Forman tells how film fest changed his life

GOOD MORNING: Milos Forman, in an emotional speech before the N.Y. Film Fest audience at his “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” thanked the fest for helping get him out of then Communist-controlled Czechoslovakia when it played two of his early films. Now a two-time Oscar winner (“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Amadeus”), director Forman said he would not have been standing there Sunday night as a proud U.S. citizen had it not been for the fest. After the screening, Forman, cast members Woody Harrelson, Courtney Love, Edward Norton and Larry Flynt — who in the film plays Judge Morrisey, who sentenced Flynt to five years in prison – boarded Flynt’s private jet and winged to the Czech Republic to screen the movie for President Vaclav Havel, a boyhood friend of Forman. Among those also on hand at the N.Y. preem: Gotham Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s wife Donna Hanover (who plays Ruth Carter Stapleton), Brett Harrelson (Woody’s brother, who plays Larry Flynt’s brother), D’Army Bailey, Memphis Circuit Court Judge (who plays Judge Thomas Mantke) and James Cromwell, “Babe’s” Oscar-nominated farmer. The emotional Forman also intro’d Oliver Stone, Mike Medavoy and Fred Bernstein, Lucy Fisher, Barry Josephson and Bob Levin the pic is a Columbia-Phoenix-Ixtlan production, in case you wondered. Also there: screenwriters Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski, Janet Yang, Michael Hausman and Lisa Henson. And talking Phoenix, its next openings are Oliver Stone’s “Stray Dogs,” Barbra Streisand’s “The Mirror Has Two Faces” and “Amy Foster” now in production, with six pics to go next year including “The Thin Red Line” part of the $ 500 million financing set by Canadian and U.S. investors.

HOW DID BARRY LEVINSON GET his star-studded cast together at one time to work in “Sleepers”? “It was easy,” he said. “They all agreed they were supporting actors working ensemble and willing to work that way, fully cooperating. And with no ego!” They didn’t all work for favored-nations salaries, he agreed, but the time commitments were influential on their payment. Although the logistics were immense, a cool Levinson said he was “not rushed” in the production by the stars’ other, varied commitments. The pic received a terrif Venice Film Fest reaction and he laughingly admitted it also received “the best review I’ve ever gotten from Daily Variety!” At the preem at the Bruin in Westwood were cast members Jason Patric, Billy Crudup, Minnie Driver, Ron Eldard, Bruno Kirby, Frank Medrano, Joe Perrino, Jonathan Tucker, Lennie Loftin and Geoffrey Wigdor, plus producer Steve Golin and author Lorenzo Carcaterra. All headed to Maple Drive, where Along Came Mary buffeted them all along with WB’s Bob Daly, Terry Semel, Barry Reardon, Bill Gerber and Rob Guralnick. Levinson is readying Michael Crichton’s “Sphere,” starring Dustin Hoffman, as his next. They’ll shoot 1,000 feet under water (theoretically) at the (closed) Mare Island Naval base, where a drydock will be flooded. Enormous sets will be built to avoid going to sea we all know what problems that can cause! The underwater spaceship-habitat is “logistically complex,” admits Levinson, “but we’re doing a lot of planning so we don’t get in a real jam. Five-six years ago, we could not have made this movie,” he said, referring to today’s computerized film sciences. “But first of all, this is a great story; it’s smart.” When I asked him how much it will cost, he exclaimed, “Oh God! These movies aren’t cheap. But this is a blending of character and adventure sometimes frightening but there are no creatures, no monsters. I always wanted to do a sci-fi movie,” he admitted. “And without monsters. This requires a real piece of acting.”

IS HE WELCOME AT THE WORLD SERIES? “Arliss” star-creator Robert Wuhl, who plays HBO’s far-out sports stars’ rep, says the Yankees’ George Steinbrenner has personally invited Wuhl to sit in his box at the Saturday Series opener in the Stadium. Meanwhile, the series’ season-closer Wednesday has Arliss tracking down his boyhood baseball idol, “Rocky Fromagio” (once a big cheese, no doubt, on the diamond). Rocky is played by Ken Howard, himself an ex-baseballer. Fromagio’s now broke and alcoholic; Arliss tries to get him back on his feet and they end up selling his sperm on a home shopping network! The show then goes into reruns before starting a new season of 13. When asked if one of ’em will take off on Baltimore’s Roberto Alomar’s unsportsmanlike spitting incident, Wuhl spat on the idea, saying his segs are based on off the sports turf stories like one upcoming episode in which two of his baseball-playing clients are playing ball with each other’s wives! How does a manager handle this situation? Stay tuned, natch. … Politix and showbiz make great bedfellows: Barry Bostwick, who plays Mayor Randall Winston of ABC’s hit “Spin City,” his wife Sherri Ellen and their 16-month-old son Brian moved from L.A. to N.Y. for the series, and Monday Barry and Sherri welcomed daughter Chelsea Evelyn at N.Y.’s Lenox Hospital. The Bostwicks also bought the Maxwell Anderson house in New City, N.Y. … Wolf-Kasteler’s Gayle Khait and husband Igor welcomed Isabelle Burley K., Friday at Cedars-Sinai. And Madonna welcomed her daughter at Good Sam Monday. … Monica Mancini and Digger Phelps were married Saturday at David Wolper’s Napa Valley estate. … Congrats to Berry Gordy, who gets his star on the Boulevard, Oct. 24.