GOOD MORNING: “Truth follows fiction–and fiction follows truth,” Robert Halmi reminded us yesterday after he had poured another $ 100,000 into his four-hour CBS mini “The Fire Next Time.” The reason: He dispatched a crew to Morgan City, La., to film Hurricane Andrew’s destructive force–on the very same site (a parking lot) “where we had staged our own hurricane four weeks ago. But it’s worth it to make my picture so realistic,” Halmi told me. The mini, about global warming, stars Bonnie Bedelia, Craig T. Nelson and Richard Farnsworth. “And it’s a forewarning to the country about imminent disaster,” Halmi added. “It’s dark, a downer–people will take notice.” And the web’s got it skedded for February sweeps. … Viacom’s “Key West” troupe returns to that city to pick up filming the Fox series on Monday. Phones and power were still intermittent yesterday. … MGM’s “Undercover Blues” troupe, headed by Kathleen Turner, Dennis Quaid and director Herb Ross, are back from another site hard-hit by the hurricane, Lafayette, La., where they shot in a salt mine 1,300 feet below the surface of the earth–reached by an elevator. … Dick Crenna, vacationing with his family at their summer home in northern California, reports there were small fires “all around us.” And the major. destructive fire, almost 100 miles away, is sending smoke all the way to ’em. “Two years ago, it was nail-biting time here as well,”said Crenna. … Paul Sorvino, departing “Law & Order” Oct. 2 (as reported here), sez he’s leaving the series “because my singing is happening and I can’t damage my voice working in the cold (of N.Y.’s winter).” He cuts an album with a 40-piece orch in October. Sorvino also has a couple of movies in development, including “A New Yorker”–which he hopes will be filmed when the Big Apple’s warm.
JIMMY WOODS STEPS INTO THE RING to direct–with the Sonny Liston biopic his Breakheart banner’s developing as a bigscreen feature. (Breakheart was a co-producer on “Citizen Cohn”–although Woods admits he’d turned it down for two years). And he’s also talking the “People Like Us” heavy, the law firm boss who fires the AIDS-stricken Tom Hanks. “It’s an important project,” says Woods–the reason why he’d play another unsympathetic barrister. And he’s also seen as a lawyer–representing Joan Berry in “Chaplin.” It’s a small role but Richard Attenborough asked him to play it. “And I told him I’d play any part in his film ,” says Woods. Now, Attenborough’s talking to him about playing Tom Paine. … Showtime’s “Mastergate” by Larry Gelbart is being taped in three days (after a week’s rehearsals) by the all-star cast–working for scale. … The Navy’s Blue Angels (six F-18s and their crews) are in Europe on a goodwill tour, which Rob Stone’s lensing for a one-hour TV spec. Stone, the young (29) actor-filmmaker who got industryites to contribute all to the making of “The Sidewalk Motel” about the homeless, ditto’d for this one via his Vienna Prods. Among those participating; Sony, Upper Deck, Breitling Watches, Continental Airlines, SAS Airlines, Nikon, etc. Eight countries, including Russia, will be visited by the U.S. Navy fliers–THE GUY MCELWAINES are divorcing. Deborah, Guy’s wife of seven years (they have one son), has filed. … “This was a honeymoon,” Castle Rock’s managing partner Alan Horn told the ‘Honeymoon in Vegas” preem crowd at Mann’s Chinese, Tuesday p.m. The benefit was for the Coalition for Clean Air. “And driving to this event ,” said Horn, “how could anyone not be for clean air in L.A.?” (He also noted Castle Rock is celebrating its fifth anni). Tom Soto, president of the coalition , thanked the contributing crowd–which heavily applauded the movie and the party afterwards on a decked-out (a la Vegas) parking lot around the corner from the Chinese. Alan Levine, president/chief operating officer of Sony Pictures Entertainment, noted that his father and uncle had once owned the property. Columbia and Castle Rock exex congratted the pic makers, Mike Lobell and Andrew Bergman, cast members Jimmy Caan, Nicolas Cage and Sarah Jessica Parker (who had to return to Pittsburgh and “Three Rivers”), and ace cinematographer Bill Fraker , who photo’d the hilarious finale of skydiving “Flying Elvises”–and Cage landing on the Las Vegas Strip. A very funny movie! Earlier at the Westwood Marquis, Mayor Tom Bradley and Academy of TV Arts & Sciences Leo Chaloukian presented nomination certificates to actor-nominees with Elayne Boosler as femcee. She said she was en route to Dodger Stadium when Bradley detoured her to the Emmy event. With Japan signing on for telecast rights, this year’s Emmys will have its largest foreign audience. … Variety Boys’ & Girls’ Club yesterday presented Jerry Buss with its Golden Man of the Year Award and KNBC’s Linda Alvarez with Golden Woman of the Year at the Sportsmens Lodge. Pacific Theaters’ Jay Swerdlow and Brine Nikell received the Distinguished Merit Awards. Mann Theaters’ Bill Hertz is the club’s spokesman. … Rip Taylor joins “Indecent Proposal,” playing Demi Moore’s kind and gentle real estate agency boss. … Before the Martina Navratilova-Jimmy Connors match at Caesars Sept. 25, Nicolette Sheridan and Kristy McNichol will battle Dick Van Patten and Sugar Ray Leonard on the court.