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Eastwood has ‘Power’ to finish early

GOOD MORNING: Clint has done it again. Eastwood, the producer, director and star of Castle Rock’s “Absolute Power,” is bringing in the picture 15 days ahead of sked. “It’s pretty amazing,” co-star Ed Harris told me. “I’ve never been on a production like this. I’m used to working on a set with a little more ‘edge’ to it. Here, there’s a great atmosphere, very relaxed, Clint is so focused. You come to work, do your job and go home to your family! What a pleasure.” Eastwood so impressed Harris, the latter’s thinking about directing as well. “It’s something I want to do, so I asked him a few questions; he’s such an on-the-ball guy.” The fast-ending sked gives Harris plenty of time to move (with his family) back to N.Y., where he starts rehearsals Sept. 9 for the Oct. 17 Brooks Atkinson opening of Ronald Harwood’s drama “Taking Sides.” Producer Alexander Cohen was so anxious to get Harris back on B’way, he allowed him a short three-month pact — Harris explained he could not commit personally or professionally to a longer stay on stage. David Jones directs “Sides,” the 1946-set story of conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler’s trial as a Nazi sympathizer. Daniel Massey co-stars as Furtwangler (re-creating his West End perf), with Harris as the investigating army officer … Jay Leno and Dennis Rodman, on their respective Harleys, met at the intersection of Mulholland and Runyon Canyons Wednesday p.m. and taped a seg for the new MTV series, “Rodman ’96 World D-Tour.” The duo continued on to the Caioti eatery in Laurel Canyon to resume the taping, to the delight of everyone there. A delighted passerby was Angelyne, who was shopping next door at the Country Store. Rodman is a pal of Leno’s — and a frequent guest on “The Tonight Show,” making an appearance when they needed someone (special!).

JACK LEMMON UNDERWENT arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder last week, but it didn’t stop him from wielding a large pair of shears with Billy Wilder: the two cut a ribbon Thursday ayem, opening the new Carroll & Co. men’s store on Canon Drive. Dick Carroll reminded that Wilder brought Lemmon to the original Carroll store on Rodeo Drive to suit him for “The Apartment.” And they’ve remained loyal customers through the decades. Lemmon said his shoulder will be properly healed in time for “Out to Sea,” in which he has to do some fancy ballroom dancing. Co-star Walter Matthau isn’t required to take any terpsichorean turns, Lemmon said. A large drawing of the proposed new look for Canon Drive — to (hopefully) equal Rodeo — was unveiled by BevHills Mayor Tom Levyn. On hand to well-wish Dick, John Carroll and their staff was another of Rodeo’s longtime fashion leaders, Fred Hayman. Also there for the early ayem festivities: longtime Carroll customer, agent Phil Gersh, and Irving Fein and Frank Liberman, who were members of the WB press agent corps along with Dick C. in the ’40s. Also there, Stanley Donen, here for meetings on “Vita and Virginia, ” to star Vanessa Redgrave and Eileen Atkins to film in London. Also there, Mr. Blackwell … Lemmon recently completed his Presidential role in “My Fellow Americans,” with Lauren Bacall playing his First Lady. Bacall admitted to me, “It’s not a great (big) part, but I wanted to work with Jack — we’d never worked together. And I was treated so well,” she added. The pic’s skedded for Nov. release, when she’s also due to be screened as Barbra Streisand’s mom in “The Mirror Has Two Faces.” Bacall also just completed the French-speaking “Le Jour et la Nuit” with Alain Delon, filmed in Mexico. She plays an American, but speaks only French in the Bernard Henri-Levy directed movie. “It was quite an experience,” she laughs. “But you know how I love to live dangerously. I can speak (French) fairly well conversationally, but — ! Alain Delon was wonderful to me.” It’s a relationship pic. Bacall, who started her career in 1944, said, “I don’t believe in retiring!”… Shelley Winters, celebrating her 74th birthday Aug. 18, says she’s readying to make her movie directing bow (she’s done legits) with one of these three: “Cages,”‘Epiphany” and “Thunder LaBoom” for her Prestigious Films banner. Winters serenaded me with “It’s great to be alive at 75.” But you’re only 74, Shelley. “What’s a year between friends?” she laughed.

COMING TO YOU ON A BIGSCREEN SOON: the feature version of the 1957-63 CBSeries “Have Gun, Will Travel,” which starred Richard Boone as Paladin. WB is talking to saddle it up … Hugh Hefner, who suffered a stroke in ’85 and gave up his pipe-smoking and cleaned up his way of life, will launch his line of cigars, Playboy by Don Diego, Saturday at the Mansion. Celebs invited include Cigar himself — however he’ll be busy at Del Mar. But showbiz thoroughbreds will be on hand to cloud the air at Hef’s …”The Young & Restless’ ” Lauralee Bell was thrown by a horse while taping the soaper in the Caribbean. She’ll have to camouflage bruises as she tapes her MTV “Beach House” today … Producer Ken McEldowney is celebrating his 90th birthday today.

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