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New Line celebrates 40 years of film

New York Film Festival to mark anniversary

THEY MET at Columbia law school and something clicked between Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne. Now on Oct. 5, one of the evenings of the annual New York Film Festival, they’ll be underwriting part of the event to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their New Line Cinema. Bob and Michael have already garnered $500,000 and expect to do much more; every cent going to the raising of Lincoln Center’s new David Rockwell-designed building with screening rooms, an amphitheater, offices, and cafes. On this October night, New Line will show some of their 40 years of films in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Theater, plus 20 minutes of their Christmas release, “The Golden Compass,” starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. (These big stars will be on hand plus Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep, Alan Arkin, Javier Bardem, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Benjamin Bratt.) Bob and Michael are in Cannes kicking off their anniversary. You know, if you have $100,000 you can get your name up on the wall at the new Rockwell building. I’ll just settle for my name on a little card at dinner.

ONCE “CASINO Royale” became the hottest biggest box office success ever among the franchised James Bond films, somebody looked back at their new 007, Daniel Craig, and saw how little they’d paid him for his three-picture deal. So the Eon producers sent along a bonus of about $4 million to make Craig feel happier. He does.

WHEN THE puppet “Bob” and his creator Jay Johnson had their picture put up in Sardi’s; I made the presentation to them for their solo performance in “The Two and Only” on Broadway. Now Mr. Johnson has been nominated for a Tony in the Speciality Event category. And puppet “Bob” is about to be taken into the Smithsonian where he will sit for posterity with other creatures — Charlie McCarthy Jerry Mahoney, Howdy Doody and Kermit the Frog… IF YOU are seeing a lot of Jane Fonda in New York these days, it’s all the fault of Cupid. It took the little guy with the bow and arrow to woo the actress out of her beloved Atlanta. Jane is madly in love but she has kept her inamorata’s name such a close secret that even her best friends murmur that they can’t remember it. All I know is he’s retired and they met when he came to a book signing. And they are “wild again…beguiled again” and like that.

CAN WE wait for the coming TV movie version of the life and death of Anna Nicole Smith? Willa Ford plays Anna and Patrick Ryan Anderson appears as her son, Daniel. You might know Patrick from the series “Hannah Montana.” Patrick says, “I really didn’t want Daniel to come off as a drug addict. I don’t think that was the case, even though his mom was a mess. I tried not to copy and paste from media circus reports. He was shy and introverted, mature beyond his years on some levels. It was a challenge to portray him responsibly, but I think I did.” (The young actor is taking his finals at Loyola Marymount U.) Listen, Patrick, we’re not going to hold this against you. Or you either, Willa.

EXECS AT Paramount and other studios are closely monitoring screenwriter Huck Thomas’ new Web site, “The Secret.” (An idea culled from Rhonda Byrne’s bestselling book of inspiration.) He says his goal is to make a million dollars within a year by any means necessary; he is willing to go anywhere, do anything, as long as it is lucrative. Huck believes “pure positive thought and emotion” has to win out. He’s a spiritual guy, despite his interest in filthy lucre. The buzz is that there’ll be an eventual movie or TV series. Well — he’s got his million right there. And then some.

PRODUCER Jerry Weintraub and the stellar cast of his coming “Ocean’s Thirteen” are using their clout to do good deeds in a naughty world. Weintraub and George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Don Cheadle have formed a charity, Not On Our Watch, whose mission is to end genocide in Darfur. The group will host a grand fete in Cannes for the film’s premiere. Openings in Las Vegas and Chicago will also benefit the organization.

Weintraub says, “Living and working in Hollywood, it’s easy to lose sight of what is happening a world away. … I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of something that has the potential to make a difference.” And he added, “The irony is that movie premieres mean nothing to the people caught up in the crisis in Darfur, but if we can turn it into something that helps change their situation, it means so much.”

(Email Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com)

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