Published February 26, 2009
Usually associating with Tom Cruise has been good for his women whether he married them, romanced them or used them for publicity. Nicole Kidman and Penelope Cruz, for example, each have Academy Awards.
But Katie Holmes seems to be following more in the footsteps of the first Mrs. Cruise, Mimi Rodgers. Even though she had a successful run in a minor role on Broadway recently, Katie is not exactly burning up the silver screen.
A role in Thank You for Smoking, filmed before she was scooped up by Cruise in their spring 2005 insta-romance, became controversial when her love scene was nearly obliterated. Some people thought Cruise tried to have it removed and even might have interrupted a Sundance screening.
Last year, she starred in the miserable and unfunny Mad Money in a terrible third banana part. It was a step down from her previous role in the indie hit Pieces of April, a pre-Cruise triumph that signaled a promising movie career.
Alas, all that seems over now. Katie starts work this week on The Extra Man, a comedy starring Kevin Kline and John C. Reilly. She’s playing pretty much fourth fiddle in The Extra Man, as Kline and Paul Dano are the main characters. Everyone involved says Katie’s part is small and requires very little work.
At 30-years-old, Holmes — who’s attractive, talented, and has name value — should be in the same category as Anne Hathaway, Amy Adams and Angelina Jolie as far as getting good starring roles. It can’t be for lack of trying on her agent’s part since she has the best in the business, Hilda Queally, of Creative Artists. Her turn in Batman Begins almost assured her of a lift into that group, but since her marriage, her career has become more like that of Kelly Preston, another youngish Hollywood wife who gave up the career fast track for family life.
Think back to mid September. I told you all about the taping of a great music special hosted by trumpet player Chris Botti with the Boston Pops and a lot of stars.
Sting, Steven Tyler, Josh Groban and Yo Yo Ma were just some of the guests featured over the two night event at Boston’s illustrious Symphony Hall.
On the second night, John Mayer swaggered out very Rat-Pack-like in a tuxedo and started to sing Frank Sinatra’s moody "Glad to Be Unhappy," with the orchestra. Seconds into the opening lyrics, an older man in the front rows — ironically named Lester Moody — keeled over. The show stopped cold. Luckily there were doctors and nurses in the audience. At first everyone thought the man had died. It was that serious.
So I am happy to tell you he survived. John Mayer not only didn’t kill him, but once Lester Moody was removed to the hospital, Mayer started over and finished nicely. Lester Moody is said to be doing very well and didn’t even have a heart attack.
All of this you will see beginning Saturday as PBS starts airing Chris Botti and Friends as a fundraiser. Last week, I watched a screening of the finished show with Chris and his manager, the great drummer Bobby Colomby from Blood, Sweat & Tears. (An aside: if you are too young, just download or buy BST’s famous album Child Is the Father to the Man. You’ll thank me.)
Besides saving the life of Mr. Moody, the special is pretty special for other reasons. Sting — blonde and just rested from the end of the Police tour — shows why he’s a rock star and a musician for all seasons. His "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You" is just spectacular, as is his work with YoYo Ma on "Fragile." Steven Tyler is absolutely wild on the Aerosmith hit "Crazy" and then very moving as he sings Charlie Chaplin’s "Smile" to his elderly father in the front row of the audience.
Botti is heavily featured on trumpet solos throughout. He’s a charming performer and ingratiating host. He sort of looks like a younger version of Sting. Because he’s not Wayne Shorter or Louis Armstrong, you’re not sure how his horn is going to sound. But his playing, and his enthusiasm, gets under your skin. He digs the music and you feel it.
As for Mayer, I was sitting with him and Jennifer Aniston the other night at the Vanity Fair Oscar party as he told Aniston and Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld the story of what happened on stage. Mayer, of course, was shocked that he’d had that effect on audience member. Forget about young girls fainting at rock concerts. He was thrilled to hear there was a happy ending. And he’ll be watching the finished product this weekend, too.
