Jennifer Lopez gets a bad rap as a diva. When we hear friends dispute this on TV shows and in interviews, it's hard to believe that J-Lo is down to earth, right?
But highly regarded director Lasse Hallström told me the other night that he was pleasantly surprised by Lopez's behavior on the set of his "An Unfinished Life."
The Miramax film, set for release next year, co-stars Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman among others.
Hallström, who is Swedish and not known for tolerating craziness on sets such as those of "The Cider House Rules," "Chocolat," or "What's Eating Gilbert Grape", said Lopez was extremely professional with him.
"I'll tell you, she came to work," he said at the Governor's Ball following the Emmy awards show. "She's very interested in being a good actress."
Hallström's wife, the stunning and talented actress Lena Olin , chimed in over dinner.
"You know that Lasse would never tolerate a diva on his set," she said.
Why was this power couple from the world of motion pictures lighting up such a dreary event as the Emmy Awards? Olin was nominated for her role as Jennifer Garner 's mother on "Alias."
Alas, the part is over, Olin reports, and she will not be returning. (She was last seen jumping off a building to escape capture.)
Hallström and Olin were not the only movie people to brighten the Emmys.
Robin Williams, William H. Macy, Alfre Woodard, Chris Cooper and Brooke Adams were a few of the others. Wasn't it interesting that these big stars were significantly better behaved, more cooperative, friendlier and more professional than many of the so-called TV stars who trooped up the red carpet Sunday afternoon?
I can think of a couple of "big" TV names who will soon end their series and fade from public interest — and who did nothing to endear themselves to anyone at the Emmys.
By the way, Hallström — who is a man of few words — says the Redford of his movie is unlike anything we've seen before, even with all his successes.
"He's completely different and new," Hallström says. "He's going to blow you away."
France's biggest movie star may be on his way out of the country he's always called home.
Gerard Depardieu told me on Sunday at the Emmy Awards that he's going to be calling it quits and seeking citizenship in Switzerland.
We were standing in the lobby of the Shrine Auditorium. Depardieu, an international movie star, was sort of bobbing and weaving as female fans persistently came to him for autographs and snapshots.
You may wonder what Depardieu was doing at the Emmy Awards at all. He was one of the stars and a producer of a nominated movie, "Napoleon," although that still doesn't quite explain his presence. It's not as if he's been to the Oscar ceremonies in the past.
"Napoleon" also starred John Malkovich, who is American but lives in the Provence region of France. Depardieu told me he thought Malkovich was also getting ready to bolt, although from what I heard this summer in Provence, Malkovich may have different reasons for leaving.
Is Depardieu departing his homeland because of taxes?
"No! Not for taxes!" he cried. "For my family!"
Depardieu was not the only one hanging around the Shrine lobby, making it almost more interesting than the Emmy show going on inside. "Alias" star Garner got trapped in a crowd as she entered, and had to untangle herself when a stranger stepped on her train.
Alicia Silverstone fell into a conversation with Emmy nominee — and eventual winner — Macy, who realized maybe he'd spent too much time loitering.
"You know the big fear is they're calling my name right now," he laughed. "We'd better get back inside."
At one point I ran smack into Jon Stewart, who was carrying not one but two Emmy statuettes for his "Daily Show" on Comedy Central.
"I have to say, I'm a little surprised how heavy these things are," Stewart quipped before making his way back to his seat.
Did anyone else notice that three of the five nominees for actress/guest star in a comedy were the ladies from the "Mary Tyler Moore Show?" I do mean Cloris Leachman, Betty White and Georgia Engel. The MTM legacy lives on.
Leachman already has seven Emmys on her shelf at home, as well as an Oscar for "The Last Picture Show." Of course, she was also the star of a couple of Mel Brooks classics, including "Young Frankenstein."
Simon Cowell, of "American Idol" fame, had never heard of her — he's British, so that's an excuse — but he took to her immediately upon meeting at the Fox party at Morton's.
Leachman told us some stories we can't repeat. Some, shall we say, 35 years ago or more, she was part of a hot group in Hollywood. Her husband, George Englund, had a famous affair with Joan Collins, who was engaged for a short time to Warren Beatty, who was sleeping with Natalie Wood, who was married to Robert Wagner. Marlon Brando was part of that scene because he was Englund's best friend. Small world, huh?
"The men I didn't sleep with were more interesting than the ones I did," Leachman declared, using a far more pungent verb than "sleep with," but I've cleaned it up for family consumption. Long live Leachman! She'd better write a book.
Yes, that was "Queer Eye" fashion maven Carson Kressley getting the star treatment yesterday at lunch at Morton's in Beverly Hills. He was at a power table of agents following the Emmy show discussing future moves.
In the same room, legendary producer Norman Lear, who stopped by the table and exclaimed, "What is this thing everyone's talking about?"
A few feet away: "Curb Your Enthusiasm" director David Steinberg lunching with TV mover and shaker Peter Lassally. No wonder Morton's is still considered the No. 1 power room in town.