A witty, old-school leading man à la David Niven and Leslie Howard, Hugh Dancy has pranced into our lives just when I need him. The scarily handsome actor who’s soignéed up projects from Ella Enchanted to Elizabeth I, he now brings on the angst as Buddy—a troubled guy most often described by reviewers as “a drunken closet case”—in Evening, the all-star regret-fest based on the Susan Minot book. (If Knocked Up seems like a John Cassavetes movie as done by the
Farrelly Brothers, Evening is Jackie Collins
But about that description of Buddy: “I think that’s far too narrow,” said Dancy, leaning forward on his Regency suite’s couch, his white shirt unbuttoned at the sleeves. “He’s definitely drunk, but a closet case? No! I have no idea what his real sexual orientation is. He has no sense of his identity. All he knows is
what he doesn’t want to be, which is everything his background represents, and he knows what he wishes he could be, as embodied by the Patrick Wilson character. He’s so drawn to these people not because he wants to sleep with them, but because he wants to be them.” “Oh,” I chirped, “that must be why I kiss so many guys. Because I want to be them.” “It’s an easy way of explaining away anything,” agreed Dancy, laughing so adorably.
As for his own bad self, Dancy said that recent gossip making him bisexual—which sounded suspiciously like the movie itself—”was not even truth imitating art, it was fiction imitating art.” I told him about the “Gay or European?” song in Legally Blonde and said Dancy’s probably just European. Again, he politely giggled as I prayed I was wrong.
“It still doesn’t make a lot of sense to me,” he said, looking at the Evening poster on the wall with names like Danes (his lady love), Redgrave, and Streep. “It seems a little unlikely—my name in there. I feel like it could be blotted right out!” And how does he feel when he looks at the poster for the immortal Basic Instinct II? “Resigned,” he said, half wincing.
More triumphantly, Dancy just wrapped up the Broadway revival of Journey’s End, in which he was pretty much another drunk with a secret. The show was dark in every way. “It was delightful not being able to see the audience,” admitted Dancy. “There’s a story about an old Irish actor who was finally convinced he should try contact lenses and stop bumping into the furniture. He came offstage and said, ‘This is horrific. I can see them!’ ”
But I can still see Dancy as the new Niven. Is he? Dancy begged off, saying he leaves comparisons to others, but “eventually, you’re the ‘new’ so many different people you don’t even get to be yourself—and then before you get to do so,
somebody else is the new you. It’s a very small sliver of opportunity to actually
be yourself before somebody else takes over the role.” Well, it’s nice to be around to watch Hugh be Hugh for you and me.
Another British hottie gets down in Rescue Dawn, a real-life POW escape story with
Christian Bale mussing his lip gloss to find freedom. Alas, reality TV has taken the sting out of formerly horrifying endeavors like being dragged through the mud and eating piles of maggots. But Bale is always fun to watch as he ritualistically punishes himself for his art. (He apparently gained back the weight he lost for The Machinist only to shed it again. He’s a regular Kirstie Alley.) At an uptown dinner for the movie last week, we celebrated by eating an assortment of worms—I mean, chicken with cippalline olives and Swiss chard—
before moving on to a veritable “dessert symphony.” But I got tragically dissed after requesting a chat with Bale. Maybe if I’d made him crawl over barbed wire.
At a less sadistic event, I was able to ask The Little Mermaid‘s Broadway scripter
Doug Wright about complaints that the Ursula character should be a fat, old hag, not a glamour goddess like
Sheri Rene Scott, who plays her. “Sheri Rene has a startling range,” he said, “and runs the gamut from Jabba the Hutt to Norma Desmond. She’s spectacular.” So Jabba-dabba-do give her hag a chance.
