×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Peters, Geffen in talks to buy Bel-Air Hotel

GOOD MORNING: Jon Peters and David Geffen are negotiating to buy the Bel-Air Hotel for a price rumored to be in the neighborhood of $60 million. That’s a nice neighborhood, you must admit. The hotel was last sold to the Japanese hotel company Sazale for a reported $1 million per room–for a total of about $100 million. Geffen, you recall, also bought the Jack Warner Beverly Hills estate for $ 47.5 million and is pouring millions into its new look. … Talking real estate, although ICM is moving out of its Beverly Blvd. HQ early next year, it still has to pay rent to present landlords Pierre Cossette and Stan Herman until July ’94. The latter have been offered big dough by others to sell and/or rent the valuable site, says Stan. But they will give it a facelift instead. … And talking location–the man responsible for finding those picture-perfect stops on the Clinton-Gore bus tours is Hollywood producer Mort Engelberg. He heads out again tomorrow to set more sites from Detroit to Buffalo. Engelberg admits even he was flabbergasted by the turnout at some of his locations. “I couldn’t believe 2,500 people would show up at 2:30 ayem in the parking lot of a small Midwest town where the dinner hour is never later than 6 p.m.” Add a perfect location: Magic Mountain is the spot for Magic Johnson’s birthday party late Thursday night after the park closes. He’ll be 33 on Friday. … “The Fantastic Four” must start production by the end of the year, per his deal with Marvel Comics, says producer Bernd Eichinger (“The Name of the Rose,””Never-Ending Story”). So he’s altered his sights from a $40 million-$45 million production to $5 million. And says he’s talking to Concorde’s Roger Corman and Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman about co-producing “Rubyfruit Jungle,” the controversial breakthrough bestseller by Rita Mae Brown about the coming of age of a young lesbian, has been bought by Anthony Unger and Bruce Campbell to be feature-filmed.

WHAT DID JESUS CHRIST really look like? While Blair Underwood was searching a subject to direct for his first (short) film, the Rodney King and Ice-T subjects were making front pages and Underwood mused, “What would happen if Jesus Christ came back today–as a man of color? How would he be treated?” Well, Underwood has now completed “The Second Coming,” a 30-minute short that he financed as well as directed. He also stars as Christ, in full dreadlocks and beard. The cast also includes Rosalind Cash as Mary, Alisan Porter (“Curly Sue”) as one of the true believers and James Earl Jones as narrator. Underwood made “Second Coming” under his banner, Quiet Fury Prods. The film opens with the Crucifixion, segues to the present in a mental institution where Christ is sent–because he claims to be the Messiah. Underwood told me his interpretation as a filmmaker “is to say that Jesus was a man of color and to firmly establish that Christ was an orthodox Jew. What is most important,” he reminded, “is that we as human beings understand that our spirituality is colorless.” Underwood previously directed four musicvideos with Tony Terry as well as with rap groups Positive Generation and the Awesome Threesome. Asked his opinion of Ice-T’s controversial song, he noted, “You have to have freedom of speech, but you also have to be accountable for what you say.” The multitalented Underwood also wrapped the NBC telepic “Father and Son,” on which he’s associate producer and in which he co-stars with Lou Gossett Jr. Next week, he returns to “L.A. Law” for his sixth season.

