Scoop

UPDATED 07/10/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 07/10/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT

Hollywood Hijinks
On the set, celebs have time on their hands and mischief on their minds

Focus

Actors are fond of comparing making a movie to attending summer camp, in that both experiences involve spending long hours away from home with catered food and no parental supervision. In between the work, there's a lot of free time, and it needs to be creatively filled. On the set of Unbreakable, in Philadelphia, for example, Bruce Willis bought ice-cream treats for all and set up a doughnut-eating contest for the cast and crew. Meanwhile, Renée Zellweger was mooned on the set of Me, Myself & Irene, a prank conceived by the movie's directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly. And while filming the upcoming Snatch in London, director Guy Ritchie got zapped by two rascally actors, who filled his car trunk with horseshoes.

But surely the actor who most needs a time-out is dimpled troublemaker Freddie Prinze Jr. Julia Stiles, who costarred with him in this year's Down to You, reportedly stepped into a pair of toothpaste-filled shoes courtesy of Prinze, who also rigged a pail of water over her trailer door. "He got all of us," says Selma Blair, also in Down to You, whose bras were soaked with water. That was child's play compared to the trick Prinze played on Claire Forlani, his paramour in the recently released Boys and Girls. The pair were staying in nearby apartments when, one night, "we were talking on the phone, and I was watching a program on serial killers," recalls Prinze, 24. "I started telling her about the program, and she was getting scared." Two hours later, Prinze, hooded and dressed in black, came knocking. "She didn't realize it was me until I took the hood off," he says with devilish glee. "She was scared for a week!"

Other stars have taken a less confrontational route to banishing on-set doldrums. When Tom Hanks filmed the 1998 HBO series From the Earth to the Moon, a set source says he paid for massages for the entire cast and crew. Camp Hanks, anyone?

THE KING'S PARTY LIST

Elegance reigned at the June 20 state dinner to honor King Mohammed VI of Morocco. Peach flowers adorned lavish tables under a tent on the White House South Lawn. The scent of lemon-garlic lamb wafted through the air. And well-dressed guests lined up before trailers with portable toilets inside.

Huh? "They were elegant," insists singer-dancer Paula Abdul, who attended the fete in a pale-pink Carolina Herrera gown. Still, "I don't care how glamorous you were, you just had to laugh."

And you just had to scratch your head at the evening's eclectic guest list, which included actress Carol Alt f "Ms. Alt came at the request of His Majesty," explained White House social secretary Capricia Marshall); '70s rockers Earth, Wind & Fire (also a favorite of the king's); Clinton cronies Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen; actress Teri Garr ("She has been very supportive of the Clinton Administration," says Erika Batcheller of the First Lady's press office) and sex guru Dr. Ruth Westheimer (ditto). Even Abdul admits that when she received the invitation, she thought, "Why me?' "

In fact, Batcheller says that "generally we pick people who have a connection to the person of honor or to the country." In Abdul's case, she has filmed music videos in Morocco, and "they were apparently honored I'd done that," says the ex-Laker Girl, who bought a disposable camera to snap pictures with the First Lady and Chelsea. "That's totally not like me," she says, "but I thought, 'When am I ever going to be here again?' "

Today vs. GMA: An Improper Chopper?

Did NBC's To-day step over the line in its rivalry with ABC's Good Morning America? That's very much the feeling at GMA. On June 23 that program featured a live performance by Dionne Warwick from Manhattan's Bryant Park. Trouble started when part of the concert was drowned out by a hovering helicopter dispatched by top-rated Today. "You're looking at Bryant Park, where I understand some kind of concert is going on," Today coanchor Katie Couric remarked dryly. Executive producer Jeff Zucker denies that any disruption of the GMA concert was intentional. "Absolutely not," he says. As for Couric's remark, "She was just having a little fun," says Zucker.

GMA executive producer Shelley Ross disagrees. "Katie said disparaging things," she says. "There has always been a healthy rivalry, but this was different. This was a dirty trick. It was hovering and harassing and interfering."

