By Peter Castro
October 09, 1989 12:00 PM



LOVE’S LABOUR’S COST: In his new comedy, The Big Picture, director-writer CHRISTOPHER GUEST examines the classic struggle between creative people and the moneymen of Hollywood’s studios—a struggle he endured before shooting. “We encountered huge resistance to making a movie about Hollywood because I think the people in this business find it very difficult to look at themselves,” says Guest, whose movie stars KEVIN BACON and MARTIN SHORT. “Their excuse is, ‘Nobody’s interested in this.’ ” Such battles, Guest says, have been going on throughout the ages. “I’m sure 400 years ago, when William Shakespeare was trying to raise money for his plays, he had to deal with some fat guy across the desk with a bad wig saying, ‘Coriolanus is a piece of s—. Get out of here. Can you make the woman a blond?’ ”

BOTTLE OF THE NETWORK STAR: Actress CLORIS LEACHMAN is into hot water wherever she travels. “I like hotels, but I always travel with a hot-water bottle,” says Leach-man, who plays a hotel’s head housekeeper in the new NBC comedy The Nutt House. “It’s a little, warm, friendly, fat object that you cuddle up to and put anywhere you want. It just fits in all the places you need a body if one isn’t there—well, almost.”

REBOUND FOR GLORY: Newly crowned Miss America DEB-BYE TURNER says she was disappointed by VANESSA WILLIAMS‘s fall from grace in 1984 after nude photos of the first black Miss America were published in Penthouse magazine. “As far as that incident affecting me personally, I don’t know her at all,” says Turner, who is also black. “All I can say is that it’s a shame what she had to go through, it’s a shame that the first black Miss America had to give up her crown, and it’s a shame the pageant is still suffering the reverberations. I think Vanessa is a wonderful example because she has gone on and become successful and has recovered from that incident even better than the pageant itself.”

MAIL BONDING: Now that RICHARD CHAMBERLAIN is starring in the new CBS series Island Son, his crown as monarch of the miniseries passes to BARRY BOSTWICK. Bostwick has starred in eight miniseries (including George Washington and I’ll Take Manhattan) since 1984—apparently none of which were viewed by Chamberlain. “I have a feeling he doesn’t even know who I am,” says Bostwick, who, until Chamberlain sold his house recently, lived just across the street from him in Beverly Hills. “I’m serious. We talk on the street, mostly about architecture, and I think he sort of knows I’m an actor, but we never talk about miniseries. But, I tell you, I’ve been tempted to go into his mailbox and see the scripts he’s getting and take them out before he reads them.”

OVER TROUBLED BRIDGES: Singer ART GARFUNKEL has written his first book of poems, Still Water, but says writing song lyrics is still difficult. “It’s a funny thing about me and songwriting. There’s got to be some kind of block there,” says Garfunkel. “I’m a muscial guy, but I’m surprised that I don’t have a body of songs I’ve written. Now it could be that the proximity of [ex-partner] PAUL SIMON and his talent eclipsed my own potential.” As for striking up another musical partnership, he says, “For years I resisted it, thinking it’d hurt the audience’s feelings. And yet, Rodgers and Hart became Rodgers and Hammerstein. [But] I have an image of a vine in my head, and I don’t know if I could wrap myself around another person as effectively as I did with Paul.”