Archer becomes ‘deliciously amoral’

GOOD MORNING: Anne Archer, who bowed Tuesday in “The Vagina Monologues” at the Canon in Beverly Hills and was booked for three weeks, is departing Sunday. Ann Magnuson takes over. Archer heads to the Gielgud Theater in London to star in “The Graduate.” She takes over from Amanda Donohue. The role was originated by Kathleen Turner and when she bowed, Daily Variety reviewer Matt Wolf noted, “Kathleen Turner takes her kit off, as the British so charmingly put it, in writer-director Terry Johnson’s theater version of ‘The Graduate,’ and London hasn’t got itself into such a lather since Nicole Kidman left town.” You recall Kidman, too, bared it all onstage — her outing was in “The Blue Room,” in which she followed in dishabille in N.Y. … What about dis-playing the role, I asked Archer. “I’m an actor,” she quickly replied. “It’s a character — who is so deliciously amoral. And I’m old enough to play it.” Ann also noted she didn’t have to get in shape for it — “I’m very thin.” She viewed the show in London last week with her 24-year-old son, Tom … She added she’s played a lot of similar parts — like the feature “Innocence,” in which she’s a “trashy alcoholic in a trailer park.” She begins rehearsals for “The Graduate” May 21 and bows June 11. She says it’s more time than she had for the premiere of Robert Glaudini’s “The Poison Tree” at the Mark Taper Forum, in which changes were made regularly before its opening and in which she was onstage constantly with lengthy “monologues after monologues.” “I like the theater,” she said. “I wish there was more money in it. But you do it to improve your chops.”

IT’S CLIFFHANGER TIME FOR TV FAVORITES — and one is certainly David E. Kelley’s “The Practice.” The last seg wound taping this week. Last Sunday, Lara Flynn Boyle’s prosecuting district attorney partner, played by Jason Kravits, was mowed down in a hail of bullets in true gangster-like fashion after he’d courageously won a guilty verdict, defeating (the unbeatable) defense attorney played by Dylan McDermott. Would David E. Kelly also rub out Kravits (Richard Bay)? While he wouldn’t tip me off, I did at least learn that Kravits expects to complete his contract — which has two more years to run — and that he knew hiatus winds in July … I suggested it must have been shocking for Kravits to get the script and find himself a gun victim. Last year, they left him wondering whether his job was in jeopardy. “They were better with me this year,” he said, giving him an advance idea of his future. So he spends the summer returning to comedy — with partner Joel Jones, bowing Tuesday at the Actors Playhouse in N.Y. benefiting Broadway CARES. Response is so good they’ve had to add a second show. Their sketches won at the Aspen Comedy Fest last year. One of their numbers: “Saving Private Ryan — the musical — backers’ audition” … Bruce Davison who signed for three segs of “The Practice” and lingered for 11 — each one a cliffhanger — is now directing his first feature, “Off Season” for Showtime, in which he also co-stars. What’s the difference between acting and directing, I asked Davison. “An actor asks, ‘When’s lunch?’ and the director says, ‘We’re three shots behind!’ ” He’s lensing in Vancouver, doubling for Miami, and the cast includes Hume Cronyn, with whom Davison acted in “The Caine Mutiny” on stage with Henry Fonda directing. Also in the cast is Adam Arkin, who often directs, Sherilyn Fenn, Rory Culkin and Davison’s wife, Lisa Pelikan. “No one is who he really seems to be,” says Davison of Glenn Gers’ script. F’rinstance, Cronyn’s character, Sam Claus, is mistaken for Santa Claus. Davison, who has “The King Is Alive” plus “Summer Catch” and “Crazy/Beautiful” upcoming (as an actor), is next talking “Retreat,” for Craig Baumgarten.

WARREN BEATTY WILL PRESENT Revolution Studios’ Tom Sherak with the Champion for Children Award at the Fulfillment Fund’s 2001 Achievement Awards luncheon, June 16 at the BevHilton. Paul Rodriguez hosts … George Shapiro proposed to Diane Barnett in Lake Como and they’ll wed in the fall. But business before pleasure: George and Howard West set a deal with TV Land for “The Alan Brady Show,” with Carl Reiner doing the voice of Alan Brady, his character from “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” Reiner also exec produces, with West-Shapiro. Reiner writes the pilot with Sam Denoff and Sam Bobrick, who also serve as co-producers … The Carl Reiner-directed and Bob Klane-written feature “Where’s Poppa?” (1970) is now being readied by Bill Haber as a possible B’wayer. A reading’s upcoming. George Segal and Ruth Gordon starred in the pic. … Jane Fonda, honored Monday at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, has also agreed to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award Oct. 29 from the fourth annual Savannah Georgia Film & Video Festival. The fest runs Oct. 27-Nov. 3. The ceremony follows the screening of “Klute,” for which she won the first of her two Academy Awards; the second was for ‘Coming Home.” In addition, the Savannah fest concluded arrangements with the Cannes fest for the winners of the Cannes Critics’ Week to be shown, one a day, for the seven days of the Savannah Fest, sponsored by the Savannah College of Art & Design — which was just nominated for a National Trust award. … From Cannes, Kathrin and Felix Werner tell me they’ve acquired film rights to “Vienna Fare” by Pulitzer Prize winner (“Proof”) David Auburn, Duane Dell’Amico and Cameron Welles. Werner says Wega Films in Austria co-produces with them.