Denzel Washington, Nirvana, and Bob Dylan made headlines this week

Denzel Washington is preparing to follow his Malcolm X duties with Above the Rim, the story of a failed basketball player and a young boy who idolizes him. Written by Barry Michael Cooper (New Jack City), it’s being developed by the newly formed movie division of Azoff Productions for filming in mid-1992.
Andie MacDowell, Liam Neeson, and Olympia Dukakis will scale new heights in Ruby Cairo, a romantic comedy due out late this spring, thanks, in part, to Richard Lund, director of photography for independent Pacific Studios. Lund snapped a photo from the graffiti-etched top of Egypt’s Great Pyramid that will be used as a 27-by-110-foot backdrop on a Hollywood set. The first person in more than 15 years to get permission to shoot from the monolith, Lund found the night he camped on the pyramid’s slope to be less than the sleep of pharaohs: ”You could hear all of Cairo from up there, and at midnight was the evening call to prayer. And then the wind, bats, and mosquitoes were horrendous.”

Island Records recently put an X over a frontal-nudity shot of bassist Adam Clayton on the cover of U2’s new Achtung Baby. But an un-Xed penis hasn’t at all hurt the sales of Nirvana’s Nevermind, whose cover features a shot of an underwater baby in the buff. In little over a month, the album by the Seattle-area alternative rock band has sold 1.2 million copies, thanks to MTV and album-rock radio. Of the cover, Geffen head of sales Eddie Gilreath says, ”I’m sure it raised a few eyebrows, but everyone realizes it’s just a cute picture of a baby.” The band, currently on tour in Europe, returns to the U.S. this month to hit the road with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Booking Bob Dylan for the 10th anniversary special of Late Night With David Letterman was a coup, but there’s a glitch. The special was scheduled to be taped at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at Radio City Music Hall. But Dylan, an observant Jew, can’t work before the Sabbath ends at sundown. According to a staffer, taping will now start at 4 p.m., and rehearsals will take place before the Sabbath begins at sundown Friday. The grizzled folksinger didn’t request changes, says the staffer, ”we were just trying to be nice.” He’ll join Paul Shaffer’s Super Band (possibly including Bruce Hornsby) and Biff Henderson’s Golf Cart of Death. The special will air by early February.

Leonard Klady, Karen Bruno, David Brown, Jess Cagle