‘Lies’ convinces H’w’d to invest

GOOD MORNING: Arnold Schwarzenegger made true believers with “True Lies’ ” boffo beginning, and once-iffy big-budgeters are now being rushed to the fore for perusal by Arnold’s army. Disney is among those girding up “Gulliver’s Travels” again for the big guy to show both his forte and fun with Lilliputians. We all know how well Disney does with little people — like Happy, Grumpy, Sneezy, Sleepy, Doc, Bashful. They’re not Dopey …”Tommy” and “Jimmy” are filling Des McAnuff’s days and nights. Having launched the legiter at the U-Amphi, McAnuff and producer Marvin Worth have again locked ’emselves into solitary, nights and days, Sundays too, working on the script of the James Dean biopic — since writer Israel Horovitz is away in Europe and WB wants a quick start. They’ve pared the shoot to a hoped-for $ 20 million budget. The lead is still undecided. No need to embarrass those who’ll lose out by listing the possibles here. While Paul Alexander’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams, The Life, Times and Legend of James Dean” (Viking) deals explicitly with Dean’s homosexuality, the movie script, says producer Worth, “infers” but doesn’t dwell on it. The film will depict Dean’s relationship with his parents and the love story with Pier Angeli, plus his growth as an actor. “We’ll try to make a good movie — not one of innuendo and rumor”… While outside a La Cienega eatery awaiting his guestint on KABC Radio Monday, the Amazing Kreskin says he was mugged by someone who came up from behind, grabbed him around the neck and removed his gold watch before a truck driver came to his rescue. Kreskin was here plugging his appearance at Debbie Reynolds’ Vegas hotel, where he attempts, today, to locate his (hidden) paycheck — forfeited if he fails. I asked mentalist Kreskin howcum he failed to realize he was about to be mugged? He laughed, “What do you think I am — a mind reader?”

“MURDER BY NEGLECT,” the Howard Hughes story (1972-76) by Terry Moore and Jerry Rivers, has been optioned by Lester Persky to be miniseries’d. The authors say their book goes up for auction Aug. 2. Moore claims she has tapes “in Hughes’ own words” plus info she obtained from others around him — and stories that came to her “in my dreams.” Moore adds the mini will combine her earlier book, “The Beauty and the Billionaire” (Pocket Books), which she says Persky also optioned. Meanwhile, the bigscreen Howard Hughes story remains one of Warren Beatty’s pet projects in development … John Landis, currently directing one of his “Dream On” TV segs, returns to the bigscreen to direct a “real, old-fashioned (small) comedy,””Call Me a Cop” for MGM … President Clinton has invited Apollo 11’s Mike Collins, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong to the Oval Office Wednesday ayem for the 25th-anni celebration, followed by an East Room toasting with many more Apollo astronauts. Vice President Al Gore was at last Saturday’s BevHilton Apollo 11 gala and NASA’s administrator David Goldin read JFK Jr.’s greeting, which included: “I know how proud my father would have been of the extraordinary record of excellence that our country has achieved in space during the past quarter-century. My hope in this impressive anniversary is that our success in space will inspire us to work harder together to meet and master the many challenges we face on earth”… Tatou’s Jason Kane suffered a heart attack, was rushed to Cedars-Sinai, where he underwent successful angioplasty Monday; he told me, a coupla hours after the procedure(!), he will be back at work in a week … Wally George celebrates the 12th anni of his “Hot Spot” radio show July 30, and Aug. 15, he enters Norris/USC Cancer Center for prostate cancer surgery.

CONGRATS TO PBS, AND ITT, for the terrif “Three Tenors” telecast Sunday on the heels of the live concert Saturday. And, hey, didn’t Frank Sinatra look great, enjoying the triple “My Way” play as did Gene Kelly to “Singin’ in the Rain”… Michael Jeter, who segued from “Evening Shade” to bigscreen “Drop Zone, ” next co-stars with Kevin Costner in U’s “Waterworld” as an eccentric inventor who teams with Costner and Jeanne Tripplehorn to defeat evil …”Don Juan DeMarco and the Centerfold,” starring Marlon Brando, Faye Dunaway and Johnny Depp, wound on sked in Hawaii Monday night … Anthony Hopkins, on completing 26 setups on his first day as a director on “August” shooting in northern Wales, laughed, “I’m going to give up acting.” Not so fast — he co-stars in the film and the legit version that follows, with him also directing … John Goodman winged to London for Prince Charles’ Royal preem of “The Flintstones”… And Jack Jones is in London to headline the command performance at the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards on Wednesday night … Denise Nicholas, who wrapped four two-hour “In the Heat of the Night” dramatic shows with Carroll O’Connor, has been talking with him about a new series — this time a comedy.