Take One

updated 11/07/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/07/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

Richard Dreyfuss and Al Pacino reportedly had expressed interest in the part, but Harvey Fierstein will re-create his Tony-winning Broadway performance as the drag queen in the movie version of Torch Song Trilogy. Fierstein, 29, is negotiating with potential producers and, he contends, "They won't do it without me." The movie will probably be shot in the spring of 1985, but it won't be released until Torch Song closes on Broadway. "That won't be until 1998," boasts Fierstein. "By then I'll be an old man. I hope they can make me look young again with special effects." Meantime, he is readying a new play, Spookhouse, for off-Broadway. Fierstein also plans to star for three months in the London production of Torch Song next spring, but he has turned down an NBC offer to script a series. Maybe he was worried that too much work might accelerate the aging process.

The Big Chill should have been Kevin Costner's big break. Cast as the departed Alex (whose wrist-slitting suicide brings about the reunion of his college friends from the '60s), Costner was the center of a flashback sequence showing the group at a communal dinner during their radical days at Michigan: Alex is in the kitchen contemplating the turkey and the carving knife when Harold (Kevin Kline) calls to him from the dining room, "Alex, we need you in here." That was to have been the end of the movie, but was cut partly because preview audiences didn't like it. Now the only glimpse we have of Costner is as the corpse, whose face is never seen. The actor hopes to get somewhat more exposure in his upcoming films St. Louis Square and Steven Spielberg's Fandango.

In his first theatrical movie since his portrayal of Harold Abrahams in Chariots of Fire, Ben Cross will play Franciscan monk Padre Rufino Niccacci (who aided Jewish refugees during World War II) in The Assisi Underground, co-starring Maximilian Schell, James Mason and Irene Pappas. Before cameras start rolling in January in Italy, Cross will cloister himself in a monastery in Assisi for a month to learn about the life of the monks.

Theirs was Risky Business, but the stars of that runaway hit, Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay, are now partners in risky real-life romance and plan to move in together. The couple is looking for a loft in New York. Says Cruise, who seems to have All the Right Moves on-screen and off, "It certainly won't be a bed of roses, but we're both dedicated to making this relationship work."

Speaking of tony twosomes, Tom Selleck denies rumors that he's engaged to former Cats actress Jillie Mack, his steady of late...

Canadian comic Jim Carrey, 21, isn't denying that his favorite date these days is Linda Ronstadt, 37, who caught his act at L.A.'s Comedy Store. So did Allan Burns, producer of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda and Lou Grant—and promptly signed Carrey for the lead in an NBC midseason replacement series called The Duck Factory.

Earl Hamner, creator of The Waltons, has his own ideas about salesmanship. In a desperate attempt to boost the sagging ratings of his new TV series Boone, on NBC, Hamner has spent the last few weeks calling numbers picked randomly from phone books, urging people to watch his show. "I'm trying to get a Pyramid Club going by asking people to watch Boone and tell five of their friends about it," says Hamner. "Sometimes the people I call are rude, but I'm rude for calling."

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