GOOD MORNING: Buenos Aires is buzzing with film companies. TNT’s “The Man Who Captured Eichmann,” starring Robert Duvall as Eichmann, is filming there, and the vidcompany’s staying in the same hotel as “Evita’s” troupe. There are no problems from anyone, reports “Eichmann” screenwriter Lionel Chetwynd, who tells me, “We are getting incredible cooperation.” Israeli commandos captured Eichmann in ’61 in Buenos Aires and sneaked him out of Argentina. Chetwynd’s credits range from “The Bible” to “Sadat” to “So Proudly We Hail,” “Kissinger and Nixon” and the upcoming “The Color of Justice” and “The Human Bomb,” both for Showtime; he admits, “I don’t usually go to every set that I’ve written, but I have a deeply emotional involvement in this one.” Eichmann’s captor is played by Arliss Howard and his mother is played by Israeli actress Riza Zohor, who was born in a Nazi concentration camp. Chetwynd tells me the Simon Wiesenthal Center was very supportive in this project directed by Billy Graham, produced by Stan Margulies … As for “Evita,” I get word from Budapest that, despite the hardest winter hitting the city, Budapest is readying itself to make a warm welcome to Madonna and the company whether they arrive early or as skedded. Meanwhile, locals are kept abreast of news about Madonna in Buenos Aires. Sites to be used in Budapest are central squares, streets including landmark buildings such as the Opera House and the Museum of Applied Arts. The “Evita” troupe may stay as long as two months. And — thanks to a few high ranking people close to the two-party government who understand the strength of publicity — the country may generate a dinner party for city officials and building managers involved with the shooting. “They will be asked to lend VIP care and treatment to ‘Evita,’ which apparently enjoys the support of the Hungarian government.” Word from Budapest also notes that the shooting of “Evita” comes at a time when Hungarian production companies face tough competition from Czech counterparts trying to bring American films to their country. Thus, Hungarian officials are confident that “a production such as ‘Evita’ can yield more business and publicity for Hungary if rental fees and production costs are right and the circumstances are fair and professional.”
AMONG THE HOLLYWOOD CONTINGENT at Thursday night’s White House State Dinner for France’s President Jacques Chirac: Candice Bergen, escorted by playwright John Guare, a close friend of her late husband Louis Malle, for whom he wrote several scripts. Also there, Veronique and Gregory Peck, longtime friends of Chirac; CBS’ Les Moonves and, as already noted here, “The American President” himself, Michael Douglas. Douglas just returned from Africa where he and Val Kilmer completed “The Ghost and the Darkness,” an 1890s-set thriller about lions and bridge builders. Record rains destroyed the bridge built for the movie! Douglas was so impressed seeing the wildlife in its natural — and protected — habitat, he told me,”I can never go to a zoo again”… Magic Johnson celebrated his comeback Tuesday night with a late dinner with wife Cookie at Dan Tana’s, where he’s a regular. Johnson told Dan, “This is the best day of my life”… Congrats to Virginie and Gerard Ferry and chef Giles Epie, whose L’Orangerie restaurant on La Cienega has been awarded Five Stars from the Mobil Travel Guide — jumping from the three stars it received in 1992 … Barbara (Mrs. Joe) Saltzman is departing as editor of the L.A. Times’ Sunday TV Times after 22 years at the paper; she’ll devote full time to the Jester Co., which publishes (third edition) “The Jester Has Lost His Jingle,” the book written by their son David, who died six years ago. He had undergone chemotherapy, having completed writing and illustrating “Jester” while at Yale. The inspirational book is now getting pitches from feature and TV producers for both animation and live-action films … Bryan Cranston, who bowed this week as Louie Anderson’s co-star in CBS’ “The Louie Show,” was signed for “That Thing You Do,” in which Tom Hanks stars and directs.
LEW WASSERMAN IS THE FIRST recipient of the Arthur Krim Medal, presented at the home of Dr. Mathilde Krim in N.Y. Wednesday. Among those on hand were Francis Ford Coppola, Sharon Stone, Woody Allen and Soon-Yi, Edgar Bronfman Jr. and Sr., Sidney Poitier, Norman Lear and Ron Meyer … Sad to report Vincent Cadiente, gold card member of SAG and past president of the Screen Extras Guild and “The Riders,” is battling lung cancer … People in Vegas have been mistaking the death of Jody Donovan (Jimirro) with singer Lisa Donovan — who is alive and well, thank you. Lisa D. just opened for Don Rickles at Caesars Atlantic City …”People’s Court” Judge Joseph W. Wapner makes his theatrical bow in the Lloyd J. Schwartz-Ben Lanzarone musical “You and Me” opening Feb. 4 at the Ventura Court Theater in Studio City — Wapner’s on videotape conducting a marriage ceremony.