April 30: Madonna celebrates the release of her new CD "Hard Candy" with a performance at Roseland Ballroom in New York.
Madonna’s promoting her album "Hard Candy" and her ridiculous Africa documentary, but in the meantime, her worst nightmare is coming to film.
After much stalling, stopping and starting, "Unmade Men" has found a producer and director. The film, all about Miami nightclub owner Chris Paciello and how he turned out to be a murderer, will go before cameras this fall.
For several years before he was arrested, tried and convicted, Paciello was a regular member of Madonna’s posse and best friends with her and BFF Ingrid Casares. This was long before Madonna was British, which is why it may confuse younger folks.
Back in the day — specifically the mid '90s — Madonna dated Paciello and hung out with Casares, who also dated Madonna. The trio cut a wide swath through New York, and all the hot nightclubs.
But in 1993, Paciello — who was then still on Staten Island — masterminded a home break-in that resulted in the murder of Judith Shemtov. In 1999, after partying for most of the decade, Paciello was arrested on a racketeering charge of felony murder and bank robbery. It was revealed that he had been associated with the Bonanno crime family. It was like a real-life plot from "The Sopranos"; he was the original "Christofuh."
Paciello pleaded guilty in 2000 and is in the witness protection program.
For a while there was talk that "Stop Loss" director Kimberly Peirce had optioned New York Daily News writer Michelle McPhee’s book, "Mob Over Miami," and was going to make the film. But that fell apart, and there were even rumors — unfounded — that Madonna herself wanted to produce the film.
But now that she’s trying to look upstanding to Malawi adoption officials, Madonna undoubtedly will not be keen on seeing this unfortunate chapter of her life retold on a 70 mm screen. Nevertheless, it’s going to happen.
Fittingly, a director has been secured and will be announced shortly — one with credits from, a ha — "The Sopranos." Casting is set to begin, with a start date of early fall. Still to be decided: who will play the famous trio, and who, in particular, will play Madonna? Whoever it is, seeing all this come back will be a hard candy for the Material Mom to swallow, that’s for sure.
Meanwhile, however Madonna’s short promo show went Wednesday night at Roseland, it obviously wasn’t meant to last long in the public eye for scrutiny. MSN.com, which showed the performance live, had it offline the minute it was done.
Who knew that Ang Lee, the Chinese-born director of such serious films as "Brokeback Mountain," "The Ice Storm" and "Sense & Sensibility," was really a comedian at heart?
At Wednesday night’s black-tie dinner for the Museum of the Moving Image, Ang Lee was set to toast his frequent collaborator/writer/producer James Schamus. But he was thrown a bit when he was told there would not be the usual reel of film clips to riff off of. He’d have to come up with a speech to fill the time.
And so, Ang Lee, the director also of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," who usually appears shy and reticent, riffed on the famously bow-tied Schamus, who’s also a film professor at Columbia University.
"Where are the film clips?" Lee asked from the podium with despair. Then he began a mini roast: "I really don’t know what James does," Lee quipped. "And I don’t care."
He did tell the story of meeting Schamus and then-partner Ted Hope when they started Good Machine productions. "I just hoped they wouldn’t steal my money," he said.
Schamus, for his part, got in a good zinger when he took the mike. "I started working with Ang when he couldn’t speak English." He paused. "It was easier then."
Universal chief Ron Meyer, David Linde and NBC’s Jeff Zucker all came to the dinner for Schamus, who’s working with Lee on a movie about Woodstock.
The Lee roast was preceded by similar honors for 13-year Showtime leader and all-around good guy Matt Blank, who’s masterminded the cable network’s successes with "Weeds," "Californication," "Dexter" and many other shows.
Blank brought along Tracey Ullman, Edie Falco, NPR’s Ira Glass and Michael C. Hall, aka "Dexter," along with family and friends. For some unclear reason, legendarily poetic boxing promoter Don King also turned up, took a table toward the side of the room, waved a small American flag around and talked loudly into his iPhone.
Ullmann, whose Showtime series is a hit, recounted meeting Karl Rove at last weekend’s Correspondents Dinner in New York.
"I re-enacted the Laurie David attack he received at last year’s dinner, when she yelled at him and Sheryl Crow pushed him in the chest." Added Tracey: "He loved it!"
The Tony deadline fast approaches, but one theater writer in New York has gotten a reputation for needing perhaps a Breathalyzer test before he settles into his orchestra seat.
"He comes over from Angus McIndoe bar, and you can smell the alcohol on his breath," says a peer of this anyway very unpopular fellow. And they call Broadway "the fabulous invalid!"