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Christina Ricci in Casper; Gorbachev in a Wim Wenders movie

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HER BLUE PERIOD: We’ve rarely seen Addams Family Values‘ Christina Ricci in anything but basic black, but all that will change with her role in Casper, the Friendly Ghost. ”I’ll get to play a normal girl,” says the 13-year-old, ”and wear pastels and actual colors. Black is still one of my favorites, but it’s nice to wear mauve or blue once in a while.” Another perk of costarring in the film? ”I won’t have to take my earth-science final (in class) because we start shooting later this month. That’s my hardest class,” says the high school freshman, who will get a takehome test instead. —Cindy Pearlman

IT DOESN’T HOLD WATER: Is there something fishy about seaQuest DSV‘s dolphin? According to animal-rights activists-and they’re happy about it-the press-shy Darwin is not a live mammal but a mechanical one. ”I saw two episodes of the show, and the dolphin was clearly not a live dolphin,” says former Flipper trainer Richard O’Barry, who now heads the Florida-based anticaptivity group The Dolphin Project. Asked about Darwin’s life status, DSV publicist Vic Heutschy says, ”Real dolphins have been used on the set and do appear on the show. I can’t say anything more about the subject of Darwin, which we handle very carefully and respectfully.” O’Barry doesn’t understand the show’s unwillingness to fess up. ”It’s wonderful the alternatives (to live dolphins that) people are coming up with,” he says. ”It’s proof that you don’t need dolphins in captivity. They’re giving us cruelty-free entertainment.” —Daneet Steffens

COMMAND PERFORMANCE: Arranging Mikhail Gorbachev’s return to the world stage—via Wim Wenders’ Faraway, So Close—was not the bureaucratic nightmare some might expect. Wenders simply mailed a note to the Soviet Union’s former secretary general care of the Kremlin. It was forwarded to Gorbachev’s personal assistant, a huge Wenders fan, who then persuaded his employer to do the scene in which an angel reads Gorbachev’s vision of a new world order. Was he difficult to direct? A production source says Wenders gave the statesman notes on the scene, ”but Gorbachev handed the notes back and said, ‘I’ll do something.”’ Gorbachev then spoke eloquently and extemporaneously for 20 minutes—two of which made it into the final cut. That’s showbiz. —Bronwen Hruska

AHOY, DAVEY: Hard to believe, but Chris Elliott’s pirate spoof, Cabin Boy, contains a big-screen first-the feature-film debut of David Letterman. As a favor to Elliott—who had some of his finest career moments as the guy under the seats on Dave’s old show—and the movie’s director, ex-Late Night writer Adam Resnick, Letterman can be spotted playing Old Salt. While the performance is memorable, don’t look for Letterman’s name in the credits. He refused billing at first, later settling on the inexplicable sobriquet Earl Hofert. The host refused requests to explain why he chose that name, but Resnick hazards a guess. ”It’s Dave,” he says. ”He’s goofy.” —BH and Stephen Schaefer

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