Coming Distractions

UPDATED 12/23/1985 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 12/23/1985 at 01:00 AM EST

'86 Tube

Among television's most reliable ratings-grabbers are sex, Nazis and Joan Collins. CBS will combine all three in Sins, a seven-hour miniseries that stars Dynasty's evil animus as an ambitious Parisian who goes through 87 costume changes while building a fashion empire and avenging herself on a WWII German soldier who did her wrong. The production, slated for February, had more than one happy ending. Says Collins, who is newly wed to Sins' executive producer Peter Holm, "We told each other that if we got through Sins together we'd get married"....

Vanessa Redgrave is once again courting the unusual in Second Serve, a CBS movie about transsexual tennis star Dr. Renee Richards....

Shirley MacLaine will be Out on a Limb in more ways than one when she plays herself in this five-hour ABC miniseries based on her best-seller about her brushes with the occult. MacLaine plans to duplicate, on film, an "out-of-body" experience she claims she had in the Peruvian Andes. She also intends to film an unrehearsed, unscripted session with "trance-channelers," people whom she believes can communicate with the dead.

Director Jon Avnet describes his ABC project, Unfinished Business, as "not a typical TV movie. There is no real violence or sex." What there is is Farrah Fawcett (hot after last year's The Burning Bed) pitted against Colleen Dewhurst in the story of a young housewife's struggle with a difficult mother-in-law. Avnet says the film, which will air in March, probably "wouldn't have gotten made without Farrah"....

Miniseries veteran Richard Chamberlain has traded his Shogun silks for frontier buckskin in Dream West, CBS' seven-hour dramatization of the life of 19th-century American explorer John Charles Fremont. Amadeus'F. Murray Abraham will play Abraham Lincoln. Chamberlain says he and the rest of the cast expect to "freeze our arses" while filming....

Snow business like show business, Take II: In the Soviet Union, an American production crew battled frigid weather and the illness of star Maximilian Schell (who has been replaced in some scenes by actor Denis DeMarne) to wrap Peter the Great. NBC hopes the $26 million epic will clean up in the winter Nielsen ratings.

Seldom-seen Tony Curtis and All My Children vixen Susan Lucci star in NBC's Mafia Princess, based on Antoinette Giancana's best-seller about life with her father, mob boss Sam Giancana. "Antoinette's father wanted her to be a teacher or a nun, but she wanted to be an actress," says Lucci, who is half-Italian. "My father wanted me to fill a church pew with children. So our lives were parallel in some respects"....

NBC's Under Siege depicts a series of terrorist attacks on a vulnerable country: the U.S. All of the events depicted in the movie "have occurred somewhere in the world," says executive producer Don Ohlmeyer. "We just changed the venue." Peter Strauss, Paul Winfield, Victoria Tennant and Hal Holbrook star in the three-hour drama, which Ohlmeyer says is meant to "get people to think about terrorism." What about making the wrong people think about terrorism? Claims Ohlmeyer: "We're not giving anyone ideas here. It's been the other way around."

'86 Screen

This looks to be a big year for physics and romance. For example, Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson will star in Heartburn, the film version of writer Nora Ephron's dishy roman a clef about the breakup of her marriage to Watergate reporter Carl Bornstein. Promises director Mike Nichols of his stars: "When they are together, there are sparks!" The movie will be released in July....

Spark fans will also want to watch for Pretty in Pink produced by John (The Breakfast Club) Hughes and slated for Valentine's Day. Pink stars Molly Ringwald as a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who wants to go to the prom with rich kid Andrew McCarthy. Says Hughes of his two stars: "You can see the chemistry between Molly and Andrew. The film just crackles with excitement!"....

May will bring Top Gun, featuring Kelly McGillis as a brainy Navy flight instructor who falls for fighter-jock Tom Cruise. If the romance doesn't get you, says producer Jerry Bruckheimer, the "staggering aerial shots" will.

Nick Nolte plays a bum who is Down and Out in Beverly Hills—until he tries to drown himself in Bette Midler's swimming pool. The comedy, due in January, also features Little Richard....

Richard Gere, one of Hollywood's most ardent mediaphobes, will star as a media consultant in director Sidney Lumet's Power, a cynical look at political campaigning. It's also scheduled for January.

Come spring, Francis Coppola will unveil Peggy Sue Got Married, a fantasy in which a middle-aged Kathleen Turner finds herself returned to her high school graduation. Says producer Howard Koch: "I don't know one person who would not like to go back to high school with the knowledge acquired as an adult"....

Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling, about an entertainer who suffers a drug-related accident and ends up in a hospital bed confronting his past, was co-written and directed by Richard Pryor. "The way to put that stuff behind you is to be brutally honest," says Pryor, who also stars in the film. "You're talking to an expert"....

