Robert De Niro, Harrison Ford, and Sandra Bullock made headlines this week

Break out the neck bolts. Robert De Niro, hot, er, cold off the flop Mad Dog and Glory, has officially signed on the jagged line to play the large-domed monster in TriStar’s Frankenstein. Kenneth Branagh, who costars as the twisted scientist, will also direct the winter ’94 film. How did De Niro ace out Andy Garcia and Gerard Depardieu, who were also interested in starring in the creature feature? ”Andy just read the script because he’s Kenneth’s friend,” says Garcia’s spokesman. Depardieu, meanwhile, was deemed ”too foreign,” according to a source close to the production. —Melina Gerosa

The recent fall fashion week in New York City was a dud — unless you were a celebrity-watcher. Director Jim Jarmusch popped up at Anna Sui, Boy George stopped by Todd Oldham, and Dustin Hoffman checked out Ralph Lauren. But all eyes were on Roseanne Arnold, who attended Isaac Mizrahi’s collection with Roseanne guest star Sandra Bernhard. Arnold demonstrated her appetite for style by furiously scribbling notes in her program and getting chummy with model Linda Evangelista. ”She thought the collection was great,” says a Mizrahi spokeswoman, ”but she didn’t order anything.” Guess it’s hard to sling ”loose meat” in haute couture. —Giselle Benatar

Reading, writing, and — rapping? A new extension course at UCLA, ”The Rap and Street Music Phenomenon,” promises to give budding rappers the straight dope on the business of hip-hop. Taught by Evan ”The E-Man” Forster, label director for Tuff Break/ A&M Records, the course features lectures by Heavy D. and a discussion titled ”The Life of a Rap Star.” Says Forster, ”Rap has become a $2 billion industry. This course is designed to show street kids how to make a move into the business.” What’s next-a doctoral program taught by Professor Griff? —Heather Keets

Just three days into the filming of Sly Stallone‘s futuristic thriller, Demolition Man, Lori Petty (A League of Their Own) was replaced by Sandra Bullock (The Vanishing). Why was Petty, a rising star since her perky League performance last summer, let go? ”Warner Bros. wasn’t all that happy with her dailies,” says a production source. ”They felt they could do better with someone else.” Petty pins the blame on bad chemistry between her and Stallone: ”Sly and I were like oil and water.” —Jeffrey Wells and Heidi Siegmund

Chalk it up to the supersuccess of Whitney Houston‘s ”I Will Always Love You” from The Bodyguard — Hollywood is in hot pursuit of melodic remakes. For Sleepless in Seattle, the Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan romantic comedy due June 25, director Nora Ephron wants to use The Lettermen‘s 1961 hit, ”When I Fall in Love,” though she’s having a hard time finding the perfect duo to cover the song. ”We think Celine Dion will do it,” Ephron says. ”We had our eye on Stevie Wonder, but he wasn’t interested. Worse comes to worse I’ll just use the Nat ”King” Cole version, and I’ll be very happy.” —MG

The normally reclusive Harrison Ford, in Chicago to film Warner Bros.’ The Fugitive, is taking the Windy City by storm. He dropped by Mayor Richard Daley’s office for a photo op: ”Suddenly a lot of secretaries came to see the mayor on pressing business,” says administrative assistant Amy Anzevino. Ford, who plays the David Janssen doctor-on-the-lam role in the movie version of the ’60s TV series, also did rounds with Dr. Jim McKinsey at the University of Chicago Medical Center. There, however, the actor didn’t cause as much of a stir. ”Some of our elderly patients didn’t recognize him,” McKinsey says. ”Later they’d tell their kids, ‘I had a visit today from some actor named Harrison Ford. Ever hear of him?”’ —Cindy Pearlman