P.S. Chris Botti is really "like a rolling stone." He lives in hotels and hasn’t had an actual residence since 1999. Wild! He’s always on the road "with no direction home." But not "like a complete unknown," that’s for sure! He’ll be touring PBS stations as the special unspools. Check his schedule out.
While Vanity Fair, the Governor’s Ball, and Elton John cornered the market for specialized Oscar parties, what about Dani Janssen?
In case you don’t know, Dani and her late husband actor David Janssen — yes, the Fugitive! — started the whole Oscar party business years ago. Eventually it became the Swifty Lazar party at the old Spago. But when Swifty died, Vanity Fair took over the big gala. David Janssen died suddenly of a heart attack, and Dani — everyone’s favorite person in the Hollywood community — downsized to the most exclusive gathering in town on Oscar night.
And so it was on Sunday — and a great relief to her guests, I’m told, who felt cheated last year when Dani took a break because of the Writers Guild strike. Janssen herself remains as secretive as Dick Cheney when it comes to her guest list or menu, but my sources say that Jack Nicholson, Michael Douglas, Penny Marshall, Quincy Jones, Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon, comedian Don Rickles, Berry Gordy, Al Pacino, Whoopi Goldberg — who parked her motor home in Dani’s courtyard, and Shirley Maclaine all dined on Janssen’s homemade fried chicken and signature "monkey bread." Someone said Sophia Loren popped in, but I have no confirmation.
Who was missing? Dani’s bestest and oldest BFF, Clint Eastwood, who traveled to Paris to get the Palm D’or from the Cannes Film Festival, and then went on to South Africa. He’s directing Morgan Freeman there as Nelson Mandela. Clint’s "Gran Torino," the biggest money maker of the holiday season, was curiously snubbed by the Academy. But with "Mandela," he and Freeman should be back eating the monkey bread next year!
From yesterday: Is Warren Beatty making a new movie? Is Lindsay Lohan going to be in it? Did Warren really ask Lindsay to come stay in his house? Let’s put it this way: I may have go stay with Warren and Annette at this point! Knowing Beatty, until his next film is in the theatres, anything and nothing is possible. As Harvey Keitel likes to say when things get sensitive: "Keep off the grass." To all the bloggers out there who picked this up like it was the Second Coming: relax your posts. President Obama also spoke last night. Where were you on that? For the record: Lindsay loves Warren, her pals say. They met and hit it off. No offers at this time. To anyone…For anything!....
…Edgar Bronfman Jr.’s Warner M. Group hit an all time low on Tuesday of $1.58 low yesterday and finished the day at $1.79. Yesterday (Wednesday) the close was $1.85. This means — and I say this to Thomas Lee, the many who put the money into Warner Music Group—the stock price is now about the same as a single. Not an album, a SINGLE. A 45. In this case, the single would be the Doobie Brothers’ "What a Fool Believes." The B side would be ZZ Top’s "Tush."
…Want to hear something funny? Warner Music recently released some big anniversary digital box set thing. No one wanted it — possibly because no one knew about it. Originally, in December, you could buy 320 tracks plus some book for $320. Now it’s being offered on the WMG site for $199. There’s another offer for a booklet plus 10 CDs for $99. For the price of it, you could come over to my house, tape all the songs, buy about 300 shares of WMG stock, go to the next shareholders meeting and ask these people what the heck is really going on! Or, similarly, interview the writers of "Lost" and ask them.
I ran into Lyor Cohen a couple of times over Oscar weekend, and he was very well dressed and polite. He showed no signs of commanding a sinking ship. EBJr is now the grandfather to the new baby born to performer M.I.A. Maybe she can help him out. She’s signed to another label. I thought my news yesterday of the new impending Rob Thomas album would help the company. I guess I was wrong…
P.S. I just looked at the track listing for that 320 song box. If Motown had chosen songs this way for compilations, Berry Gordy would be homeless. ...