WHAT’S IN A NAME?: Andy Garcia was happy to get the role of John Bubber, a homeless man in the new Dustin Hoffman comedy, Hero. ”But once I got the part,” says the actor, the production team ”wanted to change the character’s name to Vega. That’s a subtle form of racism.” Not that the Cuban-born Garcia is trying to escape his heritage. ”I could play Latins all my life if they were intriguingly written,” says Garcia, who argued that the name Bubber set a definite tone for the character. ”It has an earnest, humble quality to it. For me, that was the hook to him.” Garcia won the argument. The hook remains…
BACKFIELD IN MOTION: If you thought the sight of Howard Stern appearing on the MTV Video Music Awards as the title character of his upcoming film, The Adventures of Fartman, was odious, it could have been worse. The shock jock’s initial plan was to descend from the ceiling with flames spewing from his glorious buttocks. Fortunately, L.A. fire officials nipped the stunt in the bud….
BLUES, BROTHER: Inspired by the memory of his fellow Blues Brother, the late John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd is opening up a string of restaurant-clubs called House of Blues. The national chain will feature live New Orleans-style blues and a menu of basics like burgers and pizza. The first House will open in Cambridge, Mass., this November. Among the celeb investors is John’s widow, Judy Belushi….
COMEBACK MOM: Director Oliver Stone has done for Debbie Reynolds what daughter Carrie Fisher couldn’t: give her a comeback. Fisher’s TV pilot, Esme’s Little Nap, which she wrote for her mother, didn’t fly. But Stone has cast Reynolds as Tommy Lee Jones’ mother in his new Vietnam epic, Heaven and Earth. ”It came out of the blue,” says Reynolds’ spokeswoman. ”I guess they wanted someone with a sense of humor.” Stone, who’s on location in Thailand, may need cheering up: Monsoons have delayed production for two weeks….
SISTERLY ACT: Killing two birds with one stone, Whoopi Goldberg took a break from filming Sarafina! in Soweto to tape interviews for her new talk show. Her chats with African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela, Zulu chief Mangosuthu Gatsha Buthelezi, and liberal activist Helen Suzman will be seen this fall.
— Nancy Mills, Dave DiMartino, Harold Goldberg, Stephen Schaefer, Giselle Benetar