Take One

updated 10/01/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/01/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Although the producers of The Holcroft Covenant, based on Robert Ludlum's best-seller, are suing James Caan for backing out as the film's lead, some of the cast and crew seem to prefer Caan's replacement, Michael Caine. Says co-star Anthony (Under the Volcano) Andrews, "I don't know why Caan didn't turn up, but I'm frightfully grateful to him in the sense that we got Michael, who I think is going to make a tremendous difference to the picture." Concurs director John Frankenheimer, "I'm the luckiest man in the world because Caan gave me Caine, who's the best actor I've ever worked with. He can walk across a room better than anyone I've ever seen except John Wayne and Robert Mitchum, and that's very important. Most people can't walk across a room. But he can walk and chew gum at the same time, you know?" Luckily, Caine isn't the kind to let such compliments go to his feet.

After his first three films, Judd Nelson, 24, seemed destined to play social outcasts forever. In Making the Grade he was a street kid from Newark, N.J. Then he was cast as a "nerd who doesn't want to do butch things," as he puts it, in the soon-to-be-released Steven Spielberg film Fandango—and as a "juvenile delinquent with long hair and a couple of earrings" in John Hughes' Breakfast Club, due out in February. But in his next feature, St. Elmo's Fire, Judd gets to play an ambitious well-dressed Washington Congressional aide. That sort of pleases his mom, Merle, a state legislator in Maine. "My mother doesn't understand why I get cast as derelicts and don't get to wear nice clothes," says Judd. "After she read the script for St. Elmo's Fire, she said, 'Your character is a bit of a s—-, but at least you're going to look good.' "

Aretha Franklin has signed to do a TV movie of the musical Sing Mahalia Sing, about gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, which opens in Detroit Oct. 17. Franklin wants Billy Dee Williams to play Mahalia's husband. "If Billy Dee Williams thinks he has met his leading lady in Diahann Carroll on Dynasty," says Aretha, "wait till he meets me."...

To get in shape for her role in Conan the Destroyer Olivia D'Abo pumped a little iron with co-star Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now she's working out four hours a day for a film called Flying, in which she'll play a high school gymnast, but this time a double will perform her tough stunts. Mary Lou, you listening?

Word is that in All of Me Steve Martin's hair wasn't really all his. But only a star rug-maker like Ziggy can know for sure how much is Steve and how much is weave, and he isn't saying. "Everything I do is confidential," says Ziggy, a popular celeb carpeter who refuses to disclose his full name. But he adds, "I deal with all the top entertainers." Or topless?

Last seen in ABC's Lace as one of "those bitches" who turned out not to be Phoebe Cates' mother, Brooke Adams has cleaned up her act for her big-screen role in Key Exchange, in which she also starred off Broadway. In the movie version, to be released next March, Adams plays an associate producer of a TV talk show hosted by Tony Roberts. While on location in New York, Adams has been calling on such local talkers as Regis Philbin and David Letterman for pointers. Says Adams, "I've done a lot of talk shows before, but I never realized how much talk-show guests are treated like meat." According to Brooke, grade-A guests are not "snorers" and do know how to "give good panel"—meaning they're talkative but not overbearing during group discussions. One host Adams has avoided during her research is Phil Donahue. "In the movie, the face on the dart board in Tony Roberts' office is Phil's," says Brooke, joking. "I probably won't be invited to do his show."

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