Disney Song For Whitney...

Archerd: Julie Andrews will sing no more

By Army Archerd, Daily Variety Senior Columnist

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Julie Andrews asked me to tell readers that, despite Variety's review of her Oct. 16 host stint of ``My Favorite Broadway: The Love Songs'' at Gotham's City Center, she did not sing nor will she be able to sing in the future.

In the finale of the show (taped for a PBS ``Great Performances''), Michael Crawford sang Lerner & Loewe's ``My Fair Lady'' showstopper ``I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face'' and Andrews voiced, ``The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.''

Variety reviewer Robert L. Daniels wrote Julie ``then sang the vocal reply -- 'On the plain! On the plain!''' Daniels added, ``By George she's got it! Andrews will sing again!''

He said her ``comeback'' resulted in ``a cheering audience rising to its feet.'' But Tuesday in L.A., on the set of Disney's feature ``The Princess Diaries,'' Julie said, ``Everybody feels that when I hit a bass note or two that I'm singing. But I couldn't actually sing. That night I 'sang' like Rex Harrison sings! Maybe someday I might be able to sing a whole bass song -- like 'Old Man River,''' she laughed.

Coincidentally, Garry Marshall, directing ``Diaries,'' said ``Julie is playing Rex Harrison'' in this movie. Her character, Queen Clarisse Renaldi of Genovia, tutors her reluctant granddaughter (played by Anne Hathaway) in the art of being a princess; the San Francisco teenager is heir to the Genovia throne.

The location was Mount St. Mary's College, its magnificent grounds and buildings in downtown L.A., on Figueroa and Adams. These well-camouflaged buildings -- the former luxurious Doheny mansion and gardens -- now house the college, but will double in the film as the Genovian Consulate. It includes a marble-columned ballroom that easily fit the setting for the picture's regal doings.

The film will be released in July by Disney; Marshall is sure it will be G-rated: ``It's my penance for having done a movie about a hooker ('Pretty Woman') for Disney. It's for teenagers, parents and grandparents; I have two grandchildren.''

He said his Falcon Theater is also designed to bring young people into loving live theater. His daughter, Kathleen Marshall, has an important role in this film as well.

Andrews told me it's a joy working with/for Marshall: ``He allows us such freedom.''

The dialogue is not saccharine; young princess Hathaway, told she might someday have to observe proper protocol in Iraq, says, ``Iraq? Where women are second-class citizens? Don't bet the farm on it.''

The multi-talented Hathaway ``is a combination Julia Roberts, Audrey Hepburn and Judy Garland,'' said Marshall. She's an accomplished singer but will not sing in this film -- nor will Julie, as per the above. But Whitney Houston, a producer of the film with Debra Martin Chase and Mario Iscovich, may get an OK from Arista to record one of the movie's tunes on this Disney label. (Whitney appears at the Aladdin in Vegas, Nov. 10).

Earlier this week, Julie and Hector Elizondo (he's in all Marshall pix) danced to a tango-bolero, ``Another Life,'' written by the pic's Sidney James. It had the company cheering! The ``music'' that is not welcome on the set is the constant interruption by planes: The location is on the flight path to LAX. Marshall presented the cast with ``trophies'' for performances despite the planes. Added music is the nearby church chimes, regularly and loudly taking over the air waves. ``We don't need music!'' Marshall bellowed back at a lengthy 12 noon serenade!

Andrews looks -- mahvelous! For this scene she wore a trim business-like suit but Oscar-nominated designer Gary Jones has some ballgowns which will fit her regal role. One, in peach satin, ``is an homage to Dior.'' Another, a beaded silk for a state dinner, is ``Eliza Doolittle quality,'' he says.

While the song is sadly ended for Julie, she is busy working on a Broadway return, plus several TV projects including CBS' ``On Golden Pond'' remake. And Julie continues her busy children's book-writing career with daughter Emma Walton on the ``Dumpy'' books, illustrated by Tony Walton, Emma's dad (Julie's first husband).

Andrews' husband, Blake Edwards, is also busy preparing several projects including a musicalized ``Pink Panther'' for Broadway, with Leslie Bricusse teaming. Blake also met with longtime producer partner Walter Mirisch on a remake of ``The Party''

``It's to raise awareness, not funds,'' Kevin Spacey reminded as he hosted/produced Tuesday night's ``Celebrating Our Future, Remembering Our Past'' gala at the home of Kate Edelman Johnson.

As noted here Sept. 13, the evening was to benefit the Motion Picture & TV Fund by enlisting the younger generation of Hollywood to follow the example set by the fund's founders. Guests and participants included Gregory Peck, Jack Lemmon, Helen Hunt, Danny DeVito, George Clooney and foundation board chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg; and those participating Tuesday and now committed to continue the fund's support were: Haley Joel Osment, Spike Jonze, Rose McGowan, David Arquette, Rachael Leigh Cook, Paul Thomas Anderson, Jenna Elfman, Noah Wyle, Leelee Sobieski, Vince Vaughn, Amanda Peet, Stephen Dorff, Freddie Prinze Jr., David Arquette, etc.

Spacey's office had been ``an editing bay'' for weeks readying footage of industry residents at the MPTV Country House & Hospital to show last night: Stanley Kramer, Billie Dove, Hal Riddle, John Chambers, Madlyn Rhue, John Anderson, Robert Cornthwaite and Jan Sterling. Take a bow, Kevin. Join him, Hollywood.

Reuters/Variety REUTERS




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