Shelley’s monster to be rebuilt — twice

GOOD MORNING: The classic “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” and a contemporary comedy “Frank” are in makeup. Well, the monster star, Robert De Niro, is headed to England and further makeup tests for the November start of the Coppola-Branagh version of the classic, while Jerry Zucker’s banner has set Larry Gelbart to script “Frank” following Andy Breckman’s first draft. “Frank” will frankly have “Tootsie-like” poignancy, says Zucker — and why not, Gelbart also co-scripted that pic. The 1990s-set “Frank” character will be a perfect specimen, created from the best parts by a contemporary surgeon — who is short-lived in this pic. A young boy takes over as “Frank’s” friend. “We are not paying homage to the classic ‘Frankenstein,’ ” says Zucker. His banner, with brother David and prez Gil Netter, is under pact to Sony, and Columbia releases their “My Life” in November. Next to start will be “Davey Crockett,” and their King Arthur-Sir Lancelot epic “First Knight” is back in the saddle. It was tabled back in April after months of England investigations. Next on the Zucker freres’ agenda is “The Bystander.” And over at Par, where they have the currently filming “Naked Gun 33 1/3,” they have upcoming “Toddlers.” And at MGM, “A Walk in the Clouds” directed by Alfonse Arau (“Like Water for Chocolate”) to go in February … De Niro, before heading to England, detoured to L.A. for the DGA screening of his auspicious directorial outing on “A Bronx Tale.” As an emigre from the Bronx, I congratulate De Niro on capturing the Bronx to perfection. Among those at the “It’s Your Party” post-screening were the pic’s star/writer Chazz Palminteri, Bruce Willis, Juliette Lewis (with De Niro in “Cape Fear”) and Joe Pesci (“GoodFellas” and a cameo in “Bronx”).

A NEW MOVIE LIFE FOR Lanford Wilson’s “Burn This”: New Line dropped it and now Marcia Nasatir and Steven Haft have bought the pic rights. Lanford and Marshall W. Mason have scripted and Mason, who directed the legiter, will ditto on screen. Joan Allen won a Tony on B’way and the usual suspect movie superstars are paged for this version … The song is ended but the memory lingers on — and how! The success of the soundtrack album and CD (Epic) from “Sleepless in Seattle” continues with a second, “More Songs for Sleepless Nights”– songs that didn’t make the cut, happily reports Gary Foster. It will include another Jimmy Durante number. You recall his inimitable renditions of “As Time Goes By” and “Make Someone Happy” helped charm the movie. Durante’s also in the pic’s VH-1 video on “As Time Goes By” taken from a Lennon Sisters vidappearance … Durante’s widow, Margie, was enthusing about the newfound Durante fans (and royalties, of course) as she guested, along with 200 pals of Georgette Mosbacher , at the latter’s “Feminine Force” (Simon & Schuster) book bash at the Bistro Garden. Joanna Carson, Kelly Day and Mary Hart hosted friends who “knew her when” she was Georgette Muir, later Georgette Barrie — as well as Mosbacher … They included Marcia Israel, there with James Curley (the president in “In the Line of Fire”), Pam and Tom Korman, Nancy (Mrs. Alan) Livingston, Noreen Siegel, Kate Jackson, etc. … Typecasting: Mickey Rooney, who starred in “National Velvet” and played a horse trainer in 78 “Black Stallion” segs, is a trainer in a “Murder, She Wrote” seg for his former MGM stablemate Angela Lansbury … Vanna White, Weird Al Yankovic and Raquel Welch cameo as themselves in “Naked Gun 33 1/3.” And Leslie Nielsen poses as Phil Donahue when Lt. Frank Drebin has to pass as Donahue to gain access to the Oscars. All it took was a pair of dark-framed glasses. Nielsen has the right color hair. In a prison-yard scene, Nielsen’s (Drebin’s) voiceover says, “I was surrounded by pimps, rapists, gangsters and murderers — it was like sitting in the stands at a L.A. Raiders’ game.”

GARTH BROOKS’ FIERY SEG in the Texas Stadium concert in Irving over the weekend utilized Universal’s “Backdraft” experts. As promised, Brooks flew over the audience in a “Peter Pan”-like harness. But in his mustard-and-black-colored shirt, one wag said, he looked like a bumblebee. The audience stood in amazement for much of the show, to be NBC-aired in May sweeps and also cassetted. There was also action on the stadium floor — a fist fight broke out in front of the press box. It is Texas, you know … Neil Diamond’s stand here at the Forum is a sellout and a third night’s added, Dec. 18 … Wendy and Beau Bridges welcomed their third child, a boy, Ezekiel, Friday. Beau had the day off “Harts of the West”… Paula Poundstone hosts tonight’s Environmental Media Awards at 20th-Fox studio … Oct. 2, the Fantasticks start a six-week benefit run at the Egyptian Arena Theater benefiting the Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

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