Mary Tyler Moore was set to star in the NBC movie Guests of the Emperor, a World War II drama about female prisoners in a Japanese POW camp, when a vet told her that her dog Dudley, a Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen, had cancer and would have to undergo radiation treatments.
So distraught was Moore that she asked the film's producers to let her out of her contract. The producers complied.
A few days later, Moore's spirits were lifted when she got the news that Dudley's condition had been misdiagnosed and that the picture wasn't so bleak. Relieved, she instructed her agent to ring back the producers and tell them she was ready to work. The agent did just that, only to be told that the producers had already given the part to Gena Rowlands.
Guests of the Emperor, with Rowlands in the lead, began shooting in New Orleans last week.
NAME'S (NEARLY) THE SAME
In the new NBC series I'll Fly Away, actor Sam Waterston plays a southern DA coming to terms with the civil rights movement in the late 1950s.
His character's name on the show is Forrest Bedford; Bedford has three children, one of whom is named Nathan.
Funny, but history suggests that in 1867 a former Confederate cavalry general by the name of Nathan Bedford Forrest became the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
Joshua Brand and John Falsey, executive producers of I'll Fly Away, claim that the naming of Waterston's character was an "ironic coincidence" and that the reversal was "not done on purpose."
Not that we doubt them, but we feel it our duty to add that Brand and Falsey were also the co-creators of St. Elsewhere, a series that at times raised the notion of ironic coincidence to an art form.
A BIG BREAK FOR COFFEE
Did anyone notice the Gloria Jean's Coffee Bean storefront that appears in a number of background shots in The Butcher's Wife, starring Demi Moore? Technically, the store shouldn't be there. The Butcher's Wife is set in Greenwich Village, in New York City. But though Gloria Jean's Coffee Bean has outlets in 31 states, there are none in Manhattan.
The president of the company, Ed Kvetko, was surprised when Paramount asked for permission to use Gloria Jean's in the movie.
Companies will often pay studios many thousands of dollars to place one of their products in a film, but Kvetko says his didn't. "Big-time product placement is out of our league. All we paid Paramount was about $2,000 worth of photos, boxes and products."
Kvetko adds that he's now scouting locations in New York City. "With the advertising the movie affords us," he reasons, "how can we not?"