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ORTH DETAILING CUNANAN'S DARK WORLD OF SEX, DRUGS, MURDER.

Byline: Marilyn Beck & Stacy Jenel Smith

Long before Andrew Cunanan murdered Gianni Versace in July, investigative reporter Maureen Orth was crisscrossing the country, researching the spree killer on the FBI's Most Wanted list. Now, while she's deep into writing a book about the serial slayer, she's also working with a screenwriter for a Jerry Weintraub movie about her dark journey into Cunanan's world of sex, drugs and murder.

Weintraub, who is flying from London to New York today aboard the Concorde with his parents, phoned this column with news of the project.

His movie, he says, ``Will explore Cunanan's world from Maureen's point of view - basically what Truman Capote did with `In Cold Blood.' It will be a very in-depth psychological piece. Versace was a very close friend of mine.''

Meanwhile ...

Jerry Weintraub has just completed ``The Avengers'' in London, with Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman taking on the roles of Mr. Steed and Emma Peel from the vintage series, and Sean Connery aboard as the villain who's controlling all the weather in the world. It was not an easy shoot, reveals the filmmaker.

``We were working in a water tank for two weeks, with Sean and Ralph constantly soaking wet. Then we created a blizzard, with ice and snow and ...'' And then, he says, there were the physical demands. Uma, reports Weintraub, ``had to do a lot of her own stunts - hanging in the air, flying on trapeze lines, engaging in sword and karate fights. She trained for about a month and a half before shooting - and all during production.''

He adds that the twosome generate ``pretty big sparks,'' but that their romantic action is limited to ``some very sexual dialogue - mostly in double entendre.'' He anticipates a PG-13 rating.

It's going to be a very good year

``7th Heaven'' star Stephen Collins turns 50 next week - and this milestone year already is turning out to be one of his best ever, he says.

He's turning in the final manuscript for his second novel. ``I've just been dotting the i's and crossing the t's, and it's going to the copy editor. It's going to be published by Morrow, the title is `Double Exposure' and it's going to come out in June.''

He's excited that his ``7th Heaven'' series on the WB Network premiered last week with ``double the ratings we did last September at this time.''

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Photo: Uma Thurman, as Emma Peel, did a lot of her own stunts.
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Title Annotation:L.A. LIFE
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 25, 1997
Words:413
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