The Insider

updated 07/25/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/25/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

FOX GETS KEANU'S BIG TICKET FOR SPEED 2

With Speed grossing more than $85 million at the box office, Twentieth Century Fox is eager to get Speed 2 moving. But that may be easier said than done. The studio, which hadn't expected Speed to be this big this quickly, paid Keanu Reeves a flat $1.2 million for the movie. In other words, Fox didn't follow the now-customary Hollywood practice of locking in a star's salary for a sequel.

Now that Fox wants to do one, the studio must start a new round of negotiations with the young action hero. A source close to Reeves, 29, tells us the actor wants to do Speed 2, but only with script approval, and at a figure presently on the bargaining table that will guarantee Reeves "at least $7 million."

IN THE RUNNING

Once the measure of fame was whether a celebrity was big enough to have a sandwich named after him at a major delicatessen. Now the stakes are being raised: Robert De Niro's publisher pal Peter Brant has named his very promising 2-year-old racing Thoroughbred after the actor. And like De Niro the actor, De Niro the horse is having a lot of success. The colt won his first two races and is already being talked about as a possible contender for next year's Kentucky Derby.

But that's not all. The actor's name has been further glorified by the one-act play Waltzing De Niro, which recently concluded a run at a small theater in Hollywood. The play, which got good reviews, is about a woman who falls in love with a next-door neighbor who may or may not be Robert De Niro.

As for the genuine article, the real De Niro had just returned to New York City after a brief South Seas vacation and had no comment.

ROSE-COLORED NEWS

Among other revelations in Laurence Learner's new book The Kennedy Women, which Villard will publish later this summer, is that for the past 10 years Ted Kennedy, without meaning to deceive anyone, has been making up the public quotes from his mother, Rose Kennedy, who turns 104 on July 22. Learner also claims that (lie Kennedy matriarch has never been informed that RFK's son David died from a drug overdose in 1984. The author says Mrs. Kennedy can now often be found viewing documentaries about the family that have been "heavily edited," with all "tragedies cut out." Not surprising, says Learner, who asserts that the Kennedy family tradition is to "never look at the negative side of life. Ever. You just go on." A rep for Ted Kennedy declined to comment on the book.

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