The Insider

updated 11/04/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/04/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

BIRDS OF A FEATHER

How charismatic will Danny DeVito's Penguin character be in the upcoming Warner Bros, sequel Batman Returns? So charismatic that in a few scenes he'll be followed Pied Piper—like by 400 live penguins.

So says a source close to the production who adds that each penguin following DeVito carries on its back a special cardboard harness "similar to what actor Bill Campbell wore in The Rocketeer."

If the animal activist in you is wondering whether this constitutes abuse of our tuxedoed friends, the American Humane Association had a representative on the set daily during filming. According to Joan Paz, associate coordinator of the Los Angeles regional office, "There has been no harm done to any penguins. We have made sure their harnesses were not too tight." What's more, these penguins got the star treatment—they had their own air-conditioned trailer.

HOME IS WHERE THE SPOUSE IS

Good news for Candice Bergen and Louis Malle, whose marriage, of late, has been a boon to the airline industry. Director Malle has been working in France, while Bergen has been kept in Los Angeles much of the year by her hit CBS series, Murphy Brown. Commuters everywhere will understand; it's the old Left Coast-Left Bank dilemma.

The problem may be solved because Malle is suddenly spending more time in Los Angeles developing a movie based on the recent novel Damage, by Josephine Hart, about a British parliamentarian who falls in love with his son's girlfriend.

The word around town is that Jeremy Irons, winner of this year's Academy Award for Best Actor in Reversal of Fortune, is Malle's first choice to play the parliamentarian, if and when the project's financing falls into place.

CHER-ING THE WEALTH

The infomercial boom continues: Now Cher has joined the ranks of celebrities doing the soft sell for products that they really, really believe in. At press time, she was taping a 30-minute testimonial for the benefit of L. A. hairdresser Lori Davis, whose client list includes Julia Roberts, Winona Ryder, Larry flagman, Holly Hunter, Ted Danson, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, among many others.

STAR PERKS II

We told you last week that Alec Baldwin may have lost the starring role (to Harrison Ford) in Paramount's Patriot Games in part because he demanded too many perks. This week we can add that Baldwin's girlfriend, Kim Basinger, is no slouch herself when asking for contractual sweeteners.

As an example, sources close to the actress tell us that a typical Basinger movie contract normally includes an unspecified number of gallons of Evian water—for her to drink and use to wash her hair.

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