Take One

updated 08/18/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/18/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Even though he's on trial for involuntary manslaughter (and facing a possible prison term of up to four years), director John Landis enjoyed a few light moments as he sat in L.A. Superior Court during jury selection. Landis, 36, and four others are charged in the 1982 deaths of actor Vic Morrow and two children, Myca Dinh Lee, 7, and Renee Chen, 6, who died while filming a stunt for Landis' Twilight Zone—The Movie. Last week Landis exchanged smiles with his supporters whenever a prospective juror said he or she had never heard of the director. When another woman was asked what she knew about Twilight Zone, she said that it brought Alfred Hitchcock to mind, drawing a laugh from Landis and friends. Things will no doubt get more serious when opening arguments begin this week.

Mel Gibson is talking about doing the movie Pine Gap, the true story of an Australian investigative journalist who vanished after researching an article on that top secret American defense outpost near Alice Springs, Australia.... What becomes a legend most? Outrageous parody. Producers Bob (Love at First Bite) Kaufman and John (Life of Brian) Goldstone are taking on, among others, Joan of Arc, Noah and his ark and Christopher Columbus in features for HBO and British TV....

Oscar-winning Amadeus star F. Murray Abraham may have difficulty attending the fall premiere of his next film, The Name of the Rose, a medieval whodunit co-starring Sean Connery. Abraham will be in Syria and Jordan, having accepted an invite from the U. Information Agency to spend two weeks talking to Middle East filmmakers about acting. The USIA thought Abraham was born in Syria. Wrong. That was his father, Fahrid, 70, who will go along as interpreter and see his homeland for the first time since childhood. Abraham isn't put off by reports linking Syria to terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens. "I am not going as a politician or a journalist," he says. "I am going as an artist, and art is above that."

The 20th Century-Fox ad campaign for Aliens took an other-world twist. The original poster, showing Sigourney Weaver clutching Carrie Henn in one arm and a Rambo-like rifle in the other as a monster looked on, disappeared quickly and was replaced with the current, no-picture one. An insider says the change was ordered by studio chieftains who decided that "Sigourney looked too much like Michael Jackson, complete with square jaw and falling spit curl."

Five years ago Robin (Star Trek III) Curtis lost out to Jaclyn Smith for the lead in the TV movie Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. Now, however, she's playing Jackie in NBC's movie LBJ. Both films were produced by Louis Rudolph, so when a historical outfit was called for, Rudolph raided his old wardrobe vault. The size-9 Curtis will be wearing the same copy of Jackie's pink Dallas suit that Smith appeared in. "We did have to make one alteration," says Curtis. "The backside had to be taken in."

Molly (Pretty in Pink) Ringwald has finished filming her romantic comedy, The Pick-Up Artist, produced by her pal Warren Beatty. Now she's talking to producer Richard (Julia) Roth about In Country, in which she'd play the sister of a Vietnam vet who suffers from side effects of Agent Orange.... Beatty, meanwhile, may stop traffic in Hollywood, but in Atlantic City he barely slows down the casino dice. While filming with Molly at Resorts International, "large crowds gathered for a while but never stayed long," reports a hotel exec. "When people have their money on the line, they don't even care about Warren Beatty." But guess who Beatty cares about? Henny Youngman and Milton Berle. He went to see both comics perform and dropped in backstage. "It surprised the hell out of us that he was into their humor," says the exec. Take that actor, please!

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