The title role of George Lucas' next movie, Howard the Duck, is shrouded in such secrecy you'd think it was a threat to national security. This much we know: Inspired by the Marvel Comics character, Howard is a talking, cigar-chomping duck who reads Playduck magazine and lives on a planet populated by web-footed friends. In the film, which opens Aug. 1, Howard is tossed across the universe and crash-lands outside a punk bar in Cleveland. Though he's been described as "the duck version of Woody Allen," it seems Howard is more akin to Steven Spielberg's E.T.—a part-mechanical, part-human creation. Ducking direct questions, a publicist for the film guardedly says, "Revealing how Howard operates would be like doing an autopsy on someone before he has had a chance to live." Fueling the fantasy, Playboy plans to run a feature on Howard—possibly a Q&A interview—in its September issue.
The Chicago Bears' William "Refrigerator" Perry told a Chicago sportswriter that he had turned down a part in a new Cyndi Lauper movie. "It's about her becoming a wrestler," Perry said. "And I was going to be her bodyguard. I read the script, but I don't care for her, really. And I didn't want to go out to California and stay no seven days to be in a movie. I'd rather go back home and spend my time fishing." But Lauper's manager, Dave Wolff, says, "I have no idea what he's talking about. Cyndi is not doing a wrestling movie. We did not send him a script." Turns out that both parties are right. Perry received the script from an independent producer who also wanted Lauper to star in the movie. Regardless, Perry is fishing for other offers.
The title of Faye Dunaway's next NBC movie has been changed from Adventures of the Rich and Famous to Beverly Hills Madam. The word is that the producers waited to make the switch until after the Beverly Hills location scenes were shot because they didn't want to offend local business owners whose cooperation was vital...
Look for Stevie Wonder to introduce America to the latest music rage sweeping northern Africa. Called "rai" (pronounced "rye"), the sound is described as space-age Arabic folk music. Wonder will get an earful of rai when he performs at an Algerian youth festival in July...
Ted Turner may own Cable News Network, but he had a hard time getting through to Ursula (Peter the Great) Andress when she guested on CNN's Larry King Live. Turner phoned the studio three times before convincing the receptionist that the call wasn't a hoax. He finally reached Andress, who agreed to meet him to discuss future projects...
Liberace, who's appearing Feb. 17 and 18 on NBC's much hyped Another World wedding episodes, is always being teased about catering to an older audience. According to his forthcoming book, Liberace's Wonderful World, he's starting to take the taunts seriously. "I was having lunch," he writes, "when a very elderly lady came over to me and said, 'You're my mother's favorite entertainer.' "
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