Neil signed to play himself in

Marshalls at work on family-oriented feature

Tue Jul 6, 9:18 PM ET

Online Staff, STAFF

GOOD MORNING: I was visiting the home of George W. Bush’s top California fundraiser, but I was talking with John Kerry (news – web sites)-John Edwards (news – web sites) supporter Garry Marshall. The palatial Brentwood home is owned by Bradford Freeman, who loaned his $10 million house to the “Lucky 13” movie company. I was talking politics with Marshall between takes of the family-oriented film being directed by his son, Scott, his first feature-length helming stint. He has done TV and directed the second unit of his father’s recently completed “Princess Diaries II.” Garry is doing final editing of the film (release date Aug. 11) on weekends when he’s not acting in his son’s pic. Marshall, pere, volunteers hefty praise for his son’s directorial prowess — and admits making few ad-libs. Marshall will next workshop the musicalized “Happy Days” at his Falcon Theater with his sister Rony and daughter Kathleen producing. And he’ll also bow this fall his “Wrong Turn at Lungfish” starring Hector Elizondo … “13” is produced by A.D. Oppenheim and Mark Zakarin with Rochelle Shapell as exec producer. The pic is independently financed. And the cast is doing the film, “as a labor of love,” Zakarin says. He looks at dailies in the garage of his home — a couple of blocks away from the location. Marshall admits this is an offbeat role for him — he’s seen wearing a ponytail in early scenes when he arrives with girlfriend Darryl Hannah from his teaching job on an Indian reservation in New Mexico. In one scene, Marshall and Hannah go skinny-dipping in the pool of the mansion. “It’s a scene I will treasure,” Hannah laughingly admits. She is strategically covered. Marshall is naked … The well-rounded cast includes Doris Roberts as the wife Marshall left 20 years ago, Jeremy Piven as their agent-son, Jami Gertz as his wife, and their son (and Marshall-Roberts’) grandson played by Darryl Sabara, star of all three “Spy Kids.” The story revolves around his upcoming bar mitzvah and the battle between his family and a second Hollywood agent (Larry Miller (news)) to outdo each other’s bash. Any similarity between the movie’s bar mitzvah celebration and that of a Hollywood agent’s son is probably only accidental, I’m sure. However, this story ends Carpa-esque with Richard Benjamin as the rabbi and Neil Diamond (news), playing himself, singing “Hava Negilah” … In real life, young (12) thesp Sabara is studying for his bar mitzvah next year and says he has nixed any lavish bash — and instead has opted for a trip to Israel, Greece and Italy.

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