He may have just won his second U.S. Open, but Tiger Woods is no alien. Nor is he an actor.
That’s the word from Barry Sonnenfeld, the talented director of such modern classic comedies as Get Shorty and The Addams Family.
Sonnenfeld told me the other night he'd planned to have the golfing superstar do a cameo in Men in Black 2.
"We wanted someone who could be either an alien or a human," Sonnenfeld said, "and you wouldn't know."
But Woods was too busy with his hectic golf schedule. Instead, Sonnenfeld turned to Michael Jackson to play the small guest-star bit.
In New York last week for the premiere of Adam Sandler's new movie, Sonnenfeld told me there was no truth to the much bandied-about story of how Jackson really got the part.
Last year, when Jackson was late turning in his album Invincible to Sony Music, sources insisted to me that he'd hijacked the master tapes and used them as ransom to get a part in Men in Black 2—which conveniently was a Sony movie.
"Not true," said Sonnenfeld, who was sitting at the premiere with John Calley, the legendary head of the studio.
"No way," said Calley.
But the story, which my sources stick to, is that Michael wanted a part in the movie and knew Sony wouldn't give it to him. So instead of turning in the tapes for Invincible as planned in early July, he had an assistant grab them back.
If you recall, Invincible was suddenly delayed for unspecified reasons at that time. This, I am told, was the reason.
Hey, in Jacko's world, stranger things have happened.
Calley also told me had no idea that there had been allegations Sony Music head Tommy Mottola had stolen music from Mariah Carey's Sony movie Glitter and handed it off to Jennifer Lopez.
I like these guys. They play it close to the vest. That's why when Men in Black 2 comes out in a couple of weeks, Sony will hit the jackpot. Expect a record-breaking opening weekend.
"I have three heroes," Sonnenfeld — dressed entirely in black — told Calley, who was in summer whites. "You, David Letterman, and [three-time CART champion] Bobby Rahal," he said.
Letterman is a major investor in Rahal's company, which is more than I knew previously about the very enigmatic talk-show host.
By the way, here's a little trivia for you: Before Sonnenfeld became a full-time director, the was the cinematographer on the first three Coen Brothers movies: Blood Simple, Raising Arizona and my personal favorite, Miller's Crossing.
He also made the picture look good on Penny Marshall's Big, and Rob Reiner's When Harry Met Sally… and Misery.
You'd think that Dame Judi Dench would be so tired after four Oscar nominations in a row that she'd kick back.
But no — she's currently starring in The Importance of Being Earnest with Colin Firth and Rupert Everett.
Then she's got the new James Bond flick, Die Another Day, in which she reprises her role as 007's boss, M.
After that, Dame Judi will hit the boards in London this fall with Dame Maggie Smith in David Hare's Breath of Life.
When she called in the other day, she told me that there shouldn't be any rumors about the two great ladies of British theater not getting along.
"We've been friends since we played the Old Vic together in the Sixties!” she said. "But since there are two of us maybe we'll fight over how many dressing rooms each of us gets."
As for Earnest, in which she's earning her usual raves, Dame Judi's done the play at least three times before on stage before committing it to film.
"I’ve played all the women's roles — Gwendolen, Cecily, and now Lady Bracknell. All that's left is old Miss Prism, I suppose!"
Her next movie role? She doesn't know yet.
"I'm waiting to hear from Harvey Weinstein," she said. So get on the horn, Harvey!
I have been asked to remind all of you that July 4th is publication day for Toby Young's hilarious memoir, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.
This very funny book details British Toby's adventures as a Vanity Fair writer. He spares no feelings, and in the end everyone — including editor-in-chief Graydon Carter — is ducking for cover.
How to Lose Friends is one of those books you know you can't write unless you've decided to move to another country and become a basket weaver.
Tony has done a little of that. He returned to the U.K., although he continues to write and review and mainly cause mischief. But this is the sort of mischief we need desperately.
Ironically, if he'd arrived in New York a few years earlier and worked for Carter at Spy magazine, today he'd be a star. But timing is everything. When Toby finally got here, Carter had sold out to the air-kiss gang. Tweaking the beaks of the rich and powerful was no longer interesting to him.
You can pre-order How to Lose Friends on Amazon. And over at www.gq-magazine.co.uk you can vote for him as GQ's (the English edition) writer of the year. Ian McEwan should really be the winner, but wouldn't it be fun if Toby was the surprise champ?
Everyone in the world probably knows Charles Strouse as the composer of the musical Annie and its famous songs "Tomorrow" and "It's the Hard-Knock Life." (I know — you thought Jay-Z wrote that!)
But Strouse, now 75, was a protégé of the legendary composer Aaron Copland. Even before Annie and his other major Broadway show, Bye Bye Birdie, Strouse had ambitions of being a force in classical music.
Now Strouse will get the chance to show his stuff.
On June 30th, the Boston Pops under conductor Keith Lockhart will debut Strouse's Concerto America at the famed Boston Symphony Hall. Much acclaimed pianist Jeffrey Biegel — who is well known for performing the restored "Rhapsody in Blue" from George Gershwin's 1942 manuscript — Jeffrey Biegel will be the featured player.
Strouse says he hopes to have the Concerto America performed in all fifty states after the debut in Massachusetts. He's already got North Carolina and Hawaii lined up.
Happy Birthday and All That Stuff
... to my pal Patricia Corrigan, the great writer and adventurer from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In her spare time (hah!) Pat writes children's books and also as a terrific book of essays called Convertible Dreams. They can all be found on Amazon …
SNL funnyman Dan Aykroyd turns 50 this weekend. I hear there's a lot of activity involving the Blues Brothers at Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut, as well as shows by Cyndi Lauper, Cher, Aretha Franklin, and Ray Charles. Special guest stars are expected as Mohegan makes a bold move to outfox rival neighbor Foxwoods …
Wyclef Jean's new album, Masquerade, is in stores, and if you don't get it you have no one but yourself to blame …
Congrats to the New York Post's Cindy Adams. How great that she got the scoop on J-Lo and her hubby breaking up! Cindy astounds and amazes, and no one works harder. You should see her out there in the trenches night after night ...
Finally, what is up with Matt Lauer's hair? The Today show host may have to summon in Ron Popeil for a little spray-on before July sweeps …