A.R. Gurney's "Love Letters" will become a movie. The trick is how. Columbia Pictures bought the rights. The two-character play tells a wonderful story beautifully, but talk about stage pieces . . .

Hundreds of pairs of celebrities have played the roles on stage, usually with a different pair of co-stars every week. They don't have to memorize the script. They sit side by side at a large table and read to the audience the lifelong correspondence between the two characters. It might sound dull, but in practice it could hardly be more enjoyable because it's so funny, interesting and finally moving.The actors can be in their 70s or their teens. The only requirement is that they be the same approximate age, so that it makes sense they started as grade school classmates.

And there's the rub for the movie. What makes sense in a stage piece, where theatergoers make allowances that are prompted by voice inflections, won't necessarily work on film, even though costume and makeup changes now will be possible. We'll see.

You can be sure of this: Every name player will want to be considered. -