FALSE ALARM

So there you are watching the scene in Backdraft in which the fire investigator, played by William Baldwin, pays a jailhouse visit to a psycho arsonist (Donald Sutherland) in hopes the creep will help him track down another arsonist who's still at large.

Sound familiar? It should, since the FBI trainee played by Jodie Foster asks essentially the same thing of convicted killer Hannibal "the Cannibal" Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) in the recent The Silence of the Lambs.

A little plot-napping perhaps? Not at all, says Backdraft screenwriter Gregory Widen, who notes that two-thirds of the film, including the Sutherland scenes, was in the can when Lambs opened last February. "I went to Scott Glenn, who's in both films [he plays a fire fighter in Backdraft and an FBI supervisor in Lambs], and I asked him, 'Do we have a problem here?' " Widen recalls. "He said, 'Nah, it's not the same thing.' "

Widen says Backdraft director Ron Howard was committed to keeping the Sutherland subplot in "because we came by it honestly and independently of the other film."

BRIAN WILSON GOES SOLO

For much of the past decade, many of those close to Brian Wilson have been trying to get the onetime Beach Boy out from under the control of his psychologist turned manager Dr. Eugene Landy, who also writes songs with Brian.

Historically, Wilson has stuck by Landy, even when Landy surrendered his license to practice psychology in California two years ago, following allegations that he had been giving drugs to some of his patients and had coerced one female patient into having sex with him. (Landy denied the charges, and they were dismissed by the state licensing board.)

According to a Beach Boys source, the relationship between Wilson and Landy may be changing. In an out-of-court agreement made secretly in April, patient and doctor agreed to a 90-day trial separation during which time Wilson "is free to see other doctors and explore other business relationships." Our source tells us the arrangement was made by Wilson and Landy to head off Brian's cousin Stanley Love's legal suit seeking conservatorship of Brian's affairs.

Brian's attorney, Don Engel, refused to either confirm or deny what our source said, describing the information as "confidential and privileged."

Meanwhile, Wilson's new album, Sweet Insanity, is due late this summer, followed in October by his autobiography, Wouldn't It Be Nice.

WHITHER PEE-WEE?

Has comedian Paul Reubens sent his Pee-wee Herman alter ego to sleep with the fishes? Herman, whose second movie, Big Top Pee-wee, went nowhere in 1988 and whose TV show, Pee-wee's Playhouse, ended production a year ago, told a source of ours that he is fed up with playing Pee-wee and has retired the character forever.

Reubens's manager, Michael McClean, says his client hasn't retired Pee-wee; he has just sent him on "an extended vacation." McClean says he doesn't expect Pee-wee to return "until [Reubens] is clearheaded about what he wants to do."