Sex, violence reign in latest Eszterhas pic

GOOD MORNING: “We’re not trying to compete with Sharon Stone’s leg-crossing sequence (in “Basic Instinct”), but Linda Fiorentino is in a very sexy videotape sequence. This movie (“Jade”) stands on its own in the sex and violence department.” So says Craig Baumgarten, who produces with Bob Evans and Gary Adelson. The movie’s the third in Joe Eszterhas’ trilogy in SanFran. The others: “Jagged Edge” and “Basic Instinct.” David Caruso and Chazz Palminteri co-star. Evans says Caruso “is the next Steve McQueen — and I should know,” he laughed. Both producers praise Billy Friedkin’s direction — which includes a chase through SanFran’s Chinatown during a New Year’s Day parade. How much did the sequence cost? “Millions,” said Baumgarten. It’s Friedkin’s third mammoth movie chase, the others are in “French Connection” and “To Live and Die in L.A”… Baumgarten’s next is TNT’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (to shoot in Prague) and then the long-delayed “Sacred Cows” at MGM. That’s the one in which the president is embarrassed by a tabloid pic of himself with a cow. But Baumgarten says it’s the tabloids that will be put on the spot by this movie … And talking of steamy sex scenes and nudity, Elisabeth Shue, who stars as a hooker in Lumiere’s “Leaving Las Vegas,” tells me there are a few graphic scenes –“and not just myself.” Why do actresses want to play hookers? Shue says, “Because the roles are usually more complex and their world is often very dark.” Nicolas Cage stars as an alcoholic writer — this role’s a far cry from his “Honeymoon in Vegas.” Shue tells me, “He is one of the most incredible actors I have ever worked with.” And, she says of the experience in the pic directed by Mike Figgis, “I was spoiled by this movie — it will be very difficult to find something to follow it!”

ALTHOUGH ISABELLA ROSSELLINI was not accompanied by Gary Oldman at Tuesday’s press confab at New York’s Four Seasons, where she announced her vice presidency at Lancaster cosmetics, they are still very much together. And will probably wed late this year. He is flu-felled and after doing three pix last year, “Murder in the First,””Immortal Beloved” and “The Scarlet Letter,” Oldman will probably limit himself to one pic a year. Although Isabella’s now an exec at Lancaster (and a departed Lancome model), she plans to continue her acting career as well. She says her new role as an executive is “similar to what’s called a development deal in Hollywood.” She says, “My contribution and what I will bring to Lancaster is a sense of playfulness, glamour and what I have learned about cosmetics.” Rossellini, 42, declines to say whether Lancome wanted to replace her because of her age. She started modeling at 28, acting at 31. “I am a late bloomer,” she admits … Memorial services for Helen (Mrs. Mace) Neufeld, Tuesday at Mt. Sinai cemetery at Forest Lawn, brought out an SRO crowd of friends, family, exex, thesps, directors, who were teary-eyed during the eulogies by the family and Mace. Helen was so well-liked by all … Services will be held today at 11:30 ayem for Doug McClure at St. Matthews Episcopal Church in Pacific Palisades with a gathering afterward at the Sportsmen’s Lodge, where clips of his work will be screened alongside his other loves — a surfboard and saddle …”Love Letters” goes on and on: Jayne Meadows and Steve Allen team again, this time at Maui’s Arts & Cultural Center Thursday through Feb. 19 … And first-time “Love Letters” “writers” are comedian Norm Crosby and Arlene Golonka, who co-star Feb. 14 at La Costa in a performance that benefits PATH (Performing Arts Theater for the Handicapped) … Sidney Sheldon’s toasted by the American Library Assn. on his 78th birthday Friday with the “Honorable Citizen” award for his work for public libraries. P.S.: He also helps fill ’em with his books.

PRESIDENT CLINTON TEES OFF with former Presidents Ford and Bush at Bob Hope’s Desert Classic, Feb. 15 … Mark Harris is in Desert Springs Hospital, Las Vegas , skedded for surgery today. It’s the same hospital where Martha Raye had been treated — and by the same doctor … Agent Meyer Mishkin “officially” retired this week — by shutting off his business phone. At one time he represented talent including Lee Marvin, Richard Dreyfuss, Charles Bronson, Jim Coburn, etc. Mishkin will be 83 on Sunday … Mark Wahlberg signed with CAA and is managed by Stephen Levinson of Dolores Robinson Entertainment … Nancy Reed (Mrs. Joe Kanter) sings with Skitch Henderson and the New York Pops at a sold-out Carnegie Hall on Friday. The program: “So in Love With Broadway — the Music of Cole Porter”… Johnny Rivers celebrates the 30th anni of his emergence on the Sunset Strip’s Whisky A Go-Go — by recording live Thursday down the street at the House of Blues.