GOOD MORNING: Ellen DeGeneres has been asked by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer to co-star with Matthew McConaughey in “Ed TV.” The feature for Imagine at Universal (as first reported here June 11), would film when DeGeneres winds this season on “Ellen.” However, she told me she hasn’t yet had a chance to read the script by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, described to me by Ron Howard as “Capra-esque.” On hand at the taping of “Ellen” was Anne Heche, who was readying to leave for N.Y. locations of her next film, “Force Majeure” with Vince Vaughn and Joaquin Phoenix (having just wound “‘Six Days, Seven Nights” with Harrison Ford). DeGeneres said she plans to commute to N.Y. on weekends, and to wing to Hong Kong when Heche locations there. Emma Thompson, here to star “in a small movie,” “Judas Kiss,” guested on the “Emma” seg of “Ellen.” As reported here Oct. 31, Thompson in the episode will try to have us believe she is gay and that she was born in Dayton, Ohio (“I learned my English accent watching Julie Andrews movies!”) Thompson is doing double duty despite severe back pains. When she visited a doctor for treatment, she laughingly reported, he tried to pitch a script to her. With apologies to Jimmy Durante, “Everybody wants to get into the act!” … “Ellen” co-star Joely Fisher wound the above seg and winged to Puerto Rico for USA Net’s “Dark Waters,” an action-thriller. Noting that Jane Seymour had been stricken with high fevers while on her Puerto Rico location of “The Swiss Family Robinson,” Fisher had been given a hefty series of inoculations before departing. One of Joely’s lines in the “Ellen” seg: “Half of this town (L.A.) is gay, and the other half pretends it is gay to kiss up to David Geffen.” This is the seg in which Sean Penn unveils his comedic talents when he, too, “reveals” he is gay. Stay tuned Nov. 19.
A RETEAMING OF STEVE MARTIN, Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer is in the works. They worked together on the successful “Father of the Bride” I & II. Charles says of the as-yet-untitled pic, “It’s ‘Capra-esque.’ ” (Here, too?) The Shyers agree working with Martin is a most pleasurable experience. The Shyers are also readying the French costumer, “L’Affaire du Collier” and have delayed the long-planned “Love Crazy.” I caught up with Meyers and Shyer in Cartier, the location Monday of “The Parent Trap.” (This time she’s directing; both wrote and he produces). It was rare to see BevHills police stopping traffic on Rodeo Drive. But Dennis Quaid and Elaine Hendrix went through their lines with professional efficiency, causing no notable delays. Advice to other filmmakers: don’t try this location on Rodeo in a couple of weeks: Christmas is coming! “Parent Trap,” is family comedy (with an expected PG or mebbe G) and a tremendous change of pace for Quaid after his action-filled pix. He just wound directing and starring in a Western, “Everything That Rises.” And he unveils a terrif Cary Grant imitation in a “Trap” scene with Natasha Richardson. Hendrix, a startlingly beautiful blonde who bigscreen bowed in “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion,” is likened to a young Carole Lombard, with predictions of a terrif future by the Shyers … The BevHills Cartier scene is supposedly SanFran in this remake of the 1960 “Trap.” It also locationed in Napa, Arrowhead and London. The original was set in Boston and California. The twins — Hayley Mills dual roled in the original — are played by 11-year-old Lindsay Lohan, with the aid of more modern technology. Her role names are Hallie and Annie (the names of the Shyers’ daughters, 10 and 17, respectively). Hallie also plays a role in the pic. The Shyers’ youngsters loved the original, calling it to their parents’ (and Disney’s) attention. The new version, which started production July 15, is due to wind this week. David Swift, who wrote-directed the 1961 original for Walt Disney, said he shot his in 32 days. Swift and his wife are still regularly in touch with Mills and will be on hand when she bows here at the Pantages in “The King and I.” Swift, who started working for Disney in animation when he was 15, is now writing “The Deep Freeze Girls,” about a rich girls’ school in Switzerland for Columbia. He admits he was surprised he wasn’t called when the current Disney version went into production. After all, he reminds, “It was my original screenplay.” And he’s confident that WGA will in$ure it.
AT SPAGO — the original on Sunset, that is (still packed) — we ran into Peter O’Malley and his lovely daughter Katherine (Peter’s wife Annette was in Denmark visiting relatives). I told O’Malley how much we would miss him. “I’ll be there!” he smiled broadly. What about Vin Scully? “He’ll be there.” What about Tommy Lasorda? “He’ll be there, too” … Bernie Kopell (“The Love Boat”) and Catrina Honadle-Kopell welcomed son Adam Alexander K. on Halloween, Oct. 31 … Merrick Baker-Bates, CMG, outgoing British Consul-General of L.A., is toasted tonight with a farewell dinner in his honor by BAFTA at the home of Paul Steinke.