The week's top entertainment news

By Cindy Pearlman
Updated March 22, 1996 at 05:00 AM EST

SALT ‘N’ SHERYL: On their fall album, Flavor in Your Ear, Salt ‘N’ Pepa will do more than rap it up. According to Cheryl ”Salt” James, the disc will blend ”live music with an edge, some rock & roll, and some cool, smooth boy-toy R&B.” But the real buzz is about the collaboration between the street-smart sisters and the ’90s answer to Joni Mitchell, Sheryl Crow. The ”All I Wanna Do” singer lends her voice to ”I Can’t Breathe,” a song about prejudice penned by James and cohort Sandra ”Pepa” Denton. ”We used to see her when we were on tour in Europe,” says James, who adds that the normally poppy-sounding Crow had no problem changing her tune to suit a Salt ‘N’ Pepa disc. ”She sounds soulful.”
Casey Davidson

REUNION DUES: CBS’ Bonnie Hunt isn’t nervous about starring with Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire, which they’re now filming. As it turns out, Hunt is a Cruise-movie veteran. ”I had five lines in Rain Man,” says Hunt, who made her screen debut as the waitress watching Dustin Hoffman miraculously count toothpicks. This time out, Hunt has a more substantial part, playing a ”nemesis” to Cruise’s ruthless sports agent: ”I question every move he makes.” How did Tom, who is getting a reported $20 million for the pic, remember their first teaming? Fuzzily. Says Hunt, ”Tom said, ‘Oh, my gosh, that was you?’ ”
Cindy Pearlman

HAIL MARY: When Mary Tyler Moore goes against type, she goes against type. Last fall she played a tough editor on CBS’ New York News. In the upcoming road movie Flirting With Disaster, she’ll perform even more un-Mary-like acts: stripping down to flimsy underthings (”Why not,” says the 59-year-old actress, ”I stay in shape”); fondling her breasts (”I wish I’d gotten her to touch them even more,” notes Flirting director David O. Russell); and attempting oral sex on costar George Segal (”Anything to create a character,” explains Moore). There was one thing she wouldn’t do. ”I wanted Mary and Dick Van Dyke to play a parody of Rob and Laura Petrie gone wrong,” says Russell, who originally saw Moore as the acidhead mom now played by Lily Tomlin. But Moore insisted on the part of a neurotic Jewish mother. ”I didn’t want to do a parody of myself,” says Moore. ”Now it’s better. I play someone complicated and sexual.” Oh, Rob!
Richard Natale and CP

ETC.: As Alanis Morissette might say, ”Isn’t it ironic?” Sharon Stone, Glenn Close, and others celebrate the history of women in Hollywood in TNT’s documentary The Good, the Bad & the Beautiful, but they neglect to discuss the lack of complex roles today. ”It’s hard to get people to talk about sexism on camera,” notes executive producer Pat Mitchell. ”No one wants to be accused of whining.”