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After election, Canton returns to ‘Land’

GOOD MORNING: Basing emotions on early voting “exit polls” can be as dangerous as basing box office returns via “research” polls. It was producer — and longtime Kerry supporter — Mark Canton at the Boston airport Tuesday morning. He was heading back to the “Land of the Dead” (!) location in Toronto after spending the long night with the Demos at the Westin Copley Plaza. Canton has known Kerry since 1984 when introduced to him by Bob Daly and Jack Valenti. He has been friends with the Kerry family in Sun Valley and, as a board member of the AFI, he knows the directing talents of daughter Alexandra. After the cold night in Boston, Canton said he’ll be shooting 33 nights of “Land of the Dead” for Universal directed by George A. Romero and starring Simon Baker, Dennis Hopper, John Leguizamo, Asia Argento and Robert Joy. Bernie Goldman produces along with Canton. Their Atmosphere MM banner next films “300” for WB with Zack Snyder directing Frank Miller’s graphic novel. They follow with “The Spiderwick Chronicles” for Nickelodeon Movies … Robert Redford, who also had been involved in the Kerry campaign, is still planning his own presidential role in the next feature chapter of “The Candidate,” scripted by Larry Gelbart — who takes time off this bigscreener this weekend to contribute his priceless prose to tributes by the Thalians to Red Buttons and to Cy Coleman by the Actors Fund. Gelbart will also inimitably add to the celebration of the life of Tony Randall, Monday … David Paymer, who was another Kerry supporter, notes, “It’s good to be still working for a Democrat.” He’s playing FDR’s friend and adviser Louis Howe in “Warm Springs.” The HBO’er tells the story of Roosevelt’s battle to overcome polio from 1921 until his death in 1945. Kenneth Branagh plays FDR. Paymer’s political credit sheet includes, “Nixon,” “The American President,” “RFK” and “City Hall.” He segues to direct a seg of “Everwood” starring pal Treat Williams … Another showbiz-supported candidate was defeated Monday. Nick Clooney, George’s dad, lost in his bid for a Congressional seat in the fourth district of Kentucky — which went Republican.

ESTHER WILLIAMS, HUSBAND Edward Bell and Argus Entertainment’s Victor Bardack are readying an MOW version of her book, “The Million Dollar Mermaid.” Bell reports he and Bardack have screenplayed the book and plan an international search for the girl to play “The Million Dollar Mermaid.” Further, the pic’s star will also star in an extravaganza, “Aquaria,” to be built at the Las Vegas Flamingo hotel in 2005. Daniel Flannery will produce the live show with Esther as coproducer. “She has to look — and swim — pretty,” Bell advises the would-be mermaid aspirants … It’s family time on the WB lot for Emilio Estevez, father Martin Sheen and brother Charlie Sheen. They shoot their respective series on nearby WB stages: Charlie on “Two and a Half Men,” Martin on “West Wing” and Emilio on his new series, “Long Island Sound,” which he also produces with Eric and Kim Tannenbaum. Emilio admits, “This is a good time for me” as he also directs the seg of NBC’s “Cold Case” that airs Sunday. He is set to helm another … “Christmas With the Kranks” will have a tribute “in loving memory to Alan King” in the final credits. Although King’s scene did not make the final cut he is still loved by the troupe led by Joe Roth … Pierre Cossette hosted his Super Bowl Party at Chasen’s for 20 years, then to N.Y.’s Sardi’s for eight. On Feb. 6, the bash heads to Spago. Pierre and wife Mary have met with Wolfgang Puck to set the walk-through-the-kitchen, serve-yourself bash. The menu, as always, is hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips, peanuts, ice cream cups, chili and the toppings, beverages –everything in paper goods — no fancy plates at all. And yes, the game boards range to $1,000 per pick.

HEART OF THE Storm” producer Jim Green credits SAG prexy Melissa Gilbert with the SAG low budget agreement making it possible for him to shift production to New Orleans from Canada on the project in which Gilbert also stars with Tom Cavanagh in a 100% SAG cast. The pic, which had a one-day theatrical release in Vancouver, preems in the U.S. Friday at the Fort Lauderdale Film Fest. And its TV preem is Nov. 22 on Lifetime. Green’s WalletSize Pictures also produced Lifetime’s “Torn Apart” in New Orleans starring Tia Carrere. Also filmed in New Orleans was his “Growing Pains Reunion” for ABC … “Ninth November Night,” the docu short produced by Gisela Guttman with director/composer Henning Lohner, will have its L.A. preem Nov. 13-14 at the AFI Fest. Max Schell reads the words of Simon Wiesenthal in the film and actors/directors Sean Penn and Jason Lee appear as themselves in the Holocaust remembrance docu first screened on the 65th anniversary of Kristallnacht at the Museum of Tolerance … Alec Mapa of UPN’s “Half & Half” receives the Rand Schrader Distinguished Achievement Award from L.A.’s Gay and Lesbian Center Saturday at the Century Plaza hotel … Songwriter Carol Connors performs “America the Beautiful” for the Seminole Indian tribe at their Veterans’ Day celebration at the Big Cypress Indian Reservation in Florida, Nov. 9. Connors was birthday’d at Spago by pals Connie Stevens, Barbi Benton, Joanna Cassidy, Marilyn McCoo, Joanne Worley and Kate Linder … Kathy Quinn, widow of Anthony Quinn, arrives with their two children for a book signing of her book, “Anthony Quinn’s Eyes — A Lifetime of Creating and Collecting Art,” Nov. 12 at the Bel-Air Hotel. First time director David Silberg (“Getting Played”) is tickled to see Smooth magazine’s cover of Stacey Dash, who is among the mag’s “100 Hottest Women of the Year.” List also includes Vivica A. Fox and Carmen Electra — costars of “Getting Played.” Easy —- he hopes for a PG-13 rating.

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