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Zaentz thankful Weinstein stayed ‘Patient’

GOOD MORNING: Miramax’s Harvey Weinstein has offered Saul Zaentz and his “English Patient” director Anthony Minghella a two picture pact. Zaentz is, of course, grateful to Weinstein for coming up with the $27.5 million to Zaentz’s banner’s $5.5 to get the “Patient” completed after 4 years. Zaentz says he and Minghella are indeed looking for more projects to do together and, if and when they find ’em and, “If he (Harvey) treats us as fairly as he did this time, we’ll have no complaints about signing up with him again. He (Harvey) understands.” Zaentz makes the comparison of working with the Weinsteins to working at UA with Arthur Krim and Eric Pleskow “with whom we never had a contract. They too were honorable — while being tough.” Meanwhile, Zaentz admits, “We’re out there killing ourselves for this picture.” He’s here today, having flown in from London for Saturday’s DGA awards. He’s then off to Paris, and previously was in Taiwan, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Australia with Juliette Binoche, also Germany and England. While he and Minghella are looking for films to do together — Zaentz and Milos Forman (“Cuckoos’ Nest” and “Amadeus”) are also again seeking to reteam — although opposed to each other in the Oscar race this year. They saw each other at the Berlin fest where Forman’s “Larry Flynt” beat out “Patient.” When Zaentz and Forman had a dinner together there Forman forewarned him, “If I see you running down the aisle (at the Oscars), I’ll trip you.” Zaentz will of course be going down the aisle — anyhow — to accept his Thalberg award. Seven producers previously have won the Thalberg and won Best Picture in the same year. The last was Cecil B. DeMille for “The Greatest Show On Earth” in 1952. The other Thalberg-Best Picture winners were: Arthur Freed in 1951 with “An American in Paris”; Darryl F. Zanuck, 1950, “All About Eve”; Samuel Goldwyn, 1948, “The Best Years of Our Lives”; Hal Wallis, 1943, “Casablanca”; Sydney Franklin, 1942, “Mrs. Miniver”; and David O. Selznick, 1939, “Gone With the Wind.” Zaentz who celebrated his 76th birthday Feb. 28, says the previous winners of the Thalberg “Were my heroes. Many were making pictures and some were also building theaters. They were smart — they had balls. They made movies like ‘Gentleman’s Agreement,’ ‘Pinky,’ pictures more shocking then than pictures being made now.” He believes his “Patient” is relevant internationally today — and that it will double its domestic profit internationally. He’s thinking ahead to the future video and disc versions which will contain 15-25 more minutes of “really good” scenes.

MICHAEL OVITZ AND BRANDON TARTIKOFF lunched together at Brentwood’s Da Vino Thursday. Ovitz had been an advisor to Tartikoff in strategic points of his career — having known each other since 1976. But now the topic of conversation was UCLA — where Ovitz is spending a great deal of time at the Medical Center where he is donating to the building fund and where Tartikoff is undergoing his treatment and also where wife Lily is heavily involved in Revlon-UCLA Women’s Cancer Research. … And at Granita it looked like a scene out of a Fellini movie when Michaelangelo Antonioni, wife Enrica, and their entourage were dining with the Joe Sargent (born Giuseppe Danielle Sorgente) to discuss renting the Sargents’ beach house when Antonioni films his story about the rich and poor in L.A. — for which he’d like Jeff Bridges to star. Coincidentally, Sargent is paged to direct a Federico Fellini biopic for producer Lorenzo Minoli for whom Sargent directed the “Abraham” MOW.

ROSIE O’DONNELL RELIVES HER GLORY DAYS on B’way (“Grease”) — when she hosts the Tonys, June 1, from Radio City Music Hall. The two-hour CBS airing will be limited to major categories with other nominee presentations to precede the TV show. There’ll be a lot heard about this, you can bet. The vidshow will be exec produced by Gary Smith and directed by Walter C. Miller. Smith and Andrew Solt are exec producing “The TV Academy’s 50th Anni” April 6 at the Pantages, to air on HBO April 23. In two hours this show can only be “a table of contents” for a 10 hour series to follow. The all-star anni will be a benefit for the archives foundation of the Acad, headed by Tom Sarnoff, Grant Tinker and David Wolper As the days dwindle down to a precious few, Bruce Willis’ “Broadway Brawler” remained on the canvas Thursday, looking more and more like it was down for the count. Willis’ costar Maura Tierney, among those disappointed, had received rave reviews from all those who’d worked with her. And she told me, “I had a rewarding experience working with (fired director) Lee Grant. You don’t get a lot of directors who so thoroughly understand an actress.” Tierney’s skedded to start “Primary Colors” with John Travolta, Mike Nichols directing, in May. … At Saturday’s Santa Barbara Film Fest Tribute to Oscar nominee (“Ghosts of Miss.”) James Woods, John Badham moderates the Q&A with Woods — who demonstrated a terrif sense of comedy with remarks at the Feb. 20 AFI tribute to Martin Scorsese. … Carnegie Mellon alumni Holly Hunter, John Wells, Bud Yorkin and Dr. Robert Mehrabian were entertained by Tom Dreesen, Tony Danza, Jean Stapleton and Rosemary Clooney at the BevHilton raising close to a million-$ for the school’s Purnell Center for the Arts.

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