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Flashes: Entertainment News

The top industry news from the week of April 5, 1996

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WIRE TAPPED:
Maybe Pamela Lee should trade her life preserver for a dead bolt. The Baywatch babe was the victim of not one but two thefts on the set of her film Barb Wire. First, according to Lee’s publicist, someone broke into her trailer and pinched a set of photos of her and hubby Tommy Lee. Though the actress said the pix were ”some of my favorites,” they showed ”nothing risqué.” No police action was taken, but Lee got a security guard. However, the guard’s presence failed to prevent the theft of another set of photos, and these were of the barely clad variety. Six Polaroids of Lee sporting biker-style leather wear were stolen from Barb Wire costume designer Rosanna Norton. ”Pam’s dressed in the pictures,” says Norton, ”but the costumes are pretty scanty.” The upshot? Says her spokeswoman, ”Pam’s learned to be more careful now about her personal life and where she puts things.”
Monica Corcoran

HISTORY LESSONS:
The time: a Sunday in Manhattan’s Chelsea area. The place: Monograph Ltd., a bookstore specializing in rare photo books. The scene: A man hidden behind a black scarf and hat, along with three companions, enters. He sits on the floor, ”like a kid,” says store owner Lawrence Lesman, and proceeds to browse through numerous tomes. Maybe the buyer’s choice of books — including Starring Fred Astaire, the mind-reading how-to 13 Steps to Mentalism, and especially Time-Life’s Photographing Children — should have let Lesman know that the strange customer was Michael Jackson. But the real tip-off came when Jackson sent his manager and one bodyguard over to pay the $1,000 tab and to ”haggle over the prices,” according to Lesman. ”I thought he was someone recovering from face surgery,” Lesman adds. ”But he did have a squeaky voice.”
Melina Gerosa

PAGE MAKER:
Director Mary Harron’s got a thing for women on the fringe. The director won kudos at the Sundance Festival for her tale of Factory dweller Valerie Solanas in I Shot Andy Warhol, opening this May. Now she’s taking on the story of Bettie Page, the young Tennesseean who became a girlie-mag staple in the ’50s. ”She’s achieved a huge cult success after decades of obscurity,” says Harron. ”It’s an odd, backwards version of an American dream come true.” Combining archival footage with live action, Harron’s HBO-produced biopic will star and be cowritten by Guinevere Turner (Go Fish), who thinks Page’s story will be reminiscent of another famous sex symbol. ”It’s a reverse Marilyn story,” says Turner. ”Bettie was a bondage queen, but not having the success she wanted kept her innocent.” The film is expected to air sometime in ’97.
Henry Cabot Beck

REGARDING HENRY:
Is the world ready for Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Part Deux? Director John McNaughton’s gruesome, originally X-rated film may seem an unlikely sequel candidate — it opened on only a handful of screens in 1990 and earned less than $1 million — but in the last six years it’s become a hit, both on video and on college campuses. ”It’s persevered by word of mouth,” says the sequel’s first-time director, Chuck Parello, who plans for his low-budget indie to hit theaters on Halloween. ”Henry‘s definitely a cult classic.” And if the recent success of such bleak homicidal-maniac flicks as Seven is any indication, the new Henry (The Shawshank Redemption‘s Neil Giuntoli was given the role after the original film’s Michael Rooker passed) will find an audience. Besides, says Parello, ”Henry gets away scot-free at the end, so why not bring him back? Bad guys are cool.”

ETC.:
When you think of rubber-faced actor Jim Carrey, you don’t usually think cinema verité. But for June’s The Cable Guy, the comedian apparently went Method. ”Jim insisted on having real cable repairmen on the set so he could train with them,” says Guy director Ben Stiller. ”In a couple of days he was a whiz with the wiring. I swear, if my cable ever goes out, I’m just going to have Jim come over and fix it.”