GOOD MORNING: Kevin Spacey once admitted to me, “If I waited any more I might be too old” to play Bobby Darin. Well, the wait’s now ending. He’s in London on pre-production for the biopic “Beyond the Sea,” which rolls in September in England and at the Babelsberg Studios in Germany. Mark Damon says 80% of the film will be shot on studio sound stages. The Babelsberg stages were used by Roman Polanski for “The Pianist.” U.K. exteriors will double for the U.S. — Dover for Big Sur, etc. Now in London, Spacey’s also performing duties as new artistic director of the Old Vic … Casting has started for the Darin pic. In addition to director-star Spacey, Kate Bosworth (“Blue Crush”) will play Sandra Dee and John Goodman’s set to portray Darin’s longtime manager Steve Blauner, who continues to represent the Darin estate. Blauner tells me “My whole purpose is to keep (Bobby’s) name alive.” He’s met with Spacey several times — and candidly admits he’s told Kevin not to play the role and direct simultaneously. However, he did help by retrieving nine original Darin song arrangements long-buried in storage and gave ’em to Spacey, who’ll sing ’em a la Darin.
THE ANDREW LUSTER date-rape story, “A Date With Darkness,” will not be Lifetime’s sole plunge into timely true crime stories. The cabler’s Trevor Walton, senior VP of original movies, says they’re readying the story of the Jan. 6, 2002 murder of writer Christa Worthington in her Cape Cod home and have signed Jan Worthington, Christa’s cousin, to write the screenplay. Walton says their film will not be based on nor include the just-published book by Maria Flook, “Invisible Eden: A Story of Love and Murder on Cape Cod,” which is described as a “literary nonfiction.” The story and investigation is ongoing with many ramifications — like the custody battle for the 2½-year-old daughter of the murdered (unmarried) Worthington. Walton says Lifetime is working with the Worthington family. Meanwhile, the Luster story, “A Date With Darkness” wound filming its newly added finale with his capture and return to face 124 years in prison if convicted. The newly built Puerto Vallarta taco stand and prison sets were not expensive, Walton says. “Luckily, he wasn’t captured at Versailles!” The movie airs Aug. 11 and producer Larry Thompson says he’s not concerned the story will have been played out by the TV news coverage of the arrest. “This is a story of the three women,” he insists … Colin Callender hosts the July 16 screening of HBO’s Student Award winners from the Savannah Film Festival. Paula Wallace, president of Savannah College of Art and Design who sponsors the festival will be on hand at the screenings for the industry at the Clarity Theater on Crescent Drive.
FROM “MAJOR BOWE’S Amateur Hour” to headlining at the Paramount, Loews State and Capitol theaters, B’way shows, network TV series, countless movies, thousands of charity appearances — Jack Carter starred Tuesday night in the garden of his BevHills home, celebrated his 80th birthday. It was a night — given “with love” by wife Roxanne — to remember. The guests were all headliners and were all probably prepared to go on and say a few choice words about Jack. But it was only he, himself on the mike, in his inimitable, off-the-cuff (?) introduction to the night with comments about everyone there — plus the (uninvited) neighbors in the spiffy neighborhood. His children, Michael, Wendy and Vicki, and grandson Chase did get a chance to offer some touching remarks. And Jack’s duet with Roxanne revealed a “Jack Carter” unknown to most — he’s a gentle, kind, giving, soft-spoken soul. No kidding! A few of those on hand: Monty and Marilyn Hall, Freddie and Corinna Fields, Phyllis Diller, Norm and Joan Crosby, Warren and Barbara Cowan, Sid and Florence Caesar, Red Buttons, Carrie and Bernie Brillstein, Mitzi and Jack Bean, Ruta Lee and Webb Lowe, Peter and Lori Marshall, Norby and Irene Walters, Danny Welkes, Michelle and Dick Van Dyke, Connie Stevens, Ruth and Joe Sinay, Barbara and Don Rickles, Mace Newfeld, Toni and Jan Murray. Of course, privately, everyone had something to say about Jack … For a serious closer to the evening, Jack brought on tenor Valentino De Lorenzo … Carter is readying for an Off B’way stand in Jay Kholos’ “A Stoop on Orchard Street,” which he describes as “‘Our Town’ — Jewish style.”
THE L.A. EATERY SCENE: Osteria Orsini, a fixture on Pico Boulevard near 20th since 1976, is closing by summer’s end, announces Igor Nicolas. It’s to reopen as Sparks in the fall … Meanwhile, Le Dome’s Eddie Kerkhofs is busy overseeing the massive redo at Le Dome on the Sunset Strip for a mid-September reopening … And among those helping to welcome back Jimmy Murphy (and family) to the restaurant scene at his Jimmy’s Tavern the other night was Michael Feinstein — who used to play piano in the bar at Jimmy’s former site in BevHills. Michael’s new DVD “The Great American Songbook,” produced by Dirk Meenen and Michael J. Shapiro, is one every movie-musical lover will love …Doug Davidson and Don Diamont of “The Young & the Restless” and John McCook and Jennifer Finnigan of “The Bold and the Beautiful” head for Monaco Monday to visit with Prince Albert at the Monte Carlo Film Festival. The prince is, we’re told, a soap opera fan. Both shows are big in Europe … “The Honeymooners” return to the tube on the Goodlife net Saturday with 42 hued segs.