By Peter Castro
September 11, 1989 12:00 PM

MEL GIBSON: DANES TO BE HAMLET

SUSAN SEIDELMAN: CUTS TO THE CHASE

KEY NOTES ADDRESSED: It’s too late for pop singer and pianist DEBBIE GIBSON to actually dine with her dream date, but she knows just who it would be. “It’s LIBERACE,” says Gibson, whose latest album, Electric Youth, sold more than 2 million copies. “My grandparents took me to see Liberace for my seventh birthday. I went to critique his piano playing. He actually hit quite a few wrong notes, but he was such a great showman that it didn’t matter. In fact I remember I was studying Chopin’s Minute Waltz at the time, and he played it, and I turned to my grandmother and said, Hey, he hit an A instead of an A flat,’ and she said, ‘Oh, shut up and watch the show.’ ”

A RECALL TO ARMS: Tanks for the memories is what former Secretary of State and ex-NATO Commander AL HAIG must have been humming to himself while watching The Package, the new military-political thriller with GENE HACKMAN and JOANNA CASSIDY. “I sat far enough back in the movie that I didn’t get powder burns,” says Haig. “It made me nostalgic for arms talks and violence—it’s a great dialectic.”

LET IT BE: Former Beatle RINGO STARR recently said of his bandmate JOHN LENNON, “Sometimes I laugh onstage, thinking Johnny’s watching.” Does PAUL McCARTNEY ever share the same feeling? “I think about him a lot but I never get the feeling he’s watching,” says Paul, who kicks off a world tour Nov. 27 in Los Angeles. “That doesn’t mean I don’t love him. When I’m writing a song, I will kind of talk to him mentally and think, ‘No, he wouldn’t have liked that. I’d better cut that.’ When I was writing ‘Hey Jude,’ I played him the tape and got to the part, ‘The movement you need is on your shoulder,’ and I said, ‘I’ll be changing that, it’s a stupid line.’ And he said, ‘You won’t. It’s the best line in it, man.’ I would have dumped that line.”

TO DARE OR NOT TO DARE: Director FRANCO ZEFFI-RELLI, whose masterful Romeo and Juliet appeared way back in 1968, is set to shoot his film version of Hamlet early next year in Scotland. And when he does, he’ll find his star, MEL GIBSON, is fully prepared to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous critics. “I’m sure I’m going to get kicked around for it,” Gibson told London’s Daily Express. “Hey, with Hamlet you’re setting yourself up for people to throw things at you and have them say: ‘How dare he?’ But I don’t care what they say.” Gibson’s only concern? “I’ve got to quit smoking before I do the part; it requires a lot of lung power.”

TABLE STALK: Like the petulant, gum-popping title character in her new film, Cookie, director SUSAN SEIDELMAN had teen tussles that were homegrown. “I was a sort of rebellious teenager,” says Seidelman. “[Like Cookie] I had a strong-willed father, and we didn’t get along then. It was the late ’60s, and if I had worn my skirt any shorter, it wouldn’t have been on my body. I had so much eye makeup, I could have imitated a raccoon. There’s a moment in the movie that was a recurring episode in my life: when the father chases Cookie around the dining room table. My father chased me around ours while my mother screamed, ‘I can’t stand this!’ It would end when he would get exhausted, clutch his heart, say he was having a heart attack and drop down in the chair. I could always outrun him.” They get along just fine now, thanks.

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