L.A. CONFIDENTIAL Joe Eszterhas, the notorious ”Basic Instinct” screenwriter whose last book, ”American Rhapsody,” featured a speaking role for a generally concealed part of President Clinton’s anatomy, has just reupped with Knopf to write two more books, one of which will be a nonfiction skewering of Hollywood. ”It will be a loving book, and a not so loving book,” warns Eszterhas. Adds Random House editor at large Peter Gethers, the tome — reportedly acquired for high six figures and due out in time for the Oscars next year — will combine a memoir with a ”look at how Hollywood has shaped us.” Any more talking appendages? ”There may be a few penises,” Gethers allows, ”but I don’t think they talk.”
ALBRIGHT FUTURE Washington Überlawyer Robert Barnett, fresh off his $8 million sale of Hillary Clinton’s memoirs to Simon & Schuster, is now shepherding publishers through meetings with outgoing Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. No offers have been tendered, but publishers report a more relaxed atmosphere this time around. ”It wasn’t like the Hillary meeting, where we eyeballed our competitors going in and out,” says a top exec. And though one insider described Albright as ”very Secretary of State -ish,” HarperCollins General Books publisher Cathy Hemming says, ”She was very candid and had some wonderful, funny stories to tell — and serious ones, too.”
GROWING PAINS Prince Charles is about to give readers a tour of his labor of love, the Garden at Highgrove, by way of a coffee table book from St. Martin’s Press. And now, according to a source, everyone from Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters to Katie Couric and Mike Wallace is hoping to snag the interview — and guided tour of the estate’s organically cultivated landscape — though right now His Royal Highness has yet to ”decide even if he’s willing to do [the publicity].” Look for the book, at least, in April.