NY Mirror

In the overrated Motorcycle Diaries, GAEL GARCIA BERNAL plays the young Che Guevara, who, with his pal, travels around South America meeting all sorts of whores and lepers while being transformed into a major idealist with a hack cough. It's sort of like a Latin Jack & Bobby.

At the premiere, the adorable-even-when-earnest Bernal gave one of those "this journey has certain stages" speeches, which had me wanting to star in a road movie heading to the after-party. Alas, once I got there, I suffered a claustro attack and had to run outside, where 60 publicists couldn't get Bernal to speak to me on his way in (or later), apparently because all access hinged on his personal gorgon from PMK. That's a shame; I wanted to tell him how stunning he is in drag in PEDRO ALMODOVAR's upcoming Bad Education, giving BILLY CRUDUP (who's coming up in Stage Beauty, a/k/a Shakespeare in Gloves) a run for his trellised hose.


ONWARD, CHRISTIAN SOLDIER

I hit the road and headed to the Crobar party for The Machinist, for which CHRISTIAN BALE not only didn't add heels, he subtracted the weight of three female Friends stars. But as he pulled up in his Batmobile, Bale looked in the human range again and he even had extra poundage with him—namely stepmom GLORIA STEINEM, who I hear might write an op-ed piece about the movie for The New York Times. (I bet she likes it more than The People vs. Larry Flynt, which she excoriated in one of her last Times pieces.)

The freaky film has the skeletal Bale as a blue-collar worker who never sleeps, eats, or stops being paranoid. ("It's not a popcorn movie," he agreed with me, smiling.) Was his Ally McBeal diet plan sheer self-inflicted torture? "It was tricky," Bale told me, "but it's punishing to have to get into good shape for a movie as well. Losing the weight involved a great deal of restraint, and once you get there, it's a calming place to be." Wait a minute, you Hollywood hunk, starvation is fun? "You get used to that," he swore. "It was something I chose to do—and I knew I was always able to go grab something." And not his agent's neck.


DIRTY ROTTEN SCANDALS

Next thing you know, we all grabbed our sex organs and took them to NO, I mean NA, for the Paper-hosted premiere of A Dirty Shame, the JOHN WATERS comedy about wanton perverts who can't even dance the hokey pokey without getting moist. At a corner table, the movie's reliably fun co-star SELMA BLAIR—who plays a large-uddered gal—spent the party sardonically trying to put a cat-o'-nine-tails that happened to be laying around into her purse. It turns out Blair's next project may not be much of a stretch, except physically. "I'm doing a short film called The Big Empty," she said, "about a girl with the biggest frozen vagina wasteland. You can't see from one end of it to another. Men get sucked in and come out with icicles on their noses." Note to self: Don't go into the big empty without a scarf! Blair's also snatched a role in the sexual harassment epic Pretty Persuasion with EVAN RACHEL WOOD, about whom she beamed, "She hangs the moon!" Goshers, do kids really talk like that nowadays? "No," Blair deadpanned, "just us, on the fly."

But hop into your shiniest whip and drive over to my mad flow of gossip, won't ya? (Or all right, don't.) First of all, the recent Actor's Fund benefit performance of Hair starred a stellar batch of Tony-award types and of course HARRIS DORAN. Who? Well, one disgruntled insider buzzed to me that Doran—who played Claude—is the boyfriend of Avenue Q co-composer JEFF MARX and has no Broadway credits whatsoever (though he's done theater). "He will disgrace himself!" came the warning—but no one who reported on the show afterward said he did!

In other legit news, spies say that people who want to invest in the upcoming Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? revival are being, let's say, highly advised to also put some dough into Peter and Jerry (ALBEE's expansion of his Zoo Story), which might be New York bound. Everyone will deny.

It wasn't a zoo story, but STAR JONES's red-carpet Emmys gig on E! did put a needy, unctuous face on celebrity interaction. On the bright side, Star managed to keep up a steady stream of blather, she knew who everyone was (and even whether they were nominated), and she didn't make fun of anything sartorially left of center. End of bright side.

But back to the fashionably cross-dressing Mr. Crudup: I hear some women's mags are shunning his lady love, CLAIRE DANES, because, as you know, Billy supposedly dumped MARY LOUISE PARKER for Claire practically as Parker was about to squeeze out their baby. These people—who are probably still mad at Ingrid Bergman—feel female readers won't respond favorably to such a supposed big empty. I guess they can't crucify Billy himself because he already hardly does any press (and probably wouldn't do drag photo spreads anyway). Everyone will deny.

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