If I can move back to dry land, let me note that like rats, gay bars are everywhere these days, and also like rats, they’re all pretty much the same. But different neighborhoods do engender their own special ambience, so the Hell’s Kitchen bo
îtes turn out to be a little shinier, the West Village bars are more cutely homemade, and the East Village ones get super-real. (On Mondays, BoysRoom has fat white men ogling stripping studs of color, as MC Kenny Dash snarls at customers, “If you were any gayer, you’d fart glitter.”) In the summer, any bar with a roof automatically gets extra gay points, so I’ve been partial to Pop Rocks, which is filled with college twinks alfresco, and the Eagle, where the roof deck allows you a break from all the shaving and shoe-licking downstairs in favor of a nice, breezy chat about water sports.
At the indoor/outdoor Beige night at B Bar last Tuesday, the zany Mickey Boardman and Erich Conrad hosted a dinner for various male porn stars to celebrate Papermag.com’s photo feature, “JD Ferguson Presents,” and we were all shitting glitter. In came the pornos, like Tiger Tyson, the blatino star/producer who does absolutely everything but fuck himself. (“I can’t do that yet,” he generously conceded.) Like every other porn actor I’ve ever met, Tyson told me he’s bi. (Hey, maybe Hugh Dancy should play him in an all-star regret-fest.) He also swore he has a daughter, has never had syphilis or crabs, and has never bottomed—and he was so charming about it, I didn’t even bring up the whispers that one of his early works had him bottoming until editing took over. Meanwhile, Tyson was most emphatic that he never needs any fluffing or dick injections. “Put the ass in my face and we’re good to go,” he remarked, stating pretty much how we all feel.
Before leaving to go home and fuck myself, I asked socialite Luigi Tadini
who his favorite adult-film star is, and he said, “I’m bad with names. Anyone who’s adventurous and sloppy and narcissistic.” Gosh, he’d love me—except for the adventurous part.
If you want someone who looks like publicist Peggy Siegal, there are easy ways to achieve that. In the booklet handed out at Siegal’s recent birthday dinner (complete with dessert symphony), she nicely included the names of the medical team you can call “to look like me at 60.” First was her gynecologist (“glamorous, attentive, and thorough”), then her breast doctor (“has a great touch”), her plastic surgeon (“gave me a new neck”), a schnozz doctor (“still trying to stop my runny nose”), a radiologist (“You can never have too many pelvic ultrasounds”), a gastroenterologist (“cleanest colonoscopy on Park Avenue”), and, most importantly, a hair stylist (“gray is not a color”). Voilà—Peggy Siegal!
But back to the porn stars, like Paris Hilton, who started her real punishment last week by greeting the cryptkeeper Larry King, who’s glamorous, attentive, and thorough, but needs a new neck. This was fresh after Larry’s interview with Al Pacino, which was the longest 60 minutes of my life since walking one block in Times Square. Larry’s big question was “Where did you get hoo-ha?” and when Al’s answer proved diffuse, they just stared at each other’s hair plugs for the next 50 minutes.
This time Larry was fine, and I even thought Paris came off well, though I distrust anyone who uses words like journey and gift; I was surprised to learn she considers herself a scribe, considering she had a ghostwriter for her last book; and I’m stunned she found the strip search in jail so humiliating when, to paraphrase Kathy Griffin, “Please! We’ve seen things go in there.” Still, she was delightful. She’s the new David Niven.
LA DOLCE MUSTO WEB EXTRA
It’s time for my OWN apologia on Larry King. You see, all week long I’ve been getting emails from people furious that I didn’t show up at a scheduled reading at the East Village’s Rapture Cafe. But I did! Let me explain: Weeks ago, when the organizer asked me to be part of the reading, I told him I could only make it at 915 PM because of other arrangements. He said fine, he’d simply put me on at that time. But when I got there (admittedly three whole minutes late), the event was well over and the crowd was still dispersing, the organizer having totally forgotten my timing issue. Cleverly enough, I coerced many of the exiters back into the cafe and did my little reading to a smattering of applause. So please don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.
Meanwhile, some upcoming George Bernard Shaw reading at Players Club put my name on press materials as the evening’s host without having asked me if I’d host (long story), so don’t go THERE and be mad I didn’t show up at all. God, it’s rough being a C-minus celeb in the fast lane.