What impressed actress Leslie Ackerman most about working with Elizabeth Taylor in the forthcoming CBS movie Malice in Wonderland? Aside from Liz's jewels, Leslie, 26, was awed by the abundance of food in Taylor's trailer on the set. "A person could live there for a month," says Ackerman, who plays Harriet, the daughter of Hollywood gossip columnist Louella Parsons (portrayed by Taylor). Despite the ample pantry, says Ackerman, "Elizabeth kept on her diet." Taylor also kept fiancé Dennis Stein, who recently shed about 20 pounds at California's Pritikin Longevity Center, from temptation. Says Ackerman: "Elizabeth and I were shooting one scene in a car when I saw Dennis hanging out on the set by a tray of doughnuts. I told Elizabeth, and she rolled down the window and yelled, 'Dennis, what are you eating? Remember Pritikin!' "
Although he gave it his all, Olympian Mitch Gaylord didn't win the starring role in Parallels, a musical love story set against the world of gymnastics. He will, however, be offered a major supporting role. "Mitch's screen test was very good, but I didn't think he was strong enough to carry the film," says producer Craig (Footloose) Zadan. That job may fall to Tom (Risky Business) Cruise.
After being cast as an astronaut in the 13-hour CBS miniseries Space, due in April, Harry (Making Love) Hamlin went to the Miramar Naval Air Station near San Diego in order to test his aeronautic prowess in an F-14 flight simulator. "I know how to fly a Cessna," says Hamlin. "I thought I could handle an F-14, but I crashed three times in the simulator." That won Hamlin the dubious distinction of having Miramar's worst simulator performance on record. Undaunted, Hamlin, while filming on location at Houston's Johnson Space Center, inquired about flying on the space shuttle. "If I get to ride," he says, "I guess I should stay away from the controls."
Keith (Choose Me) Carradine, who has wrapped HBO's Blackout, in which he plays an amnesiac suspected of murder, will team next month with Choose Me director Alan Rudolph for a feature film called Trouble in Mind, co-starring Kris Kristofferson, Genevieve Bujold, Lori Singer and Divine, the titantic transvestite. For a switch, Divine, who plays a crime boss, will wear men's clothing. "He's the Sydney Greenstreet of the '80s," says Carradine. "Or, as Alan describes him, 'a hulking mass of hermaphroditic evil.' "
By day on General Hospital, Sam Behrens is mild-mannered young lawyer Jake Meyer. In his off-hours, Sam appears as a Harrison Ford look-alike in Wrangler jeans commercials, surviving a number of Raiders of the Lost Ark-type adventures. Behrens likes the job so much that he has signed a three-year contract with Wrangler and expects to be filming his next spot in March or April. It may be hard to top the latest ads, one of which features live alligators. "I fall directly in front of an alligator, and he snaps at me," says Behrens. But he insists that the stunt isn't as dangerous as it looks. "What you don't see are six big guys holding the alligator back with weights and wires. Actually, by the end of the day, the alligator was so mellow that they had to poke him in the ribs with a stick to get him to react."
Ah, Farrah, woman of eternal mystery. Only a few months ago the question was "Is she or isn't she?" (Pregnant—and, yes, she is.) Then it was "Will she or won't she?" (Marry Ryan O'Neal—and, yes, the betting is that she will, this spring.) Some Farrah fans have jumped to the next question: "Who's designing her gown?" Rumor says that couturier Michael Roche—whose clients include Tina Turner, Diana Ross and Cher—got the nod, but Roche will neither confirm nor deny the story. "All I can say," he says, "is that I've designed a wedding dress that will cost approximately $5,800"—it's crushed silk with pearls and Spanish rose lace—"but I can't say that Farrah will wear it." And there you have it—or don't.
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