Alec Baldwin's directing debut, "The Devil and Daniel Webster," was a labor of love--but that doesn't mean he'll work for free. Baldwin has turned to the courts to get paid and also to have his name removed from the directing credits of the financially strapped $26.5-million film he spent months making with Anthony Hopkins and Jennifer Love Hewitt.
Baldwin filed suit Friday in Superior Court in Santa Monica, seeking the $850,000 he says he's owed for completing filming on time and under budget. Baldwin's court papers accuse David Glasser, whose Cutting Edge Entertainment financed the film, of fraud and breach of contract for failing to obtain sufficient financing, despite assurances that he would.
The tiff has been brewing since March, when funds dried up in post-production. Baldwin's court papers say the project is $3.5 million in debt. "Cutting Edge's failure to obtain financing and make payments to creditors for the picture has wrongfully cast Baldwin as an individual who does not honor his debts or make payments pursuant to his agreements," the suit says.
Lawyer Marty Singer said that while Baldwin tried to work things out he even turned down several film offers up to $15 million. Glasser could not be reached.
The Thin Blue Line
When Ginger Harrison, the 28-year-old Los Angeles police officer who appears out of uniform in next month's Playboy, signed autographs at the Tower Records store on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks last week, some other LAPD officers made sure they put their signatures on something, too.
Harrison's limo and assembled news vans all got parking tickets, personally handed out by two LAPD officers who hopped out of a squad car, witnesses tell us. Apparently, this job was too big for the parking-enforcement crew.
An LAPD spokesman said the officers may not have been aware of the department's policy to ask TV news crews to move their vehicles before ticketing them. (Oh, sure, and we don't know that a red light means "stop.")
Harrison, who is assigned to the Foothill Division, appears in a six-page spread in July's Playboy. The LAPD is still trying to determine whether she violated department policy by posing, according to a spokesman.
Director James Cameron, scuba diver and self-proclaimed "King of the World," will venture underwater this summer to the real Titanic--his first stop on a three-year expedition around the world with Jacques Cousteau's son, Jean-Michel Cousteau.
Cameron joins a crew of divers 12,000 feet beneath the sea, using the latest in robotic, lighting and camera technology to capture the underwater world for "Ocean Challenge," a series planned for the fall on ABC. Cameron had considered being the first director in space but opted to explore the deep instead.
On Saturday, Cameron and "Dark Angel" star Jessica Alba were on top of the water, aboard the winning craft in a six-sailboat race off Marina del Rey. The race raised money for the Planetary Coral Reef Foundation.
Cameron and Alba bested crafts manned by Tom Arnold, Michael Weatherly, Dennis Weaver, Bill Paxton and Billy Zane.
Although dress was casual, Alba sported the multi-carat engagement ring that Wetherly, her "Dark Angel" co-star, gave her on her 20th birthday in April.
A.J. Benza's Favorite Dish
Before he found fame on E!, A.J. Benza toiled as a gossip at the New York Daily News. Never shy, Benza recently gave Mediaweek's Web site an earful about his former colleagues in the gossip game:
"My favorite is Page Six" in the New York Post, "because day in and day out it has the most dirt, but Richard Johnson knows I think he should be funnier."
Michael Musto of the Village Voice "is the cleverest gossip writer in the business."
"Liz Smith is very necessary."
"Cindy Adams, I think, is the meanest woman in the business."
"The New York Observer has some funny writers . . . but it's too highbrow."
As for the New York Times, fugghedaboudit. "I don't think anyone who digs my work is a New York Times reader. I'm not a New York Times reader."
"When real movie stars walk into a room, it's all about them. They know it, and everybody else knows it. I like to fly under the radar."
"Pearl Harbor" star Josh Hartnett in July's Vanity Fair.
Mariel Hemingway, getting her long, blond tresses blown dry by Frederic Fekkai. The celebrity hairstylist had just handed over a $500 scholarship check to Fashion Group International during Jane magazine's party at Fekkai's Rodeo Drive salon . . . Larry Hagman, dining with his wife, Maj, at Locanda del Lago on the Third Street Promenade. At another table was "Leave It to Beaver" mom Barbara Billingsley.
City of Angles appears Tuesday through Friday. Gina Piccalo and Louise Roug contributed to this column. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.