RUMOR CONTROL Hey, remember the news last month about a fourth ”Godfather” movie with Leonardo DiCaprio? Well, pretend you never heard it. Now Variety is saying that the Hollywood Reporter story had been news to Francis Ford Coppola, who told Variety he wasn’t remotely interested in doing another installment. Insiders reportedly knew it was hooey because the original story said Mario Puzo was involved, and the author was already in the failing health that lead to his death last week.
REEL DEALS Drew Barrymore is Fox’s favorite pixie, with the studio renewing its production deal with her for two more years. Barrymore’s first production for Fox was the hit ”Never Been Kissed,” although her next project, ”Charlie’s Angels,” is being done at Columbia…. Director Mimi Leder (”Deep Impact”) is taking on ”Radio Loco,” a comedy about a man who starts up a radio station at an insane asylum to entertain the inmates. Considering this is the precise result of combining ”Patch Adams” and ”Good Morning Vietnam,” can a Robin Williams casting be far behind? And, more importantly, can that be stopped?
BIRTHS Cindy Crawford, 33, has given birth to a son, Presley Walker Gerber. Baby and mother are doing fine.
DEATHS Mark Sandman, the 46-year-old lead singer of the rock trio Morphine, died of a heart attack Saturday night in the middle of a concert in Italy. Sandman didn’t have any existing heart problems that anyone knew of, according to the Boston Herald.
CASTING Leelee Sobieski (”Joan of Arc”) is officially a teen star, now that she’s signed up for her first slasher flick. She’ll star in ”Squelch,” the tale of a trio of young road-trippers who are terrorized by a trucker they meet over a CB. Fortunately this movie should be more ”Duel” than ”Urban Legend” because the director is John Dahl (”The Last Seduction”)…. Next season Barbara Hershey will enter the revolving door that is the ”Chicago Hope” cast, helping fill the void left by the departures of Christine Lahti, Eric Stoltz, Peter Berg, and Vondie Curtis-Hall…. Robert Pastorelli (Eldin the painter in ”Murphy Brown”) will play Glenn Close’s lover in the Gold Rush-era CBS TV movie ”The Ballad of Lucy Whipple.”
STOLEN Sonic Youth‘s rented Ryder truck with all of its instruments and gear was stolen over the weekend in Orange County, California, and the band is offering a reward through a personal plea. “We are f—ed, both for the show tonight (July 4) and for shows upcoming this week in Austin and Santa Fe,” guitarist Lee Renaldo wrote in an email sent out to fans. “All the gear we’ve used to write our last few LPs worth of stuff, instruments used for songs old and new, which if truly lost will mean those songs will be lost forever.” All of the missing booty (including guitars, bass, and amps) has the band’s name on it. Anyone with information about the theft should call the band’s New York rep, Aaron Blitzstein, at 212-343-2314, or email the band.
LEGAL TROUBLE When 2 Live Crew’s Luther Campbell says ”Down in front,” for God’s sake, sit down. The rapper was charged with aggravated battery on Monday after allegedly smashing a bottle of Jack Daniels against the face of a man who was blocking his view at a show late the previous night at a Miami Beach club. The victim, Mathieu Fabrice, walked away with cuts and a possible broken nose.