DID MICHAEL WANT TO LIVE DANGEROUS-LY?

Michael Jackson says he cut the four-minute window-breaking and crotch-grabbing sequence that ends his "Black or White" video in response to parental concerns over its violence and sexual overtones, but industry insiders speculate that Jackson knew precisely what he was doing when he first included the footage.

Given that Jackson did his turnaround less than 24 hours after the video's world premiere, there were suspicions that the entire affair may have been one big publicity stunt.

Not so, insists a source close to Jackson. "We don't play those kinds of games," he says, adding that "very few people" around Jackson even saw the video prior to its Nov. 14 airing. "The video wasn't even finished until the night before its premiere," says the source. "Believe me, this was no stunt."

What about Jackson's bosses at Sony, the guys who reportedly spent as much as $10 million to produce Michael's new Dangerous album? We're told a few Sony higher-ups saw the video, but only at the last minute.

QUEEN EXCHANGE

Anjelica Huston is negotiating to play the part of Queen Isabella in director Ridley Scott's upcoming movie, Columbus, which stars Gérard Depardieu as the much abused explorer.

Huston may have been Scott's original pick for the role—and the first choice of Paramount, which will distribute the movie throughout North America—but a source close to the project says the film's consortium of Spanish investors wanted a Spanish actress. "Unfortunately, Spanish actresses with box office appeal are not in plentiful supply," say our source.

So Scott and Paramount offered up Swedish actress Lena (Havana) Olin as a possible alternative. The investors accepted her, says the source, "because she's a European." But having already committed to costarring with Richard Gere in Tri-Star's Mr. Jones, Olin wasn't available.

Which is why Isabella's crown may end up on Huston's head. The actress, currently starring as Morticia in The Addams Family, is now thought to be asking between $1.5 million and $2 million per film.

FAMILY TIES
The son also rises, especially in Hollywood. Check out these holiday movie credits: Jason Gould, 24, Barbra Streisand's son, plays her character's son in The Prince of Tides; Christopher Rydell, 28, plays Bette Midler's son in For the Boys, a movie directed by his father, Mark Rydell; and Max Hoffman, 7, son of Dustin, plays a child in a school play in Hook.