Reese Witherspoon eyes playing private eye

LIVE A little, Kill a Little”… “The Flame and the Pussycat”… “Slay, Gypsy, Slay”… “The Fun-Fun-Killer.” If you have a good memory for colorful television, you might recognize the above as episode titles to Anne Francis’ fabulous, short-lived series, “Honey West.” Honey was a smoking hot private eye with a lipstick walkie-talkie, earrings that doubled as smoke bombs and a way with judo. She was like Honor Blackman’s Pussy Galore in “Goldfinger”–but even sexier. (And like Blackman, Anne was at her peak — in her ripe 30s — when she played her most famous role.) Writer Leslie Dixon (“Outrageous Fortune,” “The Thomas Crown Affair”) is warm to the idea of a bigscreen version of “Honey West” for 20th Century Fox. The fox who wants in on the honey? Reese Witherspoon. Reese could bring a lot of no-nonsense sizzle to this project. Writer Dixon wants to keep the movie retro — 1960s — and true to the dark, rather perverse feel of the show. … P.S. The original Honey is still a knockout in her 70s, still has that provocative beauty mark, lives quietly in Palm Springs, takes occasional acting roles and appears cheerfully at autograph shows. The series that made Francis so famous ran little more than a season in 1965-66. DVD anyone?

SHOOTING STAR: Young Leslie Kritzer, who is so good as a sorority girl in the delightful musical “Legally Blonde,” gets her big time shot in the new Harvey Fierstein/John Bucchino B’way bound musical “A Catered Affair.” She’ll play the bride-to-be. This is based on the classic Paddy Chayefsky teleplay and MGM movie in which Debbie Reynolds starred. Kritzer leaves her “Blonde” onstage family soon to work alongside Faith Prince, Tom Wopat and Harvey himself at San Diego’s Old Globe Theater. Tony-winner John Doyle is directing. … Today, Tom Cruise, Patrick Wilson, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy and the rest of the cast and crew of “Valkyrie” begin filming in Germany. The movie is scheduled for a 70-day shoot in Europe. Co-star Bill Nighy, when asked about the controversy said, “I ignore all this stuff. And I don’t think it will affect the cast one bit. ‘Valkyrie’ is a heroic tale that deserves to be told.”

THIS IS THE 40TH anniversary of the release of “Valley of the Dolls”: Isn’t it time to do it again? There’s long been chatter about a remake that would be intentionally humorous, like the recent “The Stepford Wives.” Paul Rudnick was attached at one point. But Jacqueline Susann’s estate, studio execs and producers weren’t sure that was the way to go, and talks stalled. Now we hear that there’s movement again on this project. Anne Hathaway, of “The Princess Diaries,” “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Brokeback Mountain” fame, is being looked at for the Anne Welles role of the classy model/TV star who is the film’s narrator. (Neely O’Hara remarks of this character, “I didn’t have dough thrown at me because of my good cheekbones, I had to work for a living.”) Jessica Simpson’s name is being bandied for the Jennifer North sex-symbol role. What’s even better? Lindsay Lohan as walking drugstore Neely and Sharon Stone as her bitter rival, Helen Lawson. In this version, Neely is a rock singer, and Lawson a sexy, hip, older performer, but monstrous, nevertheless. Lohan is a huge fan of the original movie, and even purchased a rare “VOTD” French poster off eBay.

(Email Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com)

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