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Take One

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Patience was short and tempers were long on the Wilmington, Del., set of No Mercy, starring Kim Basinger and Richard Gere. When four extra days of shooting were ordered, Basinger locked herself in her hotel room. A publicist for Tri-Star pictures insisted that Basinger had the tummy flu, but one colleague says the actress had a bad case of dislike for the film from the beginning. “She spent three-quarters of the production handcuffed to Gere and being dragged through swamps waist high in mud like a hog,” says an insider. “Ever since the film wrapped, she would say about each and every unpleasant thing, ‘It beats [making] No Mercy.’ ” The shoot must have seemed like an eternity to Basinger…or at least 9½ Weeks.

Captain Yossarian will finally receive his military medal of valor, but there’s a catch: It’s 25 years late. That’s how long it has taken the U.S. Air Force to show its appreciation to Joseph Heller and his tour de air force, Catch-22. Ceremonies honoring the book will take place Oct. 3 and 4 at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, and Heller, 63, will be on hand. In fact, the author finds the salute quite sane. “Catch-22’s no more antiwar or antimilitary than other novels. What it’s critical of is dishonesty, personal corruption, ambition—what any decent person would be critical of. Almost all the officers do their jobs well.”

Visual effects wizard John (Star Wars) Dykstra was summoned by the well-traveled Shirley MacLaine to help out on her autobiographical movie, Out on a Limb. The actress wanted to show herself leaving her physical body and traveling above earth, where she hovers for a while and checks out her home planet. “We moved in very close to her eyes as she goes into a trance,” explains Dykstra. “Then we pulled back, showing her going through the roof, up above the river and through cotton clouds.” Dykstra said MacLaine had to keep her eyes still—without blinking—for one minute. “None of the stand-ins lasted as long as she did,” he says.

The folks at Columbia Pictures TV are trying to break into little Soleil Moon Frye’s piggy bank, it seems. On Aug. 22, Columbia filed an $80 million breach of contract lawsuit against the 10-year-old star of Punky Brewster. The studio alleges that the pixie star, who earns more than $330,000 a year, refused to perform voice-overs for her show and that she tried to renegotiate her contract. “Soleil was very upset and crying when she heard,” reports her publicist, Jeff Ballard. Moon Frye was told of the suit when she arrived home from Camp Rainbow in Malibu, a camp for children with cancer, where she had been working as a volunteer.

British rock singer Michael Des Barres of Power Station lay in bed with Bianca Jagger thinking mostly reflective thoughts. The two were filming Night-flyers, a feature, due out in February, about a telepathic man on a mission to contact aliens. Both Des Barres and Jagger (who was later replaced) paid more attention to their looks than their lines. “After every take Bianca checked the mirror,” recalls Des Barres, 38. “And I thought I was the vainest person in the world.”

For the two-part British TV documentary In Private and Public: The Prince and Princess of Wales, royal favorite Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits was commissioned to compose and perform the score. Segments of the special will air in the U.S. on ABC’s 20/20 on Sept. 25.

St. Elsewhere’s Howie Mandel will star in United Artists’ Face of the ’80s, a comedy about modeling. Mandel, not exactly known for his drop-dead looks, will play an ordinary guy who falls into a modeling career. The Canadian-born Mandel, by the way, received one vote in a recent poll of 1,500 Canadians regarding their choice for prime minister. “Personally, I think the polls are silly,” Howie responded. “If you look at the cold, hard facts, you’ll find I’m actually doing much better than that.”