Jennifer Lopez Begs Pardon, Sings Mottola's Tune
Jennifer Lopez may not know it, but she's contributed to the controversial presidential pardon of billionaire fugitive Marc Rich.
How? Lopez's current single, ironically titled "Love Don't Cost a Thing," was produced by Ric Wake, the W in W&R Productions.
The company belongs to Rich's ex-wife Denise, who gave millions to the Democratic National Committee and to the Clinton/Gore campaigns. Denise lobbied Clinton to pardon her ex-hubby, who fled the U.S. in 1983 rather than face charges of racketeering and pay back taxes.
"Love Don't Cost a Thing" may also be fraudulent advertising, or a misstatement at the very least. You see, love did cost Jennifer something. Four tracks (plus a bonus track on the Japanese version) of her just- released album were produced by her now former lover and defendant Sean "Puffy" Combs. Combs' company, Bad Boy Entertainment, will get a cut of the action if the album, called J.Lo, sells well.
Meanwhile, seven of the songs on J.Lo have Lopez's name in the songwriting credits, revealing a new talent which the star of Friday's Wedding Planner had not previously revealed. I look forward to her appearance on VH1's Storytellers as she recounts how these songs were composed.
Some of the songs on J.Lo, in fact, credit up to eight writers. Eight! This must be some kind of mind-blowing advance for pop music since two (maybe three, occasionally) is the number of writers on most hits.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote "Yesterday" and "Help," for example. Smokey Robinson wrote "My Girl." Carole King and Gerry Goffin wrote "Up on the Roof" and Carole wrote "You've Got a Friend" by herself. Imagine if all of these writers had had help from six other people! How much better those songs could have been!
One song on the album, called "Ain't it Funny," is credited to Lopez, songwriter Cory Rooney and Sony CEO Tommy Mottola. This song title may be also be meant to be ironic. It is, however, the first time in recent memory that a label CEO got one of his songs on an artist's album. Now, ain't that funny? We'll have to ask Rooney.
As I've said, Lopez has her new album out this week, along with a new movie on Friday The Wedding Planner, with Matthew McConaughey, which is absolutely dreadful. Nevertheless, she has a career to think about. So testifying in Puffy's weapon possession trial is not a role she wants to have an audience for. She is, according to reports, "out of town."
This really means: "Cheese it! It's the cops!"
Mitchell Fink wrote in the Daily News that Lopez and Combs are pfffft — over. So what about Puffy? Well, he still has two children by two different mothers and a huge entourage, so he won't be lonely.
I am told that prosecutor Matthew Bogdanus is determined to see Combs get some kind of real punishment from this trial. But ah, how different New York is from Los Angeles: No cameras or paparazzi in the courtroom, and a strictly enforced gag order. You remember Judge Ito's gag order in the O.J. Simpson case: It lasted maybe 20 minutes.
Movie star Sam Neill came to Park City, Utah, for an indie film he's in called The Dish. Low-profile and subdued, Neill is nevertheless a star. He was in the first Jurassic Park film and on July 18 he'll appear as Dr. Alan Grant again in the third installment. And that should be it for the dinosaur series.
"We signed for three originally," he told me the other night. "No more. There are no plans for a fourth."
Although the movies made him well known, he's been in a lot of other hits including A Cry in the Dark, The Piano, Dead Calm, Sirens, The Horse Whisperer, and the great British mini-series Reilly: The Ace of Spies.
As for the former, Neill conceded that he doesn't understand how the line: "A dingo ate my baby!" has become such a popular punch line in comedy routines. "I mean, it's not funny," he said. "It's really sick."
Nevertheless, even he gets a laugh out of it now. As for his co-star Meryl Streep, "You know she had an absolutely perfect Australian accent. It was amazing." Yes, we know, we know ...
(A little gossip: Neill was one of the guests at Premiere magazine's very hot cocktail party Monday night. So was Bruce Dern, father of Laura Dern, who co-stars with Neill in Jurassic Park and JP3. When I mentioned Laura's name to Dern père, he kind of grimaced and walked away. Later he seemed uninterested in talking even with Neill. What this is about, I don't know, but the follically-challenged Dern also managed to sport what seemed to be a double baseball cap, and kept his coat on during the party even while he ate.)
So what of Neill now? He's done very well thanks to Jurassic Park. He has two homes, one in Australia and one in New Zealand. He has a winery in the latter country, called Two Paddocks, that has a Web site. And when the Jurassic Park producers sent him a large motorized raptor, Neill was able to employ some skills his character was supposed to know, "The thing was all bent out of shape when it arrived, but I was able to bang it back together."
And he is happy that he's never actually been a movie star.
"I've never been red-hot," he joked. "I've always been sort of medium, tepid. It's much better that way. I can't imagine what being really hot would be like."
David Boies, the incredibly gifted lawyer who beat Bill Gates but couldn't save Al Gore, has signed a book deal. Boies will write his memoirs for Tina Brown at Talk/Miramax books.
Brown sent out a press release with a good quote: "David Boies is General Patton in a suit." Indeed, Boies has been of interest to this writer for some time. If his book details in layman's terms how he navigated the Microsoft suit for the Justice Department, it should be very interesting reading.
Boies, of course, was unsuccessful in his efforts to help Al Gore overturn the voter results in Florida. Whether or not you agree or disagree with what happened there, an inside look at all things chad is guaranteed hot stuff. Boies also prosecuted Michael Milken and defended CBS against Gen. William Westmoreland in famous cases.