November 17, 1995 at 05:00 AM EST

BY DALAI: This month’s Casino reunites director Martin Scorsese with his GoodFellas stars Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro, but just imagine the possibilities if they get cast in Scorsese’s next film. ”[My new] project is about the life of the Dalai Lama,” says Scorsese. ”That history is something that has fascinated me and others for years.” The film, which will chronicle the life of the exiled Tibetan leader, is titled Kundun and is currently being scripted by E.T. screenwriter Melissa Matheson. A spokeswoman for the director confirms that the project will ”hopefully begin shooting next year, but nothing is definite.” And will Hollywood’s most celebrated Dalai disciple, Richard Gere, serve as a technical adviser? Says the spokeswoman: ”No one’s been hired for anything yet.” —Cindy Pearlman

PETER PRINCIPLE: Call it Chicago Hope-less. First, Emmy-winning Hope star Mandy Patinkin announced he was leaving the CBS drama. Now Peter MacNicol, who plays hospital counsel Alan Birch, says he too will quit. MacNicol’s exit stems from Chicago creator-writer David Kelley‘s decision to write fewer shows. ”David and I enjoyed a symbiosis I’ve never experienced before,” says the actor. ”In his absence, I make less sense. How many times can you go into a courtroom with a malpractice suit and make it compelling?” CBS won’t confirm rumors that MacNicol’s character will be killed off. Says a network spokeswoman, ”Why can’t we just have some fun and let the audience watch?” —Jessica Shaw

SHORTY STUFF: Get Shorty‘s gangster-turned-filmmaker Chili Palmer notes, ”Rough business, this movie business.” Not true, says Shorty director Barry Sonnenfeld, despite his rocky search for a leading man. ”I’d really wanted Danny DeVito to play Chili,” Sonnenfeld says of the character now played by John Travolta. ”He’s the most self-confident person I’ve ever met, and this movie is about self-confidence.” When DeVito had time only for a smaller part, CAA suggested Sonnenfeld consider its clients Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman, who both said no. Did this lead Sonnenfeld to Shorty‘s conclusion that the movies are like organized crime? No way, he says. ”Movies are the single most disorganized profession there is.” —Ari Karpel

OVER EASY: Betcha didn’t know this about Courtney Love: She can sling hash with conviction. As a waitress in March’s Feeling Minnesota, starring Keanu Reeves, Love filmed her scenes at a pancake house in Crystal, Minn., where real-life customers did double takes. Says Stacey Sher of Jersey Films, the movie’s producer, ”Someone saw her and said, ‘That waitress looks like Courtney Love.”’ She was so convincing, she even snagged tips from patrons. Another revelation about Hole’s lead singer? Sher says she was ”terrific. Very professional. A nice person when you get to know her.” —Cindy Pearlman

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