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Spielberg and Scorsese collaborate on film

Plus, Rick Springfield, Clint Eastwood, Tom Petty, the Sydney Olympics, ”Superman,” and more

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Steven Spielberg
Spielberg: Steve Granitz/Retna

REEL DEAL Break out the biggest marquee around. America’s best known filmmakers — Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese— have agreed to work together on a project. Variety reports that the two have signed on for ”Into the Setting Sun,” which will be produced by Spielberg via DreamWorks and directed by Scorsese. Scribe Bill Wittliff (”Legends of the Fall” and ”The Perfect Storm”) has been tapped to write the screenplay, which centers on the birth and construction of the transcontinental railroad. (Maybe Scorsese can use some of those unemployed extras from ”Kundun.”) The two filmmakers are longtime friends and have often swapped projects in the past. Scorsese’s ”Cape Fear” first belonged to Spielberg; Spielberg’s Oscar winner ”Schindler’s List” was originally Scorsese’s. But they have never before collaborated on a movie. Alternate title, ”Schindler’s Taxi.”

ARREST He still wants ”Jesse’s Girl”? Former pop star cum soap opera sweetheart Rick Springfield was arrested on charges of domestic abuse this week. According to Reuters, police were called to the couple’s home in Malibu by Springfield’s sister in law, and found his wife, Barbara Springthorpe, with injuries on her face and arms. The ex ”General Hospital” heartthrob, 51, was taken into custody and released yesterday after posting $50,000 bail. Springfield says that his sister in law soon realized that the police were not needed, however, and tried twice to cancel the 911 call.

LEGALESE Clint Eastwood has to take a stand for one of his hotels in court. In fact, the actor is accused of owning a structure that is accessible only to those who can stand up, reports the AP. A woman, stricken with MS, who visited Eastwood’s Mission Ranch hotel in Carmel in 1996 claims that bathrooms and other parts of the luxury resort were impossible to access in her wheelchair. ”Obviously I have doubts about that, and that’s why I’m here,” the ”Space Cowboys” creator told reporters at the courthouse. Eastwood says her claims are bogus and that his property has had wheelchair accessible rest rooms since 1988.

NIXED Tom Petty is an official George W. heartbreaker. The presidential candidate was forced to remove Petty’s 1989 hit ”I Won’t Back Down” from his campaign set list, after W. received an angry letter from the singer, Rolling Stone reports. After noticing that the Republicans had coopted his tune, Petty apparently shot off a missive to the would-be prez. ”Any use made by you or your campaign, creates either intentionally or unintentionally, the impression that you and your campaign have been endorsed by Tom Petty, which is not true,” it said. Bush’s cohorts replied, ”We do not agree that the mere playing or use of a particular song at a campaign event connotes any impression, either intentional or unintentional, of endorsement.” Tell that to the guys at Nike.

TV WATCH Good lookin’ men in tights or no, the Sydney Olympics have thus far failed to live up to their usual expectations of a ratings blitz. Maybe it’s that little 15 hour tape delay NBC is forced to use because of the time difference between here and Australia. But altogether the net averaged 16.6 million viewers last week, the lowest for any Olympics since the 1968 summer games in Mexico City. We can hear NBC execs now: ”We KNEW they should have kept the games in the U.S — wasn’t Cleveland dying to host this year?”… The WB is adding another teen superhero to its roster. This time, it’s in the form of a postpubescent ”Superman.” The show will focus on a 15 year old Clark Kent who battles teen angst — you know, zits and curfews — while going after the world’s baddies. We see guest appearances on ”Felicity” and ”Buffy.”

WEB NEWS An Oklahoma State University student may face criminal charges for harboring digital downloads. Police seized the 19 year old music fan’s computer and CD recorder after finding — gasp! — some 1000 music files in his machine. The RIAA had notified the school of unusually high activity on their campus. ”My understanding is that he was maintaining files of all these songs and making them available to others,” said a police officer. Radio DJs, watch your backs!