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The Insider

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AU REVOIR, JACK?

Jack Nicholson is going on hiatus. According to a source close to Nicholson, the 54-year-old actor will take a two-year vacation after he completes his starring assignment for director Danny DeVito in the movie Hoffa, about vanished union leader Jimmy Hoffa, which starts shooting in January.

Nicholson hasn’t grown tired of making movies, says the source. “It’s simply that he wants to see his children begin the process of growing up.” Nicholson and actress Rebecca (The Two Jakes) Broussard have one child together, daughter Lorraine, 21 months, and are expecting another in February.

As to where Nicholson intends to spend this break, the source says that friends of the couple “are presently house hunting for them in the South of France.”

BARKIN IN, WINGER OUT

We were surprised to learn that Ellen Barkin, and not Debra Winger, will costar with Robert De Niro in This Boy’s Life, a movie about a divorced woman in the 1950s who travels with her son to the state of Washington and settles down with an abusive man.

Because of Winger’s reputation for being strong-willed when she’s on a movie set, we automatically assumed she fell out of This Boy’s Life over control issues. But Art Linson, the film’s producer, assures us that the problem was scheduling conflicts: Winger is in Florida shooting Wilder Napalm, and Linson says that project and This Boy’s Life “would have overlapped.”

Linson says the depiction of Winger in the press as a control freak is unfair. “Debra is smart and has a strong point of view, and I don’t think she should be attacked for that,” Linson says, adding that with Barkin, “we have an actress with a point of view as strong as anyone’s.”

CADILLAC FRACAS

Forget how upset Bette Midler is with Geraldo Rivera for naming her in his kiss-and-tell autobiography. It seems the Divine Miss M is also carrying around some anger for Bruce Springsteen.

In the December issue of Movieline, Midler tells writer Lawrence Grobel that Springsteen is “another stiff” who refused, back in the early ’80s, to allow her to release his song “Pink Cadillac” prior to his own recording of it in 1984. Midler contends that Springsteen put the kibosh on the deal even though his then producer, Chuck Plotkin, had given her permission to record it and she had spent $25,000 doing the track. “…[Springsteen] said I couldn’t sing it [because] it wasn’t a girl’s song,” complains Midler.

A Springsteen representative tells us it was an “innocent mistake,” adding that Plotkin “did not have the authority to give Midler the song. Bruce wanted to record his song first.”

Whether it’s a “girl’s song” or not, Natalie Cole subsequently recorded “Pink Cadillac” in 1988 and made the charts.