Steve Bing funded actors' Cuba research trip
Bill Murray, others visited Havana for a Bing film projectIt turns out that the unnamed producer in the mix of top Hollywood actors who recently visited Cuba for a "research trip" was Steve Bing, the publicity-shy film producer who can't seem to shake the media limelight.
No word yet on a title or logline for Bing's Cuba project, but there is speculation it's a mob-in-Havana pic. James Caan, Robert Duvall and Bill Murray are attached to the double-secret project, and also visited the island recently.
The three actors and Bing visited Cuba at the same time Benicio Del Toro was in Havana to receive a local film group's award for his portrayal of Argentine revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara in Steven Soderbergh's 2008 biopic "Che." Press reports focused primarily on Del Toro's award, and initially it was unclear whether the actors' stated purpose of a research mission was anything more than a chance at going to the hard-to-visit isle.
There has been a steady flow of celebs between Hollywood and Havana over the years, despite U.S. government limits on nonbusiness travel to Cuba. The Hollywood Reporter was able to place Bing at the center of the latest film delegation, though his reps refused to confirm the producer's involvement.
Bing has been reclusive since his entanglement several years ago in a pair of paternity cases. A receptionist at his Shangri-La Entertainment production company Wednesday denied ever hearing of Bing and directed press inquiries to Paul Bloch of Rogers & Cowan, Bing's longtime publicist.
Asked the nature of Bing's film project, Bloch said, "We haven't been informed about that yet." Another Hollywood publicist, Stephen Rivers, organized the latest Cuba trip but declined comment.
A producer on movies including 2007's "Beowulf" and 2008's "Shine a Light," Bing is equally identified with Democratic politics and fund-raising. The heir to a New York real estate fortune is a regular benefactor of environmental causes, and reports that Bing had helped fund President Clinton's North Korea trip this week.