORNING: Is art imitating life or vice-versa? From an enormous Pentagon-set built in a warehouse in Santa Monica, Dennis Hopper informed me he’d sent Benjamin Bratt to Iran to “get the bad guys who are filtering arms into Iraq.” Now, Bratt is wounded and Hopper and company have to try to get him to safety, as they’d previously gotten operatives out of China. This is the start of the fifth seg of the Jerry Bruckheimer-WB-NBC “E-Ring,” which bows Sept. 21, at 9 p.m. Any questions about the reality of the series were answered as Hopper read me an info sheet he’d just received giving the background of show’s producer, screenwriter Kenneth Robinson. It enumerated his credits in the Rangers, CIA, the office of the Secretary of Defense, service in Somalia, Sarajevo and Iraq. Hopper, returning to episodic TV since his start 50 years ago in “Cheyenne” and “Sugarfoot,” enthused about his role as a colonel who’s returned to the service after a successful civilian life. He admits, “I am overwhelmed by my dialog: I have diarrhea of the mouth.” And he loves it. There’s no comment on the President’s policies or the politics of the day. Hopper reminded, “We are the military.” He’s convinced the show will go 22 segs in its first season (“although we’re only signed for 13”) and will continue beyond. He is also planning bigscreen work and is writing the script of “The Last Tango in Venice” which he will also direct. It’s based on a real incident he witnessed in Venice and he’s spoken to Javier Bardem to star. Does he tango? “He can do anything,” Hopper enthused. Hopper is also readying a 50th anni show of his photos and paintings skedded for the Ace Gallery in BevHills around Oscar time (March 5, 2006).
SHOWBIZ AND POLITICS: Warren Beatty will give a major address on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s California politics, Sept. 22 before the California Nurses Assn. at the Oakland Convention Center. Beatty says the association “is one of the most effective groups in the country and are a positive effect on how we are moving. I’ve been impressed with their TV spots — also those by the firemen and teachers.” Beatty has not been a part of these airings. But he opines, “The Governor’s camp — dollars — far outweighs this group.” Schwarzenegger’s cross-country tour to raise funds to win issues on the special election rivals any p.a. launching one of his movies. He’ll appear alongside $100,000 donors at the Rolling Stones concert in Boston. While Arnold’s appearances will undoubtedly win him space everywhere, Beatty’s appearance in Oakland has attracted coverage far beyond California — from the rest of the U.S. and from Europe. Beatty pulled no punches attacking Schwarzenegger in his last appearance, May 21 at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Policy graduation. At that time, Schwarzenegger’s communications director called Beatty “a crackpot.” You can bet, Beatty will unload priceless prose at the Nurses’ convention…And tonight (Thursday) Connie Stevens introduces Asa Hutchinson and his wife Susan to the showbiz community with a party at her estate. Hutchinson, a former (Republican) member of Congress, head of the DEA and second-in-command of Homeland Security, is running for Governor of Arkansas. Stevens had also intro’d John McCain to Hollywood. She’s a strong supporter of George W. Bush and was an invitee to both inaugurals. She tells me, “I’m more political than I’ve ever been in my life. I’m very pro-military and have entertained troops for four decades.” She’s 67. On the local political front, Stevens is running for SAG secretary-treasurer. Yes, she’s still active in showbiz, having played Kirstie Alley’s mom in “Fat Actress,” doing her one-woman show at the Suncoast Hotel & Casino in Vegas, and readying a B’way musical based on Abe Saperstein and the Harlem Globetrotters.
AN OSCAR FOR AN EMMY WINNER: “Weeds” creator-exec producer Jenji Kohan, who won an Emmy for “Tracy Takes On” in 1997, and husband, journalist Christopher Noxon, welcome their third son, Oscar Leo Joseph Noxon Aug.10 at Cedars-Sinai. The happy grandparents are Rhea and Buz Kohan … Rob Friedman and wife Shari (Bernstein) welcomed their first, daughter Brooke Morgan Aug. 16 also at Cedars-Sinai. Friedman has two daughters from a previous marriage. While still consulting at Par, Friedman says he’s “looking for new opportunities — on an open sheet of paper.”