Fox has finally given "Dick Tracy" a green light for a June start, with Warren Beatty directing and starring as the comic strip crime fighter. . . . Universal's "Ghost Dad," a wild and crazy comedy by Brent Maddock and S.S. Wilson ("Short Circuit"), goes before the cameras next month, with John Badham directing Steve Martin. . . . Jim Varney returns in "Ernest Saves Christmas" for Disney. John Cherry directs in Florida at the end of March. . . . After 30 years, it's "Back to the River Kwai"--the sequel starts filming next week in the Philippines under director Andrew McLaglen. The Kurt Unger production for Tri-Star stars Chris Penn, Denholm Elliott, George Takei, Anthony Andrews and Tatsuya Nakadai ("Ran") . . . . Top Gun on water: That's the word on Zanuck/Brown's "Blue Lightning" for MGM, which starts shooting in Miami April 25. Paul Michael Glaser directs this yarn of fast boats and drug smuggling by Dick Wolf and Denny Petitclerc. . . . Harry Dean Stanton, Suzy Amis, Dylan McDermot and the William Burroughs get caught up in "Twister," a screwball comedy for Vestron. Filming in Wichita, Kan., mid-April, the Wieland Shultz-Keil production marks the directing debut of Michael Almereyda.

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