Secondary Colors

IT'S hard to blame America's two favorite targets de scandale - Washington and Hollywood - for being all atwitter about who wrote, and who's to be cast in, the novel-soon-to-be-a-movie-near-you ''Primary Colors.''

After all, this year's GOP primaries are upstaging almost everything happening in gridlock city and tinseltown. So maybe the only route to a comeback is to hype the ''anonymously'' written novel about 1992's primaries and the whole Clinton entourage.

Although it's true that the over-romantic heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire's throne wrote anonymous editorials challenging what went on at court, seldom does a superpower get to wallow in quite such a bizarre tell-all mystery. It's hard to keep count. Are more journalists, former White House aides, and their spouses claiming to be the mystery author or denying that they are the snitch?

Then there's the matter of dragging Shakespeare into the action. Well, almost. New York magazine commissioned computer-packing literary sleuth Donald Foster, who had just identified an early 17th-century eulogy as the work of the Bard, to sic his computer on ''Primary Colors.'' In the lit'ry equivalent of a police lineup, Professor Foster soon found lots of adverbs and colons in ''Anon's'' novel to match those of Newsweek columnist Joe Klein. Mr. Klein of course denied paternity, something Shakespeare hadn't been at liberty to do.

Meanwhile, Hollywood quotables have quit trying to pick Academy Award winners and turned instead to amusing themselves by casting, variously, Tom Hanks, Tom Arnold, Meryl Streep, and Madonna in the ''Primary Colors'' movie soon to be made by Mike Nichols. Most of this game falls wide of the mark. It ignores the fact that Mr. Nichols has just finished directing Robin Williams, who, with a few costume changes, can obviously play all the roles. Who cares if the pseudo-Gennifer Flowers and James Carville both look like Mrs. Doubtfire? It's the movies, stupid.

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