Jack Nicholson, Sidney Lumet, and John Woo made headlines this week

Entertainment news for August 2, 1991

From women in Hollywood to the marketing of professional athletes to date rape and abortion, Ron Reagan Jr. plans to cover lots of territory with his topic-driven syndicated TV talk show, The Ron Reagan Show, which premieres Aug. 12 on 103 stations nationally. But he doesn’t think much of his medium. ”The last thing TV people want is alert minds. They want you to wander around in a sort of etherized daze squirting Cheez Whiz with one hand and waxing your underarms with the other.” Then again, Reagan adds, ”We voted for George Bush and Dan Quayle, and we watch things like Punky Brewster, so what are you to think? But we’re not given much choice. If it’s between voting for Bush or Dukakis, or watching Punky Brewster or Mr. Belvedere, what are you going to do?”

Will Jack Nicholson show up in writer-director Blaine Novak’s new film, Blue Champagne? ”We’ll see,” shrugs Novak, but word on the street is that Nicholson, in addition to moral support, has also been instrumental financially. Why does Jack care? Cast in principal roles are his 28-year-old daughter, Jennifer Nicholson, and Rebecca Broussard, the mother of the actor’s year-old baby. It might also help to know that Novak received an ”assistance” credit on The Two Jakes. And his producers, Alan Finkelstein and Richard Sawyer, were, respectively, Jakes‘ associate producer and production designer. ”I’m a mediocre writer who got lucky,” insists Novak. The psychological romance, about a jilted young woman who finds she can control neither her jealousy nor her taste for revenge, began production last week.

Sidney Lumet, noted director of tough, ethnic New York dramas (Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon), is making a movie for the Mouse. Disney’s Hollywood Pictures (in conjunction with Propaganda Films and Sanddollar Productions) will produce Lumet’s next film, Close to Eden, a thriller that will star Melanie Griffith. Written by Robert J. Avrech (Body Double), it’s a culture-clasher about a foulmouthed Irish detective (Griffith) who goes undercover in a Hasidic Brooklyn community to find a killer. Eden begins filming in late September.

Hong Kong filmmaker John Woo wowed the critics two years ago with his stylish, violent thriller, The Killer. There was talk of a Hollywood deal for Woo, but when the dust cleared, it was his movie that was optioned. Filmmakers Walter Hill and David Giler are adapting the story of an assassin who accidentally blinds a nightclub singer during what was supposed to be his last hit. Filled with remorse, he continues taking work in order to pay for the woman’s restorative operation. Tri-Star will film it next year, with Hill directing and Richard Gere under consideration for the title role.