October 06, 1986 12:00 PM

Director Marshall Mason wants to get his movie The Front Runner off the starting line. But casting problems have delayed the feature, which is based on Patricia Warren’s novel about a macho college-track coach who becomes attracted to his openly gay star runner. Many actors and their agents keep running from the lead role, although Olympic diver Greg Louganis has been cast as a straight team member, Grant (Ryan’s Hope) Show as the team star and Matt Lattanzi as a gay runner. “We never expected the problems we’ve experienced in casting the lead,” says Mason. “The only reason I can give is the AIDS situation.” Harrison Ford was one of the few actors who passed for legitimate reasons. According to Mason, “He’s booked for the next 82 years.”

Artist Keith Haring, who was fined last week for painting an unauthorized anti-crack mural on a Manhattan handball court, had reason to huddle with onetime LSD guru Timothy Leary at a New York nightclub opening. But their talk had nothing to do with drugs. Haring has agreed to contribute graphics for a computer software program that Leary has written as a spin-off of William Gibson’s sci-fi book, Neuromancer. The program, available next spring, will allow hackers to write their own movie using Gibson’s characters and setting. They can check their talents later against Hollywood’s; a studio version of Neuromancer will be released in 1987.

Diana Ross’s three daughters got more than new books and clothes when they started the semester at their superchic Swiss prep school, Le Rosey. They gave up their father’s name—Silberstein—and enrolled under the name Ross. “Of course I love my father,” one of the girls told her friends. “But there was too much confusion.” Things still remain somewhat complicated. Their mother’s new husband, multimillionaire businessman Arne Naess, brought his three children into the household and they of course bear Dad’s last name.

After directing the expansive megabomb Heaven’s Gate, Michael Cimino is sparing no expense to make sure that The Sicilian, starring Christopher Lambert, stays within budget. On location in Sicily to shoot Mario Puzo’s tale of the handsome Sicilian Robin Hood, Salvatore Giuliano, Cimino has operated under a comparatively modest budget. He has not, however, completely renounced his extravagances: Ten Arabian-bred horses and four wranglers were flown in from Spain. Grumbled one cast member of Cimino, “He is demanding, imposes impossible hours and does not accept the minimum error on anyone’s part.” But none of this bothered Lambert, who embraced his leading role as Giuliano so completely that he sometimes wore his costume and makeup around town to look like a real Sicilian.

On the heartbeat: Getting over his fall from Grace (Jones), megahunk Dolph Lundgren is romancing Missing Persons lead singer Dale Bozzio, who has done some splitting of her own. Bozzio left the group to pursue a solo singing career…

Rob Lowe, appearing on a French cable-TV show with Jim Belushi to promote their movie About Last Night, responded to a question about Princess Stephanie by saying, “We both want to marry her.” Presumably, he didn’t know her at the time and it was all just a joke. No longer. Devoted only a few weeks ago to race car driver Nelson Piquet, Stephanie now seems to prefer the Lowe profile. The couple apparently met through friends in Paris. Since then Rob has spent a lot of time at Steph’s apartment, accompanied her for a performance of songs from her new album and helped her interview Rod Stewart for Paris Match magazine. One press agent from Rob’s film says simply that “they’ve become really good friends.” But Stephanie’s record producer, Yves Roze, put it more directly: “It’s l’amour.”

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