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Callner goes from TV specs to film

GOOD MORNING: He’s directed specials for Jerry Seinfeld and Garth Brooks, small screen performances by Bette Midler, Steve Martin, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Alan King and George Carlin, and on B’way he directed Sandra Bernhard. Now Marty Callner’s going to debut on the bigscreen — with a comedy, natch — “Will Power.” Will it star Seinfeld, whom he directed in Jerry’s Aug. 9, 1998, HBO special “I’m Telling You For The Last Time”? “If Jerry wants, to, I’d be the happiest guy in the world,” admits Callner who will, of course, show the script to him. He lunches next week with Seinfeld’s producers-managers-pals, George Shapiro and Howard West. Jerry, as you might imagine, has countless pic offers, even though he has no bigscreen track record. He returns to work, live, next month, breaking in the standup material based on what he’s been doing on his year vacation — like driving across country, taking up life again in the Big City and, of course, supplying material for photogs and columns with his lady friend Jessica Sklar. Jerry is not the only comic Callner’s been involved with: he directed David Brenner in three HBO specials and the helmer has now bought Brenner’s “Will Power” to feature film under Callner’s banner, Funny Business Inc. … Also going the feature route for the first time is director Paul Hunter, who has a record of over 100 musicvideos, including those with Sean “Puffy” Combs, Janet Jackson, Busta Rhymes, Lauryn Hill, Marilyn Manson, Everclear, Matchbox 20, and the current Will Smith outing, the seven-minute “Wild Wild West” video. Now, Hunter’s in the rewrite stage with Lauren Shuler-Donner and WB to direct “Constantine,” an action-adventure thriller. He says the studio is giving him “wonderful support.” He is also prepping to direct “Comic Dog” with Roger Birnbaum. This one’s an action-adventure in space. As a result of his “WWWest” video, Hunter’s talking with Jon Peters to direct “Vertical Run.”

ALTHOUGH THE FIGHTING’S STOPPED in Kosovo, the plight of the widows, and fatherless and homeless children is no less an issue — nor are the issues lessened in Rwanda, Afghanistan and other problem sites around the world. This was part of the U.N. discussion this week between U.N. officials and Net Aid representatives for the Oct. 9 spectacular marriage of the Internet and TV. Among those at this week’s meet: producers Don Mischer, Jeff Pollack and Harvey Goldsmith plus Cisco Systems’ chairman John Chambers (they underwrite the costs). The show, emanating from Geneva, London and N.Y., will include superstar talent, and will offer the public “pillars’ from which to get specific info on which problem to take action — among them hunger, human rights and the gender gap. How does Net Aid work? If you log on, you can get opportunities to help the group of your choice. U.S. TV networks want to be involved, as does the BBC. But, Net Aid is first an Internet event, where everyone will be able to participate; the TV show is in second place … At age 99, Frederica Sager Maas speaks lucidly, amazingly informatively and humorously about the movie business in which she started 75 years ago. Now living in La Jolla, she will be back in L.A. July 7 (the day after her 99th birthday), appearing with a screening of Clara Bow’s “It” (1927) at the Orpheum, after which she’ll do a Q&A with Leonard Maltin. Talking with me, she told how she had bought “The Plastic Age” ($20,000) for Bow, pre-“It.” But Universal thought the book too “dirty. It had a few ‘hells’ in it. I had to get rid of it. So, B.P. Schulberg bought it for his Preferred Pictures.” She says she has “powerful recall” and thus has finally written her first (and last) memoir, “The Shocking Miss Pilgrim: A Writer in Early Hollywood” (U. of Kentucky Press) which she says “is a chronicle of frustration. My husband and I were stupid idealists in thinking we could make better pictures instead of the crap they were making.” So, at age 50, she went into the insurance biz — where she became successful!

THERE’LL BE NO SERVICES for Allan Carr, but friends are preparing an evening of remembrances. His ashes will go out to sea near the Oahu home he loved. Contributions in his name can be sent to the National Kidney Foundation of Southern Calif. … Asa Maynor, former actress now an investment and estate planner at Merrill Lynch, has been managing Carr’s investments for four years. She says, “The market was good to him. He has set up life trusts for people who worked for him. He is taking very good care of the people who took care of him. He had no family” … Among the many calling to express their sadness over Carr’s death was Steve Guttenberg, who says “Allan discovered me in 1979.” Guttenberg starred for him in “Can’t Stop the Music” and they were talking a teaming on a romantic comedy feature, “Two in a Bind.” Guttenberg’s own banner is readying “Dream Date”; one of the producers is Pierce O’Donnell … Siegfried & Roy get a hefty spread in the August Vanity Fair. Anthony Hopkins did the narration for their 3-D Imax feature, “Siegfried & Roy: The Magic Box,” saying, “It’s a great movie, It’s about people living their dreams and fulfilling their destiny.” It preems Sept. 22 at Lincoln Center.

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