IS THERE A SCRIPT DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE?

One Hollywood euphemism for pictures bogged down in preproduction is "development hell," and often it's the screenplay that stalls a project.

Take, for example, Jack Nicholson's next movie, Wolf. It's about a New York City hook editor who turns into a werewolf. Mike Nichols has been set to direct the movie for Columbia for nearly a year, but three different writers couldn't solve the script problems. Nichols finally asked his comedy partner of three decades ago, Elaine May, to have a try. Her version was successful enough not only for Nichols to begin shooting in late March but also to attract Michelle Pfeiffer as Nicholson's costar.

The future of Eddie Murphy's Beverly Hills Cop 3 is not nearly as settled. Paramount originally planned to release the action-comedy in summer '93. But, says our source, director John Landis was set back by script revisions—at one point there were two rewrites going on simultaneously—and a change of producers didn't help, either. The studio now says it no longer intends "to rush the movie out." Indeed, the start dale has been pushed back to this spring.

POWER LUNCH

Helen Kushnick, fired last September as executive producer of The Tonight Show for trying strong-arm tactics to keep Jay Leno's guests from appearing on rival talk shows, recently lunched with L.A.'s Mayor Tom Bradley. During the meal, Kushnick said she was thinking of running for Bradley's job when he steps down in July after 20 years. Bradley was sufficiently surprised that he called Leno to mention Kushnick's notion.

Kushnick, 46, admits talking "to a number of leading Democrats [about seeking office]," but says, "I've abandoned the idea because I think we found out [at Tonight] that I'm not a politician." She adds. "I'm retired. I'm not going to run, I'm not going to write a book and I'm not going to launch my own line of fragrances."

THE BIG BANG THEORY

Sources tell us Drew Barrymore, who last month played Amy Fisher in ABC's version of the tale of the trigger-happy Long Island teenager, recently went into Gun World in Van Nuys, Calif., and purchased a pistol. Barrymore, 17, has also been seen taking target practice at the store's shooting range. The actress declines to comment, but her publicist says "it is ridiculous" for us or anybody to suggest parallels between the personal lives of Barrymore and Fisher.

In the meantime, other sources tell us that Barrymore's relationship with fiancé James Walters has misfired. We hear that he recently moved out of her Los Angeles home, in addition to having lost his job when Fox axed his series, The Heights.

FIRST THINGS FIRST
Here's what Keith Richards said when Mick Jagger and Charlie Walls told him of Bill Wyman's decision to leave the Rolling Stones: "OK, let's start auditioning female bass players."