Cobra stars Sylvester Stallone as a gnarly detective and his real-life fiancée, Brigitte Nielsen, as a fashion model and murder target.

Come summer, brat-pack fans can look toward to Sexual Perversity in Chicago, starring Rob Lowe and Demi Moore. The film is adapted from David Mamet's play about singles....

Prince will unveil his '40s-style romance, Under the Cherry Moon....

Steve Martin will star opposite a man-eating plant in the musical Little Shop of Horrors....

Gene Wilder and his offscreen wife, Gilda Radner, play a bride and groom in Haunted Honeymoon. Dom DeLuise camps it up as Wilder's Aunt Kate.

Movies promised for fall include The Name of the Rose starring Sean Connery as a 14th-century friar-detective and F. Murray Abraham as an ecclesiastical inquisitor....

In Ishtar Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman will try to re-create the flavor of the Bob Hope-Bing Crosby Road pictures. Their Dorothy Lamour is Isabelle Adjani....

Not yet shot, but hoped for by year's end: Husband and wife Sean Penn and Madonna in Shanghai Surprise; Barbra Streisand in a drama, Nuts; Paul Newman and Tom Cruise in a drama, The Color of Money, a sequel to 1961 's The Hustler; and Eddie Murphy in The Golden Child, which the producers say will "reveal his dramatic, sensitive side for the first time."

Alas, sequelphiles, Raiders III and Rambo III won't be out till at least 1987.

'86 Song

The riskiest LPs of 1986 will come from two people who have to follow their own tough acts: Michael Jackson and Cyndi Lauper. Jackson is already in the studio with Thriller producer Quincy Jones. Lauper has started writing songs for a spring release....

Def Leppard is betting its future on a one-armed drummer. The mega-selling heavy metalists, whose drummer, Rick Allen, lost his left arm in an auto accident last year, are finishing an LP and will tour the U.S. next summer. Allen will play a specially rigged drum set. "It will look like a one-man band sort of thing," says manager Peter Mensch. The album, he modestly predicts, "is going to be the biggest record by a white rock band since Bruce Springsteen"....

Duran Duran, whose members scattered in 1985 to pursue pet projects, will regroup early next year. "God knows what the music is going to sound like this time," says group spokesman Nick Underwood. Keyboardist Nick Rhodes is willing to hazard a guess: "It could be utter chaos"....

Dynasty dropout Al Corley will take a second stab at musical stardom with an LP tentatively titled Face to Face. His 1985 debut album, Square Rooms, was savaged by the critics. "People said, 'Here's another actor who thinks he can sing,' " says Corley. "But I write nearly all my own music. I'm not up there in my Steven Carrington costume doing love ballads." A single off the first album went No. 1 in Norway....

Guitarist Brian Setzer, who strayed from the Stray Cats, will release his first solo album this winter. He describes it as "meat and potatoes with Tabasco sauce"....

Blondie broke up in 1982, just before writer-guitarist Chris Stein fell seriously ill with a rare genetic disease and his sweetheart, lead singer Debbie Harry, began devoting her time to nursing him back to health. Now he's well and she's recording a comeback album. Madonna's ex-beau, producer Jellybean Benitez, has already lent Harry a helping hand, producing her single from the Krush Groove sound track.

'86 Pages

Readers with eclectic tastes can look forward to both Ike and Tina. The late President Dwight Eisenhower will be the subject of Eisenhower at War (Random House, June) written by grandson David Eisenhower. In an unrelated literary event, William Morrow has tentatively listed Tina Turner's /, Tina, My Own Story for June....

Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor who successfully defended Claus von Bülow, will tell how he did it in Reversal of Fortune: Inside the von Bülow Case (Random House, scheduled for March). Dershowitz claims that von Bülow's "conniving" step-children "framed a man they truly believe to be guilty"....

The latest novel from hit factory Judith Krantz is I'll Take Manhattan (Crown, May). Its heroine makes a fortune with a glossy magazine that tells women they're fine just the way they are. "Women's magazines are always telling women what's wrong with them—they should lose 15 pounds, they're no good in bed, etc.," says Krantz. "I thought to myself, 'What man would go out every month and plunk down money to be told what a shmuck he is?' "...

David Stockman got $2 million for his capital memoir, The Triumph of Politics (Harper & Row, June); President Reagan's daughter, Patti Davis, and novelist Maureen Strange Foster have written a roman à clef, Home Front (Crown, March) about "a '60s activist who clashes with her politician-father." Director Roger Vadim's Bardot, Deneuve and Fonda (Simon and Schuster, April) is an account of his life with his former ladyloves....

And-last-but-not-least-publicized: Sometime during 1986, Bantam Books plans to publish Kitty Kelley's as-yet-untitled biography of Frank Sinatra, who has made clear he doesn't like the idea. Says Kelley: "I hope the book lives up to his expectations."

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