TRUE CONFESSIONS: Got an inquiring mind? Skip the tabloids and get to a concert. Both Whitney Houston and Lyle Lovett can’t say enough about their mates (Bobby Brown and Julia Roberts) on their current U.S. tours. Lovett is introducing his tune ”She’s No Lady [she’s my wife]” by saying, ”This song makes me realize anything I’ve written about marriage or the opposite sex was written in complete ignorance.” At a recent New York gig, Houston went on about how much she loves her husband, and said of motherhood, ”I know why God gave me this voice — to sing to my baby.” What song does she use to lull 5-month-old Bobbi Kristina to sleep? ”’Jesus Loves Me,”’ said Houston. The song is on the platinum-selling Bodyguard soundtrack. Guess ”I’m Your Baby Tonight” is too noisy.
— Melina Gerosa, Kate Meyers
AFFAIR HE REMEMBERS: Warren Beatty and Annette Bening must be thanking their lucky stars for Nora Ephron‘s Sleepless in Seattle. The $90 million hit is like a two-hour promo for the couple’s next project, a remake of 1957’s An Affair to Remember, the Cary Grant-Deborah Kerr classic that gives Sleepless its nostalgic heart. ”Warren has been developing this since the early ’80s,” says director Glenn Gordon Caron (Moonlighting). But the actor is finally scheduled to begin shooting with Bening in August. ”We just want to give it another whack with a modern perspective,” says Caron, who claims his version might borrow from another summer hit. ”We’re going to have dinosaurs in our movie.” In more ways than one.
— Melina Gerosa
PICKING THEIR BRAINS: Last year, Eddie Van Halen told MTV that guitar picking isn’t nearly as hard as brain surgery, which prompted amateur musician Dr. Jim Schumacher, a neurosurgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, to offer him ”neurosurgery lessons” in exchange for a few guitar pointers. Schumacher sent Van Halen a book on brain surgery, but when the doctor and the rocker finally met, on July 9 before a Van Halen gig in Mansfield, Mass., it seems Eddie hadn’t been doing his homework. ”He’s into baseball, so I wanted to quiz him about a player who gets beaned,” says Schumacher. ”He said, ‘I’m ready for the test,’ but then he didn’t know what to do.” Still, Van Halen taught Schumacher a bit about strumming, and the good doctor gave the guitarist surgical gowns for his 2-year-old son, Wolfgang. Says the rocker’s spokesman, ”They had a great time together.” Says the doctor, ”If he studies, next time I’ll let him observe an operation.”
— Harold Goldberg
CLASS ACT: Roseanne is trying to avoid an empty nest. Although actress Sara Gilbert heads to Yale University this fall, you’ll still see plenty of Darlene on the show. Gilbert’s TV mom, Roseanne Arnold, is having sets built in Manhattan and flying in cast members to shoot episodes about Darlene in art college. Producer Al Lowenstein admits the decision is adding a tidy sum to the series’ reported $750,000-per-episode budget, but adds that ”it’s important to keep Darlene’s spirit alive.” Gilbert, who will appear in several episodes, is grateful. ”I can go to school and be an actor. That means the world to me,” she says. Do we smell a spin-off?
— Carolyn Ramsay
JAILHOUSE SHOCK: Oliver Stone has been trying to keep his upcoming Natural Born Killers under wraps, but actors Tom Sizemore and Robert Downey Jr. have broken the code of silence. ”We’ve been shooting in Stateville [a maximum security prison near Joliet, Ill.] and it’s been horrendous,” says Sizemore, who plays a cop caught in the media frenzy raised by a serial-killer couple (Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis). ”The prisoners are mean. They yell and scream X-rated stuff. You know, they want to date us, I think.” While billed as a satire, the movie is very violent. ”We’re filming, and Oliver is getting excited,” says Downey. ”He’s yelling, ‘Take part of his ear off. Yeah, yeah. More blood.”’ Which is what you get from this Stone.
— Cindy Pearlman