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Morning Report

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

August 15, 1997|SHAUNA SNOW

MOVIES

Back to Square One: Looks like Madonna might not get to play Tina Modotti after all. The singer-actress had signed a deal in February to follow up her big-screen turn as "Evita" by portraying Modotti--the Italian-born actress and photographer who became well-known in the 1930s for her political activism in Mexico. But Madonna's deal was with rocker Mick Jagger's Jagged Films, which last month lost the rights to Irish writer Margaret Hooks' biography of Modotti, upon which the film was to be based (Jagger's contract had expired; Hooks said she she chose to take her book elsewhere because she "was not happy with the way [Jagger's company] was taking the material"). The rights have now gone to Mud Pony Productions, which is owned by director Stephen Herek ("Mr. Holland's Opus," "101 Dalmatians"). Hooks said that actress Linda Fiorentino, who bears a resemblance to the late Modotti, has already contacted her about the role. Madonna's spokeswoman, meanwhile, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

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Everybody Must Play: If you feel like you can't escape those summer movie commercials, be prepared--it's going to get worse. PolyGram Films will saturate the airwaves on Sunday when it will simultaneously run the same 90-second ad for its upcoming movie "The Game," on every broadcast network, as well as several local stations and major cable outlets. The ad, scheduled to run at 9:20 p.m., is expected to reach more than 45 million households. The movie, which hits theaters Sept. 12, is a David Fincher-directed thriller starring Michael Douglas and Sean Penn.

RADIO & TV

Hall of Famers: Actor William Conrad ("Gunsmoke"), New York-based classical music commentator Karl Haas, ABC Radio Networks' producer Lynne "Angel" Harvey, Wisconsin radio personality Gordon Hinkley and New York disc jockey Murray "The K" Kaufman (known as "the fifth Beatle") will be inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame on Oct. 19. The hall is housed at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago. Previous inductees include Charles Osgood and Casey Kasem.

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Around the Dial: Cable's C-SPAN is getting into the radio business. The public affairs network--known for its unfiltered coverage of congressional hearings and the like--is spending $13 million to purchase an FM jazz station owned by the University of the District of Columbia. Plans call for the Washington station to be converted into a 24-hour public affairs radio channel. "We feel this is an important extension of our mission to provide public affairs," said C-SPAN President Brian Lamb.

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Coming Fare: Cable's Showtime has announced a slate of nine upcoming film projects, including movies about two real-life figures, CIA chief-turned-KGB spy Aldrich Ames and New York Yankees Manager Joe Torre. Among other projects on tap at Showtime, Sidney Poitier will star alongside his real-life daughter, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, in "Free of Eden," about a businessman who tutors a female school dropout; and Ruby Dee, Savion Glover, Edward James Olmos, Frank Whaley and Michael DeLorenzo will headline "The Wall," a trilogy of stories based on objects left by visitors at Washington's Vietnam War Memorial.

POP/ROCK

Elvis Goes Postal: The King--the subject of one of the U.S. Postal Service's most popular stamps ever--is taking to the mail waves again in a set of six postage stamps being issued by the Federal States of Micronesia. The stamps, all of which depict a pre-weight-gain Elvis Presley--in his high school days, with his guitar and in various movie poses--will be unveiled for the first time today during the opening ceremony of the California State Fair in Sacramento (this year's fair is devoted to Presley, in the honor of Saturday's 20th anniversary of his death). The Micronesian stamps will bring to 36 the number of countries worldwide that have honored Presley with postage stamps--ranking him just behind Queen Elizabeth, John F. Kennedy, Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

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