At a recent awards ceremony honoring director-producer Stanley Donen, presenter Steven Spielberg told the audience that when he was making Jurassic Park, he borrowed an idea from Singin' in the Rain, which Donen co-directed with Gene Kelly in 1952. The results were disastrous. Spielberg had heard that Donen put skim milk in the water that drenched Kelly to make the rain more visible on-camera. When he tried the same thing for one of Jurassic's big rain sequences, Spielberg said, "the T. rex looked like a vanilla milk shake, thanks to Stanley. I also remember that Stage 27 at Universal smelled like baby vomit for about a week." Donen doesn't have any special effects in mind when he makes his TV directing debut on ABC April 12 with Love Letters, based on the play by A.R. Gurney.
In a love scene from A Walk on the Moon, a romantic drama starring Anna Paquin, Diane Lane and Viggo Mortensen that marks Dustin Hoffman's producing debut, moviegoers get a full view of Mortensen's dorsal side. In the unlikely event that you don't find the 30-year-old actor's buff bod sexy, well, maybe Hoffman wasn't kidding when he joked at the movie's L.A. premiere that he, in fact, was the body double for Mortensen's nude scenes. Dream on, Mr. Hoffman.
Former Miss America Phyllis George has a new Manhattan-based talk show, Woman's Day with Phyllis George, that debuts March 29 on TNN. She may choose to tell her viewers about a memorable occasion when Kevin Costner saved her from one of life's little embarrassments. Just before George was to speak at a recent luncheon honoring Kathie Lee Gifford, Costner leaned over and whispered, "Phyllis, you have spinach in your teeth." George removed it, only to have Costner say, "Wait! Now it's on your lip." Says George: "It endeared him to me forever. I imagine I've had spinach in my teeth a lot, and no one's ever told me."
If you were one of the 270 million Americans who did not get a ticket to the Academy Awards, don't feel bad: A number of big-time celebrities had to watch the show at home too. Among the many stars who were not invited to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion this year was Melanie Griffith. When I ran into the actress at a private showing of designer Elizabeth Galindo's spring and fall fashions a few days before the big event, she was just as happy. "I'd much rather watch at home," Griffith told me, "because you can get up and smoke and do whatever you want."
- Hugh McCarten.
I hear that the recently betrothed Sophie Rhys-Jones and Britain's Prince Edward have decided they would like their nuptials to be a "people's wedding." If they proceed with their plan, expected to be announced shortly, ordinary folks can apply for tickets admitting them to the grounds of Windsor Castle. The lucky winners won't get to dine with the newlyweds but will be able to picnic on the grass at the Queen's favorite residence and watch the couple make their procession from historic St. George's Chapel to the castle on the big day, June 19.