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Morning Report

Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press.

May 03, 1997|SHAUNA SNOW

MOVIES

'Tonight Show' Bound?: Actor Eddie Murphy was stopped by police in West Hollywood early Friday morning after allegedly picking up a known transsexual prostitute at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Formosa Avenue. However, Murphy, who was driving his Toyota Land Cruiser, "was apparently not involved in any criminal activity and was not detained," police said. The passenger, Atisone Seiuli, 20, was taken into custody on a warrant for prostitution. Murphy's publicist, Paul Bloch, said Friday that Murphy was "simply trying to be a good Samaritan. He did nothing wrong here. He's surprised and shocked by all this." Murphy, Bloch said, had been driving to a newsstand in the area--the closest one he knew near his home, Bloch said. "He drove himself . . . and he saw a person on the street and was concerned. He stopped to ask if the person needed help and the person asked for a ride home. . . . He was trying to be a good Samaritan." Bloch added that Murphy frequently stops on the street for homeless people to help them and give them money.

Cannes Update: The Cannes Film Festival on Friday officially pulled Zhang Yimou's "Keep Cool" from the May 7-19 festival, saying that a copy of the film "is not available." Earlier this week, the Chinese government banned Zhang's film from Cannes, but gave no official explanation. The festival also announced two new competition entrants: "The Serpent's Kiss" by Philippe Rousselot and "Al Massir (Destiny)," by Youssef Chahine.

TELEVISION

Appealing to Fox: Backers of the twentysomething relationship show "Relativity," which has languished on ABC in unfortunate time slots on Saturdays (date night for the show's targeted viewers) and Mondays (opposite Fox's "Melrose Place"), are requesting that the Fox network pick up the show from rival ABC. The "Save Relativity Team," a grass-roots group of fans who had earlier bombarded ABC executives with mailed cans of ravioli, the favorite food of one of the show's characters, on Friday purchased a full-page ad in the trade publication Daily Variety, addressed to Fox Entertainment President Peter Roth. The ad--paid for in part through the group's T-shirt sales--notes Fox's past steadfastness with "The X-Files" and "Party of Five," both of which began with low ratings but became hits. The fan group then suggests that "Relativity" would likewise "grow under the creative guidance of Fox's programming and marketing expertise." ABC has yet to officially decide on "Relativity's" fate for next season. Twentieth Century Fox Television, which produces the show, said Friday that there had been no offers from other networks or cable outlets.

Beach House '97: MTV is taking over the former Marineland property in Rancho Palos Verdes to turn it into "a fantasy seaside resort" that it's calling "Motel California." The cable network's more than 500 hours of original summer programming will originate from the 193-acre site. Among the shows to be produced there are 30 episodes of the dating show "Singled Out."

First Directors Club: Actress Goldie Hawn will move behind the camera to make her directorial debut on a TV movie for cable's TNT. "Hope," a coming-of-age story about a teenage girl whose world is invaded by racism and hypocrisy, is scheduled to premiere in October. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tommy Lee Jones previously made their directorial debuts on TNT films.

STAGE

Temporary Ailment: Linda Hunt, who was to have played Lady Bracknell in "The Importance of Being Earnest" at La Jolla Playhouse, where the play will open on May 18, has withdrawn from the role. In a statement issued Friday, Hunt said, "I have felt it wise to withdraw from the production due to a temporary heart rhythm problem that can be righted with medication after some adjustment period. This is too critical a time in the rehearsal process, as we move into tech and previews, for me to be functioning at less than 100%. This is a wonderful production and my disappointment at leaving the company is enormous." Christine Estabrook, who was already cast as Miss Prism, will replace Hunt, and Ursula Meyer will play Miss Prism. Estabrook's casting "should be a treat for all," Hunt said.

QUICK TAKES

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