Peter Guber, chairman of Mandalay Entertainment, is understandably a bit anxious these days, with two $100 million babies about to be delivered. Mandalay's "Enemy at the Gate," starring Jude Law and Joseph Feinnes, and "The Score," starring Robert DeNiro and Marlon Brando, are both set for release in early 2001.

When asked what is was like filming with Brando, reputedly the most eccentric star in Hollywood, Guber says, "exactly what you think it would be like."

Fascination about New Line Cinema's "Lord of the Rings" filming in New Zealand builds ever higher, no doubt stirred by the $200 million budget for the film trilogy. While that's a hefty amount for any movie project, it's colossal for one being shot in New Zealand. Production costs for the three films would be $350 million if they were shot in the U.S., industry observers estimate. Little wonder producers are fleeing offshore.

A cultish fascination has arisen around this film starring Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Liv Tyler and Cate Blanchett. But the real star of the show will be the merchandise, which is expected to generate more revenue than any previous film-based merchandise.

Ed Burns has emerged as the likely male lead opposite Gwyneth Paltrow in "How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days," a Robert Evans Co. production at Paramount, produced by Christine Peters. Burns has expressed extreme interest in the project.

Charleston Heston, who is in the beleaguered film "Town and Country" (directed by Warren Beatty) has been of the opinion that the film would never see the light of day. In production since 1998 with more than 11 release dates and an $80 million-plus budget (including $10 million of Beatty's own money), New Line's president of production, Michael DeLuca, says there is a locked-version that will be released in March, "come hell or high water."

Columbia film "Snatch" set for release on Jan. 19 and directed by Guy Ritchie (boyfriend of Madonna) is creating a huge buzz abroad. Those who have already seen it say Brad Pitt will be Oscar bait.

Antonio Banderas, who made his directorial debut in "Crazy in Alabama" starring his wife Melanie Griffith, will do another film under the same arrangement. "He will direct and I will act," says Griffith.

Jennifer Love Hewitt is looking forward to her role in "The Devil and Daniel Webster." "I play Satan and it is serious, she is evil," says the teen scream queen.

The mid-million range film is Alec Baldwin's directorial debut and also stars Sir Anthony Hopkins.

"Wish me luck," says Mark Wahlberg, a bit nervous about doing comedy, but David O. Russell, who wrote and directed him in "Three Kings," has written a comedy for Wahlberg which will begin filming in January with a $55 million budget. It co-stars Jennifer Aniston.

Jenny McCarthy is thrilled with her lead role in "The Perfect You." "I did my small stuff, and this is the first full-blown lead for me," she says.

Westerns are back: Morgan Creek is moving on its $40 million pic "American Outlaws," set to be released by Warner Bros. in May. It stars hot property Colin Farrell and Scott Caan. And on the small screen, Showtime in late 2000 or early 2001 will air its original cable movie "The Warden of Red Rock," starring David Carradine, James Caan and Brian Dennehy.

In TV buzz, E!Entertainment may stop production of "Mysteries & Scandals" in January because it has run out of people to profile. To keep mono-toned, tough-guy host A.J. Benza in the E! family, a talk show is being developed for him.

Kim Cattrall, star of "Sex and the City," is trying to counteract her randy image on the show by developing her own production company, which will produce quality films about women.

Contributing reporter Anita Talbert can be reached at (310) 276-9318.

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