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`EVENING STAR' RISES HIGH IN PARAMOUNT'S EYES.

Byline: Marilyn Beck & Stacy Jenel Smith

Paramount's so high on ``Evening Star'' it's giving the sequel to ``Terms of Endearment'' a release aimed at garnering the cinematic gem its fair share of Academy Awards - with an unveiling starting on or around Christmas Day.

The studio - which had originally passed on the project - has good cause to be pleased with the finished result. Both Shirley MacLaine, reprising her role as the irrepressible Aurora, and Marion Ross, in the part of Aurora's longtime housekeeper/friend, are sure contenders for Oscars, as is the picture itself.

Producer David Kirkpatrick tells this column that it was only after he broke into tears in the office of Paramount's president of production that the studio had a change of heart and finally agreed to make the movie. But even so, he says, ``They were squeamish enough about it that I had to secure outside financing. Paramount is happy about it now, though.''

As, indeed, Paramount should be. ``Evening Star'' is a shimmering star of a movie - a film for the ages, for all ages.

Faces in the crowd: Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, ensconced in London with their brood of two, are starting rehearsals for Stanley Kubrick's ``Eyes Wide Shut,'' which starts shooting in that city Oct. 23. The drama isn't due to wrap until February, but it is expected that Tom and Nicole will jet to New York in December, she to make nice with the media at a junket for her ``Portrait of a Lady,'' he to attend a press gathering for his ``Jerry Maguire'' film.

There was talk that ``Maguire'' would not be ready for year-end release, but at this writing it looks like it will come together as scheduled. No telling when the Cruises will be settling back down in L.A. - where, incidentally, they really find it the easiest to be one of a crowd. In fact, they usually manage to see a movie or two at West L.A. theaters on weekends without causing much of a stir. Celebrities are part of the scenery here.

Very funny: Jim Carrey and Lauren Holly, who tied the knot Monday in Malibu, had originally planned to wed the Saturday after Thanksgiving. And if those plans had gone through, it would have been something the press would never have forgotten. According to one of their confidantes, they were talking about hiring 200 extras - 100 men, 100 women - dressing them in bride and groom outfits and sending them out all over Malibu in what would have been a ``Where's Waldo'' sort of caper. While the paparazzi were chasing around in cars and helicopters, trying to figure out which couple was actually Jim and Lauren, they would have been off getting married in peace and quiet. As it turned out, they managed to pull just that sort of wedding off this week - without scores of doubles.

Musical heritage: With her ``Out of the Blues'' album of standards launched, Rita Coolidge is looking forward to her next recording project - which she refers to as ``the Indian album.'' Rita and her sister, Priscilla Coolidge, and niece Laura Satterfield, perform as the trio Walela. ``It's Cherokee for hummingbird,'' says Rita, and its music harkens back to the women's American Indian roots. ``We're not trying to make an authentic Native American/Cherokee record. ... Goodness knows there are artists who speak the language fluently, and we're just learning.''

Rita, who expects to be working on the disc through much of the fall between tour dates for ``Out of the Blues,'' adds, ``We don't want to do something so tribal it doesn't reach the audience. We want to make the music accessible to a contemporary audience. I think that's where 90 percent of our talent lies.''

Close call: Patrick Kilpatrick - who's played the bad guy in a slew of films, such as ``Under Siege 2,'' ``Eraser'' and ``Last Man Standing'' - not only gets to play a good guy in the currently shooting ``Free Willy 3,'' he became a real-life hero the other day. Kilpatrick's 7-year-old co-star Vincent Berry started to fall off the deck when the camera boat collided with their boat while filming - and Kilpatrick managed to snatch Berry just before the youngster plunged into the water.

CAPTION(S):

2 Photos

Photo: (1) Nicole Kidman

Working in London

(2) Rita Cool idge

Sings in family trio
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Title Annotation:L.A. LIFE
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 27, 1996
Words:725
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