‘Magoo’ goes stunt-crazy

GOOD MORNING: Joan Crawford’s real name was Lucille Le Sueur, and Kelly Lynch’s character in Disney’s “Mr. Magoo” feature is — “Luanne Le Seur.” But I doubt Crawford would have agreed to do anything Lynch has been called on to perform by director Stanley Tong, who previously put Jackie Chan through fearless filmic feats. On Tuesday, Tong convinced Lynch to rappel down six stories in a museum-heist sequence. “In a latex cat suit,” the gorgeous Lynch added, “and landing on my six-inch spike heels.” Lynch, whose versatile career has ranged from Gus Van Sant’s “Drugstore Cowboy” to playing John Travolta’s wife in “White Man’s Burden,” recently added black comedy in “Homegrown,” a marijuana murder mystery co-starring Hank Azaria and Billy Bob Thornton. In “Magoo,” Lynch says she also did a scene hanging five stories over the ocean and had to achieve black-belt status in record time under Tong’s tutelage — or rather, requirement! “He has me doing everything Jackie (Chan) did — but I’m in drag and in high heels. I didn’t know I had it in me!” “Magoo” star Leslie Nielsen was also convinced by director Tong to do the unusual — like snowboarding upside down on an ironing board, etc. Nielsen doesn’t imitate “Magoo” character (voice) originator Jim Backus, but has a unique accent of his own for the role and had his head shaved a la the cartoon “Magoo.” Disney, which wanted Tong to create an international franchise with his direction of the “live” “Magoo,” is also in the process of acquiring rights to the Japanese cartoon “Sailor Moon,” also for Tong to direct. The cartoon (English-dubbed) is a favorite of Lynch’s 11-year-old daughter, Shane. Mebbe Tong will have Kelly also bringing this character to feature life? Lynch admitted to me she was sorry not to have (also) gotten the role opposite Harrison Ford in “Six Days, Seven Nights” — won by Anne Heche, but Lynch noted, “She is a wonderful actress.”

WHILE BRUCE WILLIS’ BROTHER David is vice president of Bruce’s movie banner, brother Robert W., who once handled Bruce’s publicity, has teamed with Skyline Entertainment as a producer along with Elan Sassoon (27) and Jason Goldberg (26), who have produced six indie pix and now have two to begin production later this year. Willis says they have private equity investors for select projects ($5 million-$7 million) Tom Werner (Carsey-Werner), who has a minority stake in the San Diego Padres baseball team (John Moore is the majority owner), sez, “It’s unlikely an individual can own a sports franchise anymore — too much tough competition. It makes sense that News Corp., like the Chicago Tribune (which has the Cubs), should be an owner. It’s a natural for a communications company.” As for the Dodgers, he says, “It’s a jewel of a franchise. I’m sure he (Murdoch) will run it in a first-class way. It’s better for the Dodgers to be owned by a corporation, rather than by an individual”. … While Chelsea Clinton readies for Stanford, her grandmom Dorothy Rodham winged here to participate in the 65th class reunion of Alhambra High. … The music of Burt Bacharach and Hal David will be the basis for a B’way musical, “Anyone Who Had a Heart” (one of their hitunes), to be workshopped under Roundabout Theater sponsorship. Gilliam Lynne will direct. The book’s by Kenny Solms. And of course they’re hoping for success a la Mike Stoller and Jerry Lieber’s “Smokey Joe’s Cafe”. … Col TriStar’s pilot from Billy Riback and Jonathan Prince of “Ask Harriet” (the advice column written by a man, played by Anthony Tyler Quinn) tested so well it’s expected to make the newcomer list on the Fox net sked next week.

BRUCE VILANCH, who wrote for Billy Crystal on the Oscars, will ditto for Rosie O’Donnell on the Tonys. Meanwhile, Vilanch will be taped for a docu, “Get Bruce,” during his stand at the Gardenia May 22-24. … The DeCastro Sisters, who perform at the Cinegrill Friday-Saturday, appeared on the first KTLA telecast 50 years ago — intro’d by Cecil B. DeMille and Bob Hope! Meredith MacRae speaks this weekend as president of the So. Cal. Women’s Forum in Nassau at the Intl. Forum. … And June 12, Dina Merrill co-hosts the GOP Pro-Choice Alliance in N.Y. On June 20, the Eugene O’Neill theater in Waterford, Conn., will be renamed in honor of Merrill, a longtime chief supporte. … With some obvious ties to President Clinton’s call for volunteerism, a program of “Every Comic Tells a Story” will be held each Tuesday in June and July at Every Picture Tells a Story bookstore. F’rinstance, comic Kevin Rooney will read “Winnie the Pooh,” June 3. Over 25 other comics are skedded to read children’s books. They include Laraine Newman, Rita Rudner, Larry Miller, Kim Wayans, Charles Fleischer, Jeff Foxworthy, etc. And it’s free.