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Robert Kennedy Jr. Movie in Turmoil

Robert Kennedy Jr. Movie in Turmoil | Jack Jones Still Swings; Elaine's Gang

Robert Kennedy Jr. Movie in Turmoil

I told you more than a year ago that filmmakers were busily putting together a documentary based on Robert Kennedy Jr.’s book, “Crimes Against Nature,” sort of his “Inconvenient Truth.”

In Denver, during convention week, I was told several times that there were going to be screenings of some kind on the Pepsi Center campus. There was also word at the Toronto Film Festival that it would be seen. Neither scenario materialized.

Alas, I now hear that the people who’ve made the film are at war among themselves and there is chaos instead of expected unity for this investigative take on environmental politics.

In one corner, there is director Angus Yates. He comes with quite a pedigree. Stepson of Mike Wallace, son of late journalist Ted Yates, Angus has a long list of filmmaking credits. He also grew up with Kennedy, which gives some advantage when it comes to making this film.

In the other corner, there's wealthy newspaper heiress Clara Bingham, who put up a lot of the money for “Crimes Against Nature.” Even though she hasn’t seen the film, sources say Bingham wants to take it away from director Yates and give it her own imprimatur. She has no prior filmmaking credits, but is a journalist who did write the book upon which Charlize Theron’s movie “North Country” was based.

Calls to Bingham at her New York apartment were attempted, but a recorded message said the voicemail box was full.

In the middle of this: producer Sarah Johnson Redlich, who wants Yates to finish his film but with compromises.

“I like Angus and I think he’s made a good film. But he also tried to make a Michael Moore film. It doesn’t work. He took Clara’s script and threw it out, and used his own. Bobby didn’t think it was good.”

As for who controls the finished work, that remains to be seen. Yates has told friends that he owns the film, and can so what he wants with it. That may include a surprise screening next week to get reaction, thus pushing Kennedy to take the director’s side and end the controversy. In the end, it will be up to Bobby Kennedy which version of “Crimes Against Nature” is final.

But Redlich says that only she and Bingham have money in the project. “Angus doesn’t have one cent in it," she said.

She adds: “If we could just get him to do these final things. To me, it’s where you place things. I come from a staunch Republican family. If you start with an attack on George Bush, and clips of George Carlin, they’re going to walk right out. The message is too important for that.”

Jack Jones Still Swings; Elaine's Gang

Yes, that was the great '60s and '70s crooner Jack Jones in Elaine’s Thursday night, with his fiancée, a friend, and Bobby Zarem. He’s at the Algonquin Friday and Saturday night and all next week. Watch him on You Tube with Cleo Laine here.

Jack and Cleo, just like Vicki Carr and so many great singers, were from a generation of great vocalists who lived off Las Vegas, touring and variety shows. Michael Buble and Josh Groban are the Jack Joneses of today. If you’re in New York, don’t miss him. Jones turned 70 last January. He’s still partying like it’s 1979. ...

Also visiting Elaine’s: Los Angeles Police Commish Bill Bratton and lawyer-commentator wife Ricky Kleiman, having just been to hear Obama and McCain live. ...

Carol Higgins Clark and mom Mary Higgins Clark have their Christmas bestseller due at the publishers’ on Monday. So what did they do Thursday night when they needed a break? They took a table at Elaine’s. Mary reminded me that that she has an old election connection: back in 1984, her novel, “Stillwatch,” featured a female senator under a lot of scrutiny. …

Overheard: Robert De Niro and Al Pacino take off for Spain Friday and then tour Europe to promote “Righteous Kill.” If only you could be a fly on the window of that studio jet. …

Yes, that’s Barry Primus, De Niro’s old buddy, as the police shrink in “Righteous Kill.” In 1992, De Niro produced Primus’ feature film directing and writing debut, “Mistress.” Nice to see they’re still friends. …

Dermot Mulroney is a sport. He’s featured as an actor within a fake movie in the Coen Brothers’ “Burn After Reading.” …

Shopping at the famed Jefferson Market in Greenwich Village: everyone from Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick to Mary-Louise Parker, Abel Ferrara, Dana Delany and Marisa Tomei. They wait on line for that succulent roasted chicken. It’s one of the few remaining family-owned independent stores left in Manhattan after more than 50 years. ...