1,000-strong cast winds ‘BevHills Cop III’

GOOD MORNING: The final scene of “Beverly Hills Cop III” was filmed Wednesday at Par’s Great America amusement park outside Santa Clara (renamed “Wonder World” for the pic), with a cast of 1,000 — including star Eddie Murphy, in a blue elephant costume. I questioned director John Landis whether the 1,000 was an exaggeration. “Just a minute –” he said, taking the portable phone to his microphone platform above the crowd. “Say ‘Hello Army,’ ” he instructed his cast — who thundered back the greeting to me. OK — it’s 1,000. I then asked producer Bob Rehme whether the current bidding war for Paramount has resulted in more dough for “Cop’s” budget — like a cast of 1,000? No. But it’s no secret that joy reigns supreme at the studio, which will have more money to make more movies for whomever owns it. Rehme allowed: “If Barry (Diller) gets it — it’s great. I know and like him. And if Sumner (Redstone) gets it — it’s great. I know and like him.”… Meanwhile, Landis figures the pic’s budget is now about $ 40 million. “They had so much against it to start,” he recalled of the movie’s many script delays — and he laughed, “Studio charges are so Byzantine!” But he says this is Eddie Murphy’s funniest movie — he’s putting everyone in stitches. Murphy lost a lot of weight for the role — works out religiously. He has wife Nicole and their two children on the location — and rides the park’s roller coaster with ’em between takes … Romance note on the set: Roy Bean, in charge of playbacks for Landis, and driver Sandy Freeman, who met on the first day of shooting, jetted to Reno to get married … When Landis winds “Cop,” he resumes his ‘Dream On” TV series for its fifth year and he starts another series, “Weird Science,” for the USA Network.

“HE IS A PHENOMENON,” DGA president Gene Reynolds says of Blake Edwards, who will receive the Preston Sturges Award Sunday from both the DGA’s Reynolds and WGA’s Del Reisman. Thanks to Edwards, Reynolds departed acting ranks, became casting director on “Peter Gunn,” then moved into directing ranks. “What’s notable about Blake,” Reynolds reminds, “is that so many people have repeatedly worked with him for so many years. He has tremendous loyalty.” The program, which will cover 21 of Edwards’ films, starts Friday and tix can be purchased from the guilds … The DGA will be actively monitoring interactive TV progress, assures Reynolds. “We don’t want to miss out on anything.” And he promises the guild’s guarding against any censorship (following Attorney General Janet Reno’s remarks Wednesday) … President Clinton remains “fair game” for “Murphy Brown.” In an upcoming seg, Murphy (Candice Bergen) tries to get back into the White House, from which she’s again barred. Will the president himself appear? Stay tuned. Meanwhile, the seg with appearances by conservative senators Robert Dole, Alan Simpson and Orrin Hatch is skedded for sweeps, Nov. 8. Producers Gary Dontzig and Steven Peterman told me they were “surprised” by how willing the senators all were to do the dream sequence in which they roast Murphy. Dole also gets jabbed on next Monday’s show … Early Wednesday morning, the series’ Joe Regalbuto hosted the annual Monopoly Power Breakfast at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, benefiting Santa Monica/Malibu Meals on Wheels. The roving m.c. chore is usually handled by Loews Hotels president Jonathan Tisch — but he’s in N.Y., where wife Laura’s awaiting the stork. Regalbuto’s wife Rosemary, heading the Wheels on Meals charity, also was high bidder ($ 3,000) for a London trip in an auction m.c.’d by her husband. Auctioned walk-ons on the “Murphy Brown” show were bought by Barbara Lazaroff and Larry Levine. TV news personalities participated in the half-hour benefit Monopoly game, which raised $ 16,540. Winners included Ed Arnold (KTLA), Bret Lewis (KNBC) and Peter Tilden (KABC radio) … KNBC weatherman Fritz Coleman and headliner Dennis Wolfberg top the “Comics 4 Kids” comedy night at the Improv to benefit the ERAS Center for children at risk.

BOB HOSKINS MAKES HIS FIRST U.S. TV appearance playing Winston Churchill in NBC’s four-hour, high-definition miniseries version of David Rintels’ “WWII: Then There Were Giants.” John Lithgow plays FDR; Stalin’s yet to be cast. Joe Sargent directs … Harry Hamlin, Kelly McGillis and Keith Carradine star in CBS’ mini “Bitter Blood,” based on Jerry Bledsoe’s bestseller … Stephen Lang, Major Gen. George Pickett in “Gettsyburg,” plays another real-life character, Ike Clanton, in Disney’s “Tombstone”– and a fictional character in “Tall Tale”… Writer Claire McCance and her husband, marketing maven Seth Willenon, named their second son, born Sept. 30, Samuel Hodge.