GOOD MORNING: How do you shoot a different movie fight scene? I found out, with difficulty — standing on a set with a 15-degree list, the interior of a rotting gambling ship casino. It’s the site of the grand finale of MGM/Trilogy’s “Blown Away,” starring Jeff Bridges and Tommy Lee Jones. They fought down the ship’s angled stairway, where Jones had booby-trapped Bridges with a series of spikes into his leg (artfully “inserted” by the special effects/makeup team). The brawl continued amid broken glass and leaking sea water, as Jones pulled up Bridges by leveraging a nail-lined board under his (Bridges’) chin. “Here’s a trick I learned in repertory,” said Jones as they switched pressure on the would-be strangling board! Young director Stephen Hopkins told me he’d learned some tricks from friend Andy McLaglen, who directed many movie fights — he’d learned tricks from his father, Victor, who starred in classic movie fights with John Wayne (“The Quiet Man”). And carrying on the tradition is Josh McLaglen, a.d. on this movie as well. Bridges also reminded me his father, Lloyd (who co-stars in the movie), also had a classic fight — with Gary Cooper in “High Noon.””And I always wanted to do an action movie,” admitted Bridges. After this — he’d like to do a family pic with kids! … The movie’s gambling ship was blown up in Boston harbor — you recall the explosion was so heavy, nearby office windows were blown out — now, the interiors are filming here. Trilogy’s producer John Watson said cooperation from Boston and the state (Mass.) was terrific and officials were regular visitors … Ethel Kennedy was also a set visitor. Her son-in-law Paul Hill (married to Courtney K.), author of”The Stolen Years”– he was falsely imprisoned in Ireland — has been helpful with background info for the filmmakers, said exec producer Lloyd Segan.
OSCAR COULD FIND CO-STARS Jeff Bridges and Tommy Lee Jones in competition: the former for “Fearless,” Jones for Oliver Stone’s “Heaven and Earth.” They don’t talk much about it but like the idea. Jones noted of his adversary in this movie, “We’re brothers”… Tommy Lee, who also appears in Oliver Stone’s “Natural Born Killers” and co-stars in Andy Davis’ “The Fugitive,” says he hopes both directors call on him for anything they do. But he’s busy on his own. He’s now learning to bat left-handed for his Ty Cobb biopic and is busy writing, readying to produce, direct and star in Elmer Kilton’s 1906, Texas-set “Good Old Boys” Western for TNT … When Frank Mancuso took over at MGM, he not only increased the budget for “Blown Away” but also was active in its casting with Trilogy’s Watson, Richard Lewis and Pen Densham. The trio is also readying a baseball picture, “The Walls Came Tumbling Down,” about the Negro baseball league in the ’30s … Cuba Gooding Jr. is joining the cast that includes Forest Whitaker and Suzy Amis.
NOW, THAT’S A SETTLEMENT: Paul Alter won a $ 300,000 plagiarism suit against Disney. Alter had claimed parts of his story, “Now, That’s a Baby,” submitted to Disney in 1980, were used in “Honey, I Blew Up the Kid.” Alter was repped by attorney Tom Girardi in the jury trial before Judge David Yaffe … Alter, a vet gameshow director and producer (now directs “The Price Is Right”) has written a screenplay titled “Liars’ Poker”– about the gameshow biz … A record $ 750,000 was raised at the National Conference of Christians & Jews Humanitarian 30th Award dinner honoring Sherry Lansing at the BevHilton. Sidney Sheinberg and Bob Daly co-chaired, Barry London chaired the motion picture group, Kelsey Grammer emceed and Kenny Rogers winged in from Vegas to entertain. A moving, earlier-aired ABC news seg about the NCCJ kids’ camp set the brotherhood theme of the night and it was further emphasized in Lansing’s touching speech about her lessons in tolerance — her mom escaped from Nazi Germany — and what the biz can do to further cooperate. She was also toasted in a film produced by Kaleidoscope, directed by Jeff Werner chronicling Lansing’s life from model to teacher, actress, producer, exec and, above all, humanitarian. A star lineup from her (Par) pictures cameo’d in the taped tribute … Among the Par producers-directors on hand, her husband Billy Friedkin, whose “Blue Chips” gets a February release, and Mark Rydell, whose “Intersection” is skedded for January. Also there, Mace Neufeld and Bob Rehme, who just wound “BevHills Cop III” and started “Clear and Present Danger”… Today Stanley Durwood, AMC Entertainment’s chairman and CEO, is the Motion Picture Pioneers’ Pioneer of the Year and will be toasted at the Century Plaza. The group aids movie industry colleagues “who have fallen on hard times.”