Warners preps for presidency

GOOD MORNING: George Bush, in town today, should feel at home at WB in the near future–a big chunk of the White House and D.C. exteriors are being built for “Dave” at the studio. Kevin Kline will star, not only as the president, but as an exact double for the chief exec in the comedy, to be directed by Ivan Reitman, who also co-produces with Lauren Shuler. Gary Ross (“Big”) scripted the comedy–which also deals with some current, serious issues. Reitman hopes to include a “Greek chorus” of real D.C. correspondents … Reitman’s also planning reteaming with “Twins” Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito–but separately: Arnold in “Oh Baby,” being written by Alice Arlen; and Danny in “Prague,” written by Lem Dobbs. Reitman was born in Prague and escaped when he was 5 years old. He still has relatives over there–met President Havel here … Michael J. Fox segues from Universal to Touchstone to star in “Life With Mikey” for Scott Rudin and Marc Lawrence Meanwhile, Bette Midler heads to Universal for “That Old Feeling” in August, then follows at Disney with “Hokus Pokus” for producer David Vogel, with Kenny Ortega directing. Midler’s U/CBS “Gypsy” project will probably not start until next year … Kirk Douglas receives an honorary doctorate of fine arts from USC tomorrow. The first given by them to an actor? And Saturday, Kirk and wife Anne are downtown again–this time at the Anne Douglas Center for Homeless Women–for a special Mother’s Day event.

The Douglases have added to their usual contributions at the center in view of the current emergency … Kirk was saddened yesterday by the news of Marlene Dietrich’s death. “When I first went to Europe, she met me in N.Y., spent an hour with me giving me advice–and her St. Christopher medal. ‘This’ll bring you luck,’ she told me.” Douglas was also shocked by the death of Jilly Rizzo, whom he’d known via his friendship with Frank Sinatra over many years Triad’s Frank Rio recalled many years as Marlene Dietrich’s agent–he booked her nitery act around the world. “She was a total pro–definitive, and tough,” he laughed. Rio booked her into the Desert Inn at Las Vegas, where we met her–in her see-through gown, which made front pages. George Sidney recalled taking Dietrich to Lindy’s in N.Y. decades ago. “She ordered two pieces of cheesecake and women around her were jealous, wondering how she could do it–and maintain that gorgeous figure. “What they don’t know,” Dietrich told Sidney, “is this is the first thing I’ve eaten all week!”

TALKING OF THE WHITE HOUSE earlier, politix rears a timely–and disturbing–head in Tim Robbins’ “Bob Roberts.” It was screened for industryites and potential domestic distribs Tuesday p.m. at the BevHills Music Hall. Robbins directed, scripted, stars and–sings as a redneck senatorial candidate vs. a longtime incumbent, Gore Vidal. The movie was brought in for an amazing $ 3 million. Robbins heads to Cannes for the Directors Fortnight screening of this–and “The Player.” Live Entertainment, which owns the U.S. and Canadian rights to “Roberts,” also has “Reservoir Dog” and “Bad Lieutenant” at Cannes Before leaving for France, Robbins and Susan Sarandon named their newborn son Miles Guthrie … ICM’s Jeff Berg, who is handling the “Roberts” sale, was talking to Brandon Tartikoff after the screening here. Among others on hand were Mike Medavoy, Roger Birnbaum, Bruce Berman, Bill Gerber, Ricardo Mestras, Bill Soady, etc. Live’s Ronna Wallace intro’d the film to the audience. She’s one of the exec producers. Also there, Mark Johnson, who with Baltimore Films’ Barry Levinson is credited “in association” with Polygram/Wrong Title prods. There was mucho “spin” about the movie after this first outing. And Robbins’ debut directing.

HARPERCOLLINS’ DEAL with Barbara Taylor Bradford for three novels is closer to $ 30 million, Robert Bradford tells us. And Barbara still retains foreign-language, movie and TV rights. “To Be the Best,” with Anthony Hopkins, Lindsay Wagner and Stephanie Beacham, a four-hour mini version of her book, airs (CBS) in Aug. And Robert’s readying her latest, “Remember” for NBC, and “The Women in His Life.” Barbara’s winding her final Random House book, “Angel,” which is also headed for a mini. She tells us it’s about a costume designer and is set in N.Y., Hollywood, London, Paris and the Loire Valley. One of the characters is a movie star. Another’s a singer–a la Vic Damone, Julio Iglesias or Frank Sinatra. Barbara said they dined with Damone at his Michael’s Pub SRO stand in N.Y. but didn’t incorporate any of their conversation in her book. Asked howcum her books haven’t gone the bigscreen route, she said, “With all my complicated plots, I need four hours!” Next week, KABC Radio’s Michael Jackson takes his show to South Central L.A. schools each ayem, following hefty reaction from visits with youngsters at the studio this week At Elaine’s in N.Y., producer Dick Wolf, who films his “Law & Order” in N.Y, said he had hoped to do his “Crime & Punishment” on the streets of L.A. but–had to shift to N.Y. presently–you know why. Also at Elaine’s, Michael Caine talking his Christmas Muppet show stint with Brian Henson. Also there–Woody Allen and Mia Farrow Louis Gossett Jr. gets his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame May 20. His “Diggstown USA,” from MGM, bows in August.