Blake Edwards’ comedy A Fine Mess seems to be living up to its title, at least in the editing room. A much-publicized scene in which co-stars Ted Dan-son and Howie Mandel carry a piano up a flight of stairs, à la Laurel and Hardy in the 1932 classic The Music Box, has been cut. “That scene was the genesis of the whole movie,” says film producer Tony Adams. “But the story line got so far away from it, the scene didn’t fit in at all.” Also scrapped was the initial ending in which Danson abandons his love interest, Maria Conchita Alonso, in what is supposed to be the Chilean desert (really Utah’s Monument Valley). Now they ride off into the sunset together—or at least their doubles do. To save money, the producers used stand-ins and shot the scene in Palmdale, Calif., 35 miles from L.A. Assuming there are no further changes, the film, due out last Christmas, will be released in May.
Monkey business on the set of Project X, a suspense drama starring Matthew (WarGames) Broderick, nearly delayed the start of filming. The movie, about a top-secret military training program, features 14 chimpanzees. One, named Karanja, needed a little dental work, but two hours before surgery he ran away off into the woods. “Nobody has ever run out on me before,” says Karanja’s dentist, Dr. Robert Turner of Palo Alto, Calif., who had flown to L.A. to perform the procedure. Karanja reappeared several days before shooting was to begin, perhaps having heard through the grapevine that the producers had lined up a Florida chimp to replace him. Karanja kept his second appointment with Dr. Turner and got his old job back.
According to Patti Davis, budget constraints are influencing her choices for the roles of the President and First Lady in the TV movie version of Home Front, her autobiographical novel. “Since we couldn’t afford Paul Newman, I always envisioned Mike Farrell as the father,” says Davis. As for mom, “Lee Remick, maybe.”
Family ties are a mixed blessing for Isabella (White Nights) Rossellini, the product of the union of Ingrid Bergman and director Roberto Rossellini. Though still mulling an offer to play the lead in a CBS movie, Ingrid Bergman: My Story, Rossellini is considering doing a remake of the 1956 film Anastasia, which earned her mother a Best Actress Oscar. The prospect of playing Anastasia “is so ridiculous, it’s wonderful,” says Rossellini. “The movie is all about problems of identity. With parents as famous as mine, I’ve had identity problems all my life.”
Hollywood’s barber to the stars, “Little” Joe Torrenueva, whose clients include Robert Wagner, Kirk Douglas and Emilio Estevez, may have a recurring role on ABC’s Spenser: For Hire if the series is renewed. Torrenueva has appeared on two episodes this season as the manager of the gym where Spenser (Robert Urich) works out. During filming, Torrenueva says, “Urich told me, ‘If you blow your line, I want a free haircut.’ I didn’t blow it.” Good thing. Paying customers shell out $95 for a snip from Little Joe….
In the new Polish film White Dragon, wholesome, blond Dee Wallace plays an evil brunette sorceress who turns into a 90-year-old hag. Hoping to shed her maternal image once and for all, Wallace was nonetheless pleased when a Polish customs agent recalled her most famous role. He waved her on through the line, exclaiming, “Mama E.T.!”