Stallone, Snipes stray from set

GOOD MORNING: Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and yes, Macy’s does tell Gimbels. This Friday, with three weeks yet to film on WB’s “Demolition Man” (which started Feb. 12), Sylvester Stallone gets a week off to p.a. TriStar’s “Cliffhanger” in Europe. And “Demolition” co-star Wesley Snipes gets four days off for appearances with 20th’s “Rising Sun.” Joel Silver, now on the final seg of “Demolition,” is able to shoot around his stars alternately because they’re in a mammoth, million-dollar-plus scene. I visited the set on WB’s largest — Stage 16 — where sets from “Camelot” to “Batman” once stood. Now, a “cryo” prison encircles an enormous hydraulic claw capable of lifting giant blocks of ice in which frozen human forms — Stallone’s and Snipes’ included — are lifted skyward into frozen prison blocks where they’re interred indefinitely. It saves a lot on upkeep of prisoners in a 21st century of crime-filled America! The defrosted Stallone and Snipes later fight in a grand finale in this setting, with Snipes battering a claw-confined Stallone into everything in sight in the below-zero prison setting. It’s something else — even for Silver, king of hardware pix … Despite the movie’s delays, Silver and director Marco Brambilla were unperturbed about meeting the Oct. 8 opening date … Silver showed me the trailer that hits the nation’s screens when “The Fugitive” opens. Audiences will see a yellow-haired, villainous Snipes. And a pumped-down (176 pounds) Stallone. “I won’t do that 18-inch neck stuff anymore,” he smiled, but admitted he still trains every day. (He was driving golf balls in a mini driving range set up in a corner of the stage.) You recall Stallone had arm surgery early during production and faces knee surgery in the future. He’s looking forward to his next, “Fair Game,” which he describes as “an erotic thriller. I like that idea. That’s something different for me. I want to keep doing different things.” He follows with “Judge Dredd” and would like to re-team with current director Brambilla … The latter, an alumnus of commercials, will do an ESPN blurb for network airing when he winds this first feature. He is using a lot of computer composition in “Demolition Man,” things that could not have been done a short while ago … As I drove away from this huge set, I noted a ship being built on the next WB stage. This piece of movie magic is being readied for Warren Beatty and Annette Bening in “An Affair to Remember” (which gets some powerful plugs in “Sleepless in Seattle!”).

“I CAME FROM FINLAND to make movies in Hollywood, I shot it in Italy and now I’m in Seoul,” director Renny Harlin hello’d me from a global tour for his “Cliffhanger.” The pic broke all records in Taiwan, he reported, with screenings extending to 4 ayem! “There were almost riots to get in,” Harlin reported. He’s now flown to Scandinavian sites … Harlin, who teamed with Joel Silver on “Die Hard 2” and “Ford Fairlane,” looks forward to resuming with him on “Sgt. Rock.””He (Silver) is a director’s dream producer,” Harlin complimented. As for a star for “Sgt.,” it now looks unlikely that Arnold Schwarzenegger will fit it into his sked in time. “There’s a number of leading men we could cast if Arnold is not available,” Harlin added, “John Milius wrote a great script.” Silver calls it a combination of “Guns of Navarone” and “Battleground.” Schwarzenegger’s tentative sked is: “True Lies” for director Jim Cameron; “Oh Baby” with Ivan Reitman; and “The Crusades” with Paul Verhoeven. Harlin has these in development: “Wild, Big Red,” and “Love and Honor,” an epic in Russia. Renny laughed, “My blessing and my curse is that I love doing big movies.” Stallone and Schwarzenegger could echo those sentiments.

ROGER CLINTON IS a “likable villain” in “National Lampoon’s Last Resort” for Trimark. At first Clinton was only going to do a song, but now he has an acting role, said Ashok Amritraj who produces. with Damian Lee. Yes, Clinton will also sing a tune. Music in the pic will include Dred Zeppelin. Also joining the cast are David Crosby and Jack Carter. Latter just wound “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” and continues his regular voiceover role in the animated “Ren and Stimpy”… The story of the new “Odd Couple” two-hour Sept. 19 CBS telepic, which starts filming in Vancouver July 4, is about Jack Klugman’s throat operation — and his recovery, co-star Tony Randall told me. “Jack sounds marvelous — and without any special miking.” Penny Marshall, Barbara Barrie and Abe Vigoda co-star with Bob Klane directing for producer Howard W. Koch. As with all his jobs, Randall puts this “Odd Couple” salary into his National Actors’ Theater in N.Y. “As long as the ‘Odd Couple’ series stays in reruns (I have a percentage), I have enough money. I live alone and I don’t need much to live on.” Randall’s theater’s new season bows with one of Shakespeare’s least-known plays, “Timon of Athens,” starring Brian Bedford, Michael Langham directing. Randall stars in the second offering, “The Inspector General”… Mitzi McCall and Charlie Brill, married 33 years, play husband and wife for the first time on USA Cable’s “Silk Stalkings.”