AMONG THE 2,500 aboard the QE2 when she went aground off Martha’s Vineyard were George Kennedy, Tom Clancy and personal manager Wilt Melnick. “It felt like an earthquake,” reports Melnick. “But the captain assured all there was no danger.” And while they all waited for tenders to take all passengers ashore, it was party time on board. “I’ll have a QE2 on the rocks,” Melnick told his waiter. “What’s that?””Scotch and salt water.” Most of the passengers were taken to Newport, bused to trains to N.Y. “The Cunard line did a helluva job,” adds Melnick. Their luggage, left onboard, will hopefully be shipped to ’em soon. … John Candy signed with CAA Ben Gazzara and Jerry Orbach inked with Tom Korman of the Artists Group. … George DiCenzo signed with the Gersh Agency. George formed a Center for the Performing Arts at his farm in Bucks County, Penn. First season kicks off in February in conjunction with the first annual James Michener Arts Fest. … Jeffrey Jones signed with Wm. Morris. … James Garner, Joe DiMaggio, Buddy Hackett, Morgan Brittany and Vic Damone were the winners at David Wolper’s celeb golf tourney, which raised $125,000 for the Boys & Girls Club of Napa, Wolper’s new home up there–which boasts its own golf course. … Roger E. Mosley hosts the annual Celeb Softball Game to benefit the Sickle Cell Disease Research Foundation, Sept. 20 at Derby Park in Inglewood. … APLA’s backlot bash at Universal raised $250,000. … The N.Y. Friars Club lunch roast of Billy Crystal Sept. 18 at the N.Y. Hilton will boast a record dais of celebs and industry exex with whom Crystal’s worked. … Katherine and Bob Altman celebrated their 33rd wedding anni at Jay Fiondella’s Chez Jay. It was the eatery’s 34th anni and Jay’s birthday (who counts) as well.

More Voices

  • Stock market Stock buyback

    Stock Buybacks Leave Firms Without Funds to Invest in Future (Column)

    Corporate giants on the S&P 500 have spent more than $720 billion during the past year on stock buybacks. Media and entertainment firms account for only a fraction of that spending, but even $1 million spent on share repurchases seems a foolhardy expenditure at this transformational moment for the industry. Related Oscars: With PGA Victory, [...]

  • Hollywood Has Come Far With Diversity

    An Insider's Look at Hollywood's Diversity Efforts and How Far It Still Needs to Go

    I am a white man working in Hollywood. I grew up in Beverlywood, an all-white, predominantly Jewish, Los Angeles neighborhood sandwiched between 20th Century Fox Studios and MGM, where my elementary school had only one black student. Related Oscars: With PGA Victory, 'Green Book' Becomes Best Picture Frontrunner 'Saturday Night Live': Alec Baldwin, Pete Davidson Lead [...]

  • Venice Film Festival A Star is

    How Venice, Toronto and Telluride Festivals Stole Cannes' Luster (Column)

    In all the years I’ve been attending film festivals, I have never seen a lineup that looked as good on paper as Venice’s did this fall, boasting new films by Alfonso Cuarón (“Roma”), Damien Chazelle (“First Man”), Paul Greengrass (“22 July”), Mike Leigh (“Peterloo”) and the Coen brothers (“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”) in competition, [...]

  • Black Women in Medicine BTS

    Hollywood Needs to Include People With Disabilities on Both Sides of the Camera (Guest Column)

    In five years, nothing has changed. Related Oscars: With PGA Victory, 'Green Book' Becomes Best Picture Frontrunner 'Saturday Night Live': Alec Baldwin, Pete Davidson Lead 'Deal or No Deal: Government Shutdown Edition' (Watch) Despite open calls for greater diversity and inclusion, recent research shows that there was little change in the number of characters with [...]

  • Hollywood Safe Workplace

    Why Hollywood Needs to Lead the Way in Showing How to Create a Safer Workplace

    Ladies and gentlemen in media and entertainment, now is your time. You’ve been through a lot lately, but the eyes of the world are on you. On behalf of your fans, I implore you to make the most of it. Related Oscars: With PGA Victory, 'Green Book' Becomes Best Picture Frontrunner 'Saturday Night Live': Alec [...]

  • Seven Seconds

    Fighting the Racial Bias at the Core of Hollywood’s Cop Shows (Guest Column)

    If fiction is the lie that tells a deeper truth, the TV crime genre has been, for the most part, the lie that simply tells a lie. As a storyteller (Veena) and an advocate for racial justice (Rashad), we collaborated for the past two-and-a-half years in an attempt to reimagine the roles of cops, victims, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content