As for Warwick, her rep Angelo Ellerbee says, "She just sang louder," adding, "This is a very crazed industry. You expect the unexpected." So will GMA continue to face flak from above? The NBC chopper, says Zucker, will not stray from its usual course.

Ivana Towel—Now!
Ci sei cascato! That, roughly, is Italian for "gotcha," as Ivana Trump learned after appearing on Italian TV's Scherzi A Parte, a Candid Camera-style program, for a fee of $18,000 last year. She hadn't bargained for being doused with water at the show's end. 'She would not have consented to fly all the way to Milan to have water thrown on her head," says her lawyer Daniel Harrigan. On June 21 Trump filed a $3 million law-E suit against the station owners and the show's producer, claiming that the gag caused her "bodily harm...embarrassment and severe emotional distress." She also wants $3,000 for the outfit she wore on the show and $25,000 for a Harry Winston earring that she says was lost in the ensuing chaos. A Scherzi A Parte spokeswoman declined to comment.

Brother Betts Gets the Boot
Where's the brotherly love? Dickey Betts, the grizzled guitarist for the Allman Brothers Band, has taken legal action against the group for suspending him. Betts says they informed him in early May—via fax—that he'd been ousted from their summer tour. "After 31 years, I get a fax," says Betts, 56, a founding member of the southern-fried rockers. A source close to the band says that "he's out of control." "Absolutely false," replies Betts. "I don't have any abuse problem." But his bandmates—including Gregg Allman, whose own substance-abuse struggles have been well documented—insist they're just trying to help him.

Pop Quiz

with Dennis Miller

In what sounded like the premise for a Saturday Night Live skit, ABC last week announced that ranting comic Dennis Miller, 46, will join Al Michaels and Dan Fouts on a revamped Monday Night Football, starting with the Hall of Fame game on July 31. The response from critics, fans and stunned bystanders amounted to a collective " 'What's up with that?" To find out, Scoop joined a telephone press conference with the former SNL star.

Well, what do you know about football?

I have a certain trivia knowledge. I've watched it my whole life. I'm going to try to stay in the background and ask questions a fan might ask. I hope to bring some humor to it.

Did you audition with a game tape?

We used the Zapruder film. [He actually used the tape from last season's Buffalo-Tennessee playoff game.]

Do you think the fans will understand your more arcane references?

I'm going to be somewhat arcane, but the references will be within the football realm. I can't change who I am.

Plan to mix politics and football?

I think I'm there to escape politics. The reason I watch football is to get away from that.

You remind some of Howard Cosell.

Cosell is, in the history of sports broadcasting, the most stunning talent we've had.

So you're OK with that?

You're talking to a guy who followed [years later] Chevy Chase doing Weekend Update. I've learned over the years there's always going to be guys who did it the best. I wasn't Chevy, I'm not going to be Howard.

You said you want to stay in the background. Have you ever?

I meant I'm not going to tell you what it's like to be on that field having guys careen around you at the speed of light. Am I going to comment on the game? Yeah. Am I going to tell you what I think about certain players, strategies, coaches, refs? Yeah. Am I going to tell you what it's like to take a hit from somebody like L.T. [Lawrence Taylor]? No.

You really think this will work?

At the end of the year it will either play or it won't play. I think it will play. I'm going to do all the prep work I can. Before the first couple of games, I'm going to shut my eyes a little, then I'm just going to go out there and wing it. I'm going to try to please me—and hope that pleases other people.

ON THE BLOCK

LINDA'S LAKESIDE LAIR
Although she has long since retired her big-shouldered, fabulously sequined Dynasty duds, Linda Evans (a.k.a. Krystle Carrington) still lives in high style. The actress resides in a 10,900-sq.-ft. Mediterranean-style mansion near Tacoma, Wash. But now she has decided to sell (asking price: $2.5 million) and relocate to a home that requires less maintenance. Her lakeside estate, named Villa Madera, features a heated greenhouse and rows of cherry trees. The mansion's most extravagant touch? Detailed, hand-painted ceilings that took an Italian artist over a year to complete.

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