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SARAH JESSICA PARKER EXCHANGES JUNIORS

Call it the seven-year itch, but Sarah Jessica (L.A. Story) Parker's seven-year romance with Robert (Soapdish) Downey Jr. appears to be over, possibly thanks to John F. Kennedy Jr.

Parker is in Las Vegas shooting the Castle Rock comedy Honeymoon in Vegas with costars Nicolas Cage and James Caan, but a source close to the actress confirms that she and Downey have indeed broken up and that she's now going out with Kennedy.

"It's not like Sarah and John are about to become engaged," says the source, "but, yes, they are dating."

ANJELICA HUSTON TAKES THE DIRECT APPROACH

Look for actress Anjelica Huston to follow in the footsteps of her late father, John Huston, and direct her first movie.

According to sources, Huston has secured the film rights to a biography about Maud Gonne, the woman whose beauty and passion for Ireland—she sided with the rebels in Ireland's 1916 Easter Rising against British rule—inspired many of William Butler Yeats's finest poems.

Huston's rep declined comment, but these same sources say that although there is no financing for the film yet, Shane (My Left Foot) Gonnaughton recently met with Huston and has agreed to write the Maud Gonne screenplay.

PEE-WEE HERMAN: NO NEW PLAYHOUSE

Despite comedian Paul Reubens's recent highly publicized fall from grace, his lawyers have been doing their best to keep his Pee-wee's Playhouse alive.

According to sources, soon after CBS yanked Pee-wee's Playhouse reruns in the wake of Reubens's July arrest for indecent exposure, the comedian's attorneys contacted Fox in hopes that the so-called fourth network might take a more liberal attitude and agree to show the children's series. But Fox passed.

Reubens's spokesperson, Richard Grant, confirms that Fox was approached last month and says that there are no plans now to go elsewhere.

TURN ON, TUNE OUT

Sean Penn has made a point in interviews promoting the Sept. 20 release of his first directing effort, The Indian Runner, of saying that the film was inspired by Bruce Springsteen's "Highway Patrolman," a song from the Boss's 1982 Nebraska album.

In fact, according to the film's production notes, Penn telephoned Springsteen some years ago to express his admiration for the song about two brothers, one a cop and one an outlaw. "I told Bruce," Penn is quoted as saying, "I'd like to make a movie from it someday, and he said, 'Alright.' I warned him I was going to hold him to that."

So how come "Highway Patrolman" doesn't show up in the movie, for which Penn also wrote the screenplay? "The film takes place in 1968, and Bruce's song didn't come out until the early '80s," explains producer Don Phillips. "Given that time frame, it wouldn't have been appropriate to use the song. Asking Bruce for permission to use it, therefore, was never an issue."