MGM pic goes ‘Undercover’ on Sony lot

GOOD MORNING: It seemed strange yesterday driving on the lot past the Sony sign, then walking alongside the familiar stages en route to Stage 10 where–an MGM movie was being made. “A stage is a stage,” said “Undercover Blues” director Herb Ross, who had worked on this lot on “The Sunshine Boys” and “Pennies From Heaven” for Leo the Lion’s Ars Gratia Artis banner, which now tops the building across the street. Curiously, an MGM classic, “The Thin Man,” is the “prototype” for “Undercover Blues,” said Ross. Kathleen Turner and Dennis Quaid co-star as spies, instead of the sleuths played by Myrna Loy and William Powell. And instead of a dog (Asta) co-starring, there’s a baby, played by darling 11 -month-old Michelle Schuelke. And, said producer Mike Lobell, they are already talking about the possibility of a series of pix a la “Thin Men.””In the next one we’ll have a baby–and a dog,” said Quaid … Lobell had missed the freeway exit on his way to work yesterday morning–he was in elated phone conversation with partner Andrew Bergman. They have been deluged with offers since the boffo bow of their (Castle Rock) “Honeymoon in Vegas.” They’re also deluged with offers to merchandise items such as the “Flying Elvis” hats from the movie … The MGM deal for “Blues” was set with Bergman/Lobell before their long-term Castle Rock pact–and they’ll stay with the Rockers since their working relationship is a honeymoon, Lobell assured. The $ 25 million “Honeymoon” will be followed by two more family films, “Little Big League” and “Wolf Dog.” Macaulay Culkin will be pitched to star in the “League” as a kid who inherits the Kansas City Royals. They’ll film with the team next season.

EVERYTHING’S NOW GREAT,” said a very trim and glamorous Kathleen Turner, who admitted she’d undergone a rough year following “V.I. Warshawski.” She broke her nose, and dental complications set her back. She followed with a heavy drama, “House of Cards,” about autistic children. “I’m ready to laugh again,” she said. “And we have plenty of laughs on this one.” There’s also a lot of action and stunts on “Blues”–including one in which she was strapped to the bottom of an elevator in an 1,100-foot shaft for one of the sequences. “I love that stuff,” said the star of “Romancing the Stone.” Meanwhile, she and Quaid also have a wonderful way with the infant in the film as we watched them with baby Michelle in a scene. “Play peek-a-boo–with her,” Herb Ross directed as Turner and Quaid readied to calm the baby for a take. Quaid picked her up from a playpen, danced her about the room before Turner gently nuzzled her for a “Print.” Ross said they were unbelievably lucky with the youngster, who was called on to take her first steps in the movie–she did, this week. Offstage, Turner played with her own 4 1/2 year old daughter, Rachel, who arrived with Turner’s music producer-husband Jay Weiss … Between takes, Ross told me he has scripted “Chicago” to be produced by Robert Fryer and Marty Richards. Ross has gone back to the original 1929 B’way’er for the story of the musical. Who’d he like to star? Annette Bening … As I was leaving the Sony lot I noted everything’s being renovated and painted. The long row of paint-peeling pillars on the side of the studio facing Washington Blvd. are getting a facelift and the lengthy gates, long dusted and rusted are being shined and tipped with gold–like they must have looked in the so-called halcyon days of MGM.

EMMY REACTION BEYOND the Quayle-ings: on the “L.A. Law” stage at 20th, several crew reps came over this week to thank winner Richard Dysart for his remarks about their long, dark hours of work on sets. They said his words were appreciated by them–and their families … And Michael Jeter’s thanks to agent Joan Scott (Writers & Artists Agency) brought her calls from people she hadn’t heard from in years, she says …”L.A. Law’s” Alan Rachins will be honored by the West Coast Friends of Bar-Ilan U. Sept. 10 at the BevWilshire for cancer and AIDS research at the U. in Israel … Bob Wagner and Stefanie Powers, who have played “Love Letters” from London to the current Hawaii stand, have signed for another five weeks in ’93 in the U.S. “We love doing it,” said R.J. … Lili and Richard Zanuck take their MGM “Rich in Love” to fests in Deauville, Vancouver, Chicago, Denver … And Jennifer Beals of “2000 Malibu Road,” does the Deauville and Venice fests with director-husband Alexandre Rockwell and their film “In the Soup.” They, too, hit the Toronto and N.Y. fests …”Dennis the Menace” cartoonist Hank Ketcham visited the set of the WB movie, met the cast led by six year-old Mason Gamble, who called the artist “Mr. Ketchup”… Doug Brady, “Pinhead” in the “Hellraiser” trilogy, dons full makeup and 100-plus pins for his likeness at the Hollywood Wax Museum Tuesday. He did ditto honors this past Tuesday in N.Y. at Planet Hollywood … This year’s Carousel of Hope silent auction has so many items, Barbara and Marvin Davis have arranged a preview night Oct. 1 for a reception in advance of the following night’s star-studded (and we mean it) gala. Further–bids can be accepted by mail for the charity. Items include dinner for 100 at Morton’s to a trip around the world to all Disney parks … As a result of the St.James’s Club on the Strip lowering its membership from $ 850 a year to $ 50, 62 members signed up on the first day.