The Insider

updated 01/29/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/29/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

JODIE FOSTER TO DIRECT

In Hollywood the grass is always greener under the director's chair. Witness in recent years actors-turned-directors Barbra Streisand, Robert Red-ford and Clint Eastwood.

The latest entry into this high-stakes moviemaking game is Jodie Foster, winner of the Best Actress Oscar last year for her portrayal of a rape victim in The Accused. Foster, 27, who has a degree from Yale, has been hanging around TV and movie sets since she was a child actress.

As soon as she finishes starring for director Jonathan Demme in the thriller The Silence of the Lambs in February, Foster will take on her first directorial assignment. The $12 million project, for Orion, is called Little Man Tate. A drama about a genius child's relationship with his mother and his psychiatrist, the film will co-star Foster as the mother.

CUTTING ROOM LORE

Last week the Insider reported on the feud between comedians Eddie Murphy and Billy Crystal (PEOPLE, Jan. 22), which goes back to negative comments Crystal made about Murphy in an interview in Playboy's March 1988 issue. Among other things, Crystal told Playboy that he didn't think Murphy was a very good comedian.

Well, here's an update.

Scan Murphy's interview in the February 1990 issue of Playboyand you won't find even a mention of Crystal's name. Not that Murphy didn't have some nasty things to say about Crystal during the interview. He did. But David Rensin, author of both interviews, chose not to include Murphy's comments about Crystal before dispatching the manuscript to his editors.

Rensin said, "I didn't want to promote any more of a fight than was already going on." He wouldn't disclose Murphy's unpublished comments on Crystal, saying only, "It was negative stuff, not very clever."

AIMING FOR THE JOCULAR

These have not been the best of times for Bob Eubanks, former host of TV's Newlywed Game.

Eubanks, a native of Flint, Mich., was there doing a live (nontelevised) version of his game show in 1987 when director Michael Moore showed up for an interview that eventually became a scene in the documentary Roger & Me.

As the cameras rolled, Eubanks uttered an extremely offensive joke about Jewish women and AIDS, which Moore then left in the film, because, he said, he felt it was important to expose continuing prejudice in America.

"I hoped it would blow over, but it didn't," said Eubanks, who has been apologizing for the remark ever since Warner Bros, released Roger & Me last month. "I'm so embarrassed by what I said. I don't have an anti Semitic bone in my body."

Asked what the experience has taught him, Eubanks said, "I learned that if you are a public figure, you can't afford to be a smart ass."

SHAKE, RATTLE AND ROLL

They're earthquake-crazy at Universal Studios in Los Angeles. For example, the "Earthquake—the Big One" offering on the studio tour, during which visitors experience a simulated 8.3 quake, is Universal's most successful new attraction in years.

Next comes word that the studio is finally moving ahead with plans to make Earthquake II, an action-adventure sequel to the 1974 original.

But so sensitive is Universal to the very idea of earthquakes that executives on the lot scurried to safety when massive reverberation caused Universal's forbidding Black Tower office building to shake a few weeks ago. Was it an earthquake? No. It was just a special-effects crew disposing of unused explosives that were left over from last year's filming of Back to the Future III.

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