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The bare news from Venice is that Samantha Morton said Tim Robbins is a little too Hollywood, Emma Thompson had to be told by the press how her vehicle Imagining Argentina had been booed by a censorious and coercive community of screening attendees, and the gay hustler version of Oliver Twist didn't put enough dick back into Dickens. (Still, I want a free pass.)

I got one in Gotham for Veronica Guerin—about the murdered Irish journalist—which is basically Erin-Go-Bra-ckovich. A Plaza Athenée dinner for the movie was full of troubleshooting journos who've all been under fire, so I decided to do some very quick interviews and run home to the safety of The Golden Girls. Before I fled, Ashleigh Banfield told me she's noticed my glasses—now that's a switch—and said she could certainly relate to the movie, having been stationed in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Gaza. "A target can be anything," she said. "People find themselves threatened when it comes to their money, politics, or lifestyle. We interrupt that." So will Banfield be metaphorically sainted à la Guerin? "Hell, no," she said. "No chance of that, dear!"

Continuing with the non-saints, a lot's been made in the last month about how Arnold Schwarzenegger bragged in a '70s interview that he participated in an orgy. But was it the only such sexapalooza? Golly gosh, I don't think so, because I just recently quoted someone who remembered seeing Arnold half-dressed in a hotel hallway around the same time, only to have the iron pumper explain, "My buddy and I picked up a girl, and I'm waiting for my turn again." Talk about collateral damage!

It's like a free pass: Sofia Coppola at the Lost in Translation premiere.
photo: Cary Conover
It's like a free pass: Sofia Coppola at the Lost in Translation premiere.

Getting his turn at kinking up the airwaves, Queer as Folk's Peter Paige was a gay riot on Pyramid last week. In the course of the normally innocuous game-playing, he made a masturbation joke, did Cher impressions, and when he had to make his partner say "Birkenstocks," he clued him with, "These are the ugly sandals lesbians wear." The guy got it. (Take note, Ellen.)

Perhaps not getting it, Jason Patric's publicist was just hit up for an interview with Patric for the gay mag Genre. Writer Drew Limsky says the flack responded, "It's unlikely, given the nature of the publication." That's dumb, especially since Patric plays the repressed gay in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which was written by the late, flaming Tennessee Williams.

But now it's time to walk, with unattractive footwear, into my political nook for this heady thought of the week: So Dubya's administration feels Iraq's getting back on track and they've got hospitals now? Yeah, but they mainly need them because we bombed the place!


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