How many publicists does it take to write one press release? When Chevy Chase checked into the Betty Ford Center, his public relations people went into a tailspin on how to phrase the news. After four hours trying to decide whether to call it a "weight problem" or a "drug problem," the PR firm of PMK finally decided it was best to come clean. Chase's problem, the agency said, is "abuse of the prescription drugs" that he was taking for back pain caused by too many stage pratfalls. It was a smart move since Chevy doesn't have a weight problem.
Ladylike demurrings aside, insiders say the real reason Nancy Reagan sat out the summit at home is that she felt the only thing worse than tea with Mrs. Gorbachev in Geneva would be tea with Raisa in Reykjavik. The First Lady is said to have found her Soviet counterpart "imperious," and the prospect of seeing Raisa anytime sooner than later sent Nancy scurrying to the Rose Garden to plead "busy schedule" to the press.
If it's not one thing it's another for David (Blue Velvet) Lynch. For his next film, Ronnie Rocket, the director is in search of a three-foot-tall lead who has physical problems, is bald and wears a red wig. "It's not easy," says Lynch. When he described his needs to 3'9" actor Billy Barty, Barty advised: "Be sure and give yourself plenty of lead time." Lynch plans to cast Velvet stars Dean Stockwell, Isabella Rossellini and Brad Dourif but has rejected Velvet-He Kyle MacLachlan. "This is not a normal picture and Kyle is just too normal looking," says Lynch.
Actress Sachi Parker, Shirley MacLaine's daughter, will marry aspiring cinematographer Clyde Smith on July 20. Sachi's uncle, Warren Beatty, may not make it to the wedding if he doesn't get off the phone. Driving from New York to Baltimore to visit his ailing father at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Beatty became so engrossed in a telephone conversation with an L.A. screenwriter that he was 25 miles beyond Baltimore before he realized where he was. Yelled Beatty, "Wait a minute—what's going on here? How the hell did I wind up in Washington, D.C.?"
James Bond isn't what he used to be. Playing one of The Untouchables in the movie version proved too much for Sean Connery, 56. Doing a scene in which he's gunned down, Connery got a lacerated chin when some special effects backfired. After a visit to the hospital, Connery balked at doing a second take. Instead he allowed only a close-up of himself; a stunt double took the fall and the ammo. Paging Timothy Dalton....
Speaking of 007, producer Cubby Broccoli was embarrassed to learn that British actor and Prince Charles look-alike Peter Hugo, who was to play Charles in the next Bond film, The Living Daylights, had reportedly served an 18-month jail term for a sex offense with a young boy. After the disclosure, Hugo was quickly dropped from the film.
Eddie Murphy's live concert film, Eddie Murphy, Raw, gave the ratings board such a jolt that it commanded the comic to perform a major "cut and paste" routine before okaying it with an R-rating for theatrical release next summer. The peeved star retaliated by insisting that Paramount release an uncut, X-rated version for the home video market.
The Brat Pack is coming! The Brat Pack is coming! To Russia, that is. Under the arm of SANE: Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, young Hollywood will visit the Soviet Union next June. "This must not be construed as political," says Judd (Breakfast Club) Nelson, who has been attending briefings to prepare for the venture, along with Eric Stoltz, Rosanna Arquette, Moon Zappa and Laura Dern. "It's strictly an attempt to exchange ideas between show-business people here and there. I have no idea how our films affect them," says Nelson. "I don't even know if they know I exist."
Rob Lowe and Princess Stephanie were spotted last week looking lovey-dovey in L.A.'s hip new burger joint, Johnny Rocket's. Each wore a gold band on the wedding finger. And that's the latest Lowe-down.
On Newsstands Now
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