Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter  |  May 14, 2003 at 3:10 PM
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Safe rooms are catching on as the latest trend in Hollywood, according to a report in Daily Variety.

The paper reported that safe rooms -- also known as panic rooms -- have "quietly become the latest perk for Hollywood's elite." Some Los Angeles area contractors specialize in installing safe rooms -- and two leading safe-room builders told the paper the rooms are growing more prevalent at major studio lots.

"Some have gone to that extent, because the people they have on contract are requiring it," said Bill Rigdon of Building Consensus, a contractor with long experience installing safe rooms.

Rigdon said bigger stars are negotiating on-lot safe rooms as part of their movie deals.

"Even some of the big directors are asking for them, because they've been threatened," said Rigdon.

Gary Paster of American Saferoom Door Co. said he has observed safe rooms being installed "mostly in corporate suites." Paster said most corporate safe rooms are designed to protect studio brass from disgruntled employees or other dangerous types, but he said that "pretty much everyone who's asking now is getting chemical and biological protection."

Variety said few studios or agents responded to questions about safe rooms and A-list talent deals, and those who did respond said it was all news to them. Paster said the safe room boom is not limited to Hollywood.

"The high end, the most expensive rooms, have been for either corporate heads or foreign dignitaries," he said. "In entertainment, the emphasis is still on home intrusion but they're getting chemical and biological as an add-on."


The American Library Association said Wednesday that filmmaker Michael Moore has given $25,000 to a program aimed at promoting ethnic diversity in libraries.

ALA President Maurice J. Freedman said that Moore has also offered to have several thousand copies of his books and films donated to libraries that are going through funding problems.

"In a time of nationwide draconian cuts in library funding nationwide, this is a real bright spot," said Freedman.

Moore's donation will support the ALA Spectrum Initiative, established in 1997 to increase ethnic diversity on library staffs and raise awareness of "larger diversity issues."

The ALA released a statement from Moore in which the Oscar-winning director of "Bowling for Columbine" said he intended to raise "tens of thousands more" through personal appearances and on his Web site to promote other ALA causes.

"This donation is only the beginning of what will be an ongoing effort on my part to rally my fellow Americans to support their local libraries," said Moore. "I will not allow one of our most precious natural resources -- our free, public libraries -- to suffer any further abuse."

Moore complained that public library budgets are the first to be cut when governments reduce spending, and that library staffs are among the lowest paid professionals in America. He also endorsed an ALA campaign to oppose provisions of the USA Patriot Act -- passed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack -- that allows investigators to look into people's reading matter.


The Film Society of Lincoln Center will honor Ethan Hawke at its Young Friends of Film gala tribute on June 3.

The organization said it was recognizing Hawke for "his extraordinary film career" -- including performances in "Before Sunrise," "Dead Poets Society," "Gattaca," "Great Expectations," "Hamlet," "Reality Bites" and "Waking Life."

Hawke was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the 2001 cop drama "Training Day."

The gala will feature appearances by Hawke's wife, actress Uma Thurman, as well as actors Vincent D'Onofrio, Griffin Dunne, Liev Schreiber and Steve Zahn. Directors Richard Linklater and Michael Almereyda will also participate in the 4th annual Young Friends of Film tribute, which honors contemporary actors or directors who are favorites of young film fans.

The organization has previously honored Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Jason Leigh and John Turturro.


A former movie studio security guard has pleaded no contest to receiving custom-made "Spider-Man" and "Batman" costumes, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The outfits were stolen from Sony Studios and Warner Bros. Jeffrey Glenn Gustafson -- who worked as a security guard for Warner Bros. in 1996 and for Sony until January 2001 -- was sentenced to nine months in jail. Deputy District Attorney Donald Tamura said Gustafson was also placed on five years' probation and ordered to pay restitution of about $93,000.

Another defendant in the case pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor count of receiving stolen property. Robert Hughes, 35, was sentenced to 30 days of community service and placed on two years' probation.


Count it as a P.R. coup for cabaret singer Craig Laforest -- James Cameron threw him a party in Hollywood to celebrate the release of his new CD.

The Oscar-winning director of the all-time box-office champ "Titanic" is a fan of the Australian-born Laforest. Cameron and his wife, actress Suzy Amis ("Titanic," "The Usual Suspects"), hosted the party Monday night to celebrate the release of "Two Lives: The Music of Richard and Karen Carpenter."

The CD features guest appearances by R&B star Peggi Blu, pop star Erin Hamilton, gospel singer Howard McCrary and new age pianist John Boswell.

Laforest has performed with the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and the Sydney Philharmonia Choir. He has also performed in musical theater in Australia. He has been a regular performer at the Cinegrill in Los Angeles since 1997.

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