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WB, Hughes tune up for ‘Pajama Game’ remake

HOME ALONE IN PAJAMAS: Warner Bros. has blanketed rights to the Broadway musical “The Pajama Game” for writerdirectorproducer John Hughes to develop into a big-screen remake. The original 1957 movie version, co-directed by George Abbott and Stanley Donen, starred Doris Day as the head of a factory grievance committee and John Raitt as the foreman.

Now, just let your casting imagination run wild.

LOOKING FOR FATTER “FIRM” DEAL: A highly competitive free-for-all has erupted for the movie rights to John Grisham’s new book “The Client,” which was leaked to the town last week before the author’s representatives could implement their strategy to go to specific producers and studios.

Sources say there is more than one bid on the table for the latest work by the author of “The Firm” and “The Pelican Brief.” Paramount reportedly has thrown a figure upwards of $1 million into the ring along with producer John Davis (who’s producing “The Firm” with Scott Rudin), and Warner Bros. and possibly others are also said to be in there.

But, there ain’t a deal yet. DISH hears Grisham’s reps plan to hold out until Thursday, hoping to get the ante up even higher. The story centers on a female attorney hired to protect a street-smart 11-year-old kid who witnesses a lawyer’s suicide and is pursued by the mob because he knows where the body of a senator is buried.

WHEREFORE ART THOU, ROMEO? Julia Roberts is in search of a new Romeo to play opposite her in Ed Zwick’s “Shakespeare in Love,” because first choice Daniel Day-Lewis has officially passed on the period romancer.

Day-Lewis is committed to star in his “My Left Foot” mentor Jim Sheridan’s next movie, “The Gerry Conlon Story” (working title), as one of the Guildford Four, who were wrongly charged and imprisoned for participating in an IRA bombing. Day-Lewis’ Gotham-based agent Gene Paraseghian, of Triad Artists, said the actor’s primary reasons for passing on “Shakespeare” was that he’d like to have more breathing room between the just-finished “Age of Innocence” and starting “Conlon,” to go sometime in 1993. Also, “he’s been very involved” with the Sheridan project “and wants to follow through on it.”

Paraseghian noted that “Shakespeare”–a planned joint venture between Universal and Savoy Pix–and “Conlon” were “not necessarily in conflict” and stressed that Day-Lewis “certainly had no reservations about the elements” involved in “Shakespeare,” having “only the highest regard for Julia, Ed Zwick and the script.”

While “Conlon,” based on an original script by Sheridan and Terry George, is not yet a go picture, it is believed Universal will be involved at some point, since that’s where Sheridan has an overall deal.

So back to poor Romeo-less Julia … DISH hears every Brit in the Royal Shakespeare Co. is lining up to audition for the Bard role and that Universal is likely to go for an unknown rather than a proven Hollywood type in hopes of discovering the next Mel Gibson (or, for that matter, the next Daniel Day-Lewis).

MGM SLAM-DUNKS WOODY: Remember all the fanfare around the lawsuit MGM leveled against Woody Harrelson, Paramount, producer Sherry Lansing and director Adrian Lyne after the actor bailed out of “Benny & Joon” to star in “Indecent Proposal” earlier this year?

Well, it’s been quietly settled, according to our Deeeeep Throat, for between $ 400,000 and $ 500,000. In its original filing, MGM–which was prepared to push Harrelson to the wall to drive home its point, “hey, you can’t do this”–said it was looking to collect in excess of $ 5 million in damages.

Asked for a comment yesterday, all MGM attorney Howard Weitzman would say was: “The MGM-Harrelson-Paramount-et al. dispute has been resolved satisfactorily to MGM. The terms are confidential but I can say that MGM feels their position has been vindicated and they’re happy with the resolution.”

SLIVER” MENAGE-A-TROIS COMPLETE: Tom Berenger has been set for the third part of the triangle opposite Sharon Stone and Billy Baldwin in Paramount’s upcoming erotic thriller “Sliver,” based on Joe Eszterhas’ adaptation of Ira Levin’s best-seller. Under Phillip Noyce’s direction, Berenger will play the role of Jack Lansford, a writer of cop stories, while Baldwin portrays the charismatic multimillionaire Zeke Hawkins, who may or may not be a serial killer, with Stone as a New York publishing house editor, the object of their desires.

WYNONA, DO YA HEAR VOICES? There have been a series of meetings at Warner Bros. for Kathryn Bigelow’s passion project “Company of Angels” in which Wynona Ryder is now attached to star as Joan of Arc rather than hairless Irish pop star Sinead O’Connor. WB sources say the studio is somewhat skeptical about the expensive period piece, which would be shot in Spain in early ’93, and so no deal has been signed yet. James Cameron and Larry Kasanoff, who are attached as executive producers, have been funding the development of the script out of their old development fund from Carolco. Bigelow will direct and produce.

VINNY GOES BRIT: Screenwriter Dale Launer is in the throes of sketching out a sequel to Fox’s sleeper comedy hit “My Cousin Vinny,” which will see the hopelessly inept lawyer Vinny (Joe Pesci) trying to prove his love to Mona Lisa Vito (Marisa Tomei) by setting up a surprise wedding in Paris.

But his best-laid plans go awry when the plane mysteriously lands in London and Scotland Yard comes aboard and arrests his bride-to-be in a case of mistaken identity. Vinny hires an English barrister, but again, things hit a bump when at the last minute something happens to the dude and Vinny himself winds up in Britain’s higher court with the powdered wig. Fox, which still hasn’t released Launer’s directorial debut, “Love Potion No. 9,” reportedly wants to see a draft of the “Vinny” sequel by this spring.

THE JUSTICE OF THE PEACE BAILS: Michael Hoffman will not be offering directing services for “Runaway Bride,” a Paramount movie to wed Harrison Ford and Geena Davis. The ceremony was slated to get under way in January and still may go then if a new director can be snagged in time. Sources said the ever-particular Hoffman (“Soapdish”) had problems with the script, originally penned by Sara Parriott & Josan McGibbon, with a rewrite by Elaine May.

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