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Pierce Brosnan: My Name Is 'Poppy,' Not Bond

Pierce 'Poppy' Brosnan Rain Forest Weekend Notes

Pierce Brosnan: My Name Is 'Poppy', Not Bond

I guess we can't call Pierce Brosnan James Bond anymore. Or not until the folks who make the "007" spy series, the Broccoli family, decide their next move.

Brosnan's contract with them is over after four successful trips to the Bond fountain with "Die Another Day," "The World Is Not Enough," "Tomorrow Never Comes" and "GoldenEye."

But we can call him Poppy. His eldest stepchild, Christopher, who was the son of his late first wife Cassandra, now has a five-year-old son of his own.

This makes the 51-year-old former Remington Steele one of the youngest grandfathers around. But he told me last night at the premiere of his new romantic comedy, "Laws of Attraction," that he doesn't mind at all.

Poppy Pierce recently did have a talk with Quentin Tarantino about remaking "Casino Royale," the James Bond spoof that was first issued in 1967 when the real series was undergoing retooling.

The story was based on an Ian Fleming novel, but David Niven — not Sean Connery — played Bond, and an all-star cast of Ursula Andress, Peter Sellers, Deborah Kerr, William Holden, Jean-Paul Belmondo and even Woody Allen helped heap on the humor. Imagine what a cast Tarantino would assemble!

Of course, the big problem is that MGM owns all the rights to all the Bond films, even "Casino Royale." And MGM, as we speak, may be on its way to a takeover by Sony Pictures.

Confusing? You betcha. But Brosnan is ready for Tarantino "in a heartbeat."

In the meantime, he's on his way back to Mexico for what he termed a "grueling" five more weeks on the set of "The Matador," co-starring Hope Davis and Greg Kinnear.

"Have you seen [fill in the blank tourist attraction]?" someone asked him at the Rainbow Room afterparty last night. "Or gone to [fill in the blank resort]?"

"I haven't been anywhere or done anything," Brosnan said a little ruefully. But he does have a nice tan. And you thought being a movie star was glamorous!

Sting, Billy Joel, Bette Midler Singing in the Rain Forest

So we had Sting, James Taylor, Bette Midler, India.Arie, the legendary Jimmy Scott, Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith all on the stage at Carnegie Hall Wednesday night, seated at cafe tables with red-and-white checkered tablecloths, aside an orchestra led by such luminaries as Nile Rodgers, Hal Wilner, Narada Michael Walden and Jim Horn. And who stole the show?

Why, it was Billy Joel, of course. I kind of felt bad for Midler, who had to follow him, because Joel — as part of Trudie Styler's 19th annual Rainforest Foundation Show — managed to knock out such a spectacular and unexpected version of the Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody" that even he looked surprised when it was over.

"I can't believe I hit that note," he really exclaimed when the show was over. Had he rehearsed it? "A little bit, but I didn't want to give it away."

In a night of standing ovations, his was the loudest and longest with the possible exception of one for Michael J. Fox, who led the band through a rockin' version of "Johnny B. Goode," singing and playing guitar as if he had never had Parkinson's Disease. He is an unbelievable inspiration at this point. God bless Michael J. Fox!

(There was no need to worry about Bette, by the way. She rose to the occasion quite nicely.)

But it was that kind of night: I wish someone had taped it for an album, even with mistakes and raw vocals. The theme was songs from the movies, or "Singing in the Rainforest," get it?

The performers and their songs were, in no order, Sting ("Moon River"), Taylor ("The Way You Look Tonight," "Pennies From Heaven," "The Twist"), Elton John ("Love Letters," "Secret Love," "The Woody Woodpecker Song," "Pinball Wizard") Antonio ("Mona Lisa," "That's Amore"), Midler ("Lullabye of Broadway," "Wind Beneath My Wings," "The Rose"), India.Arie ("The Long and Winding Road"), Scott ("Over the Rainbow," "Someone to Watch Over Me").

Sting hit a delicious note singing two more Beatles movie songs, "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!," with Joel.

And yes, you had to see Elton wearing a plastic beak while he sang "The Woody Woodpecker Song." It was equal to the days when he used to dress up as the Statue of Liberty.

Banderas, who won a Tony for singing in "Nine" on Broadway, was the revelation of the night on "Mona Lisa." He's now starting to prepare for his next Broadway show, "Death Takes a Holiday," a musical by Maury Yeston based on the famous movie of the same name.

"I play Death," Antonio said, with a smile.

I have no idea why Griffith was on the stage, but it's not like she's hard to look at.

Styler, who invented this thing, has had four kids with Sting and is an actress, producer, activist and a force of nature, of course.  Yesterday, as this big $2 million event was ending, Trudie was heading to Rome to play Caesar's wife in a new movie.

Hey, why not? On the plane, she probably wrote a book, or invented some new fabric. If only someone could channel Trudie into books, she'd be the new Martha Stewart! (I mean, in a good way!)

Bianca Jagger, Kenny Loggins, Patti Smythe and John McEnroe, Robert Smigel — who put on a hilarious Triumph the Insult Comic Dog routine — plus Donna Karan and Richard Baskin, Ellen Barkin and Ronald Perelman, Ron Delsener, Jerry Inzerillo, Kelly LeBrock, Mark McEwen, Denise Rich, Sheila Rodgers (from the Letterman show) and Elton John's delightful other half, David Furnish, were also there.

At the auction during the post-dinner at the Pierre Hotel, by the way, guitars once owned by and signed by Sting and Bruce Springsteen went for a mere $15,000. But lunch with Dr. Ruth Westheimer for two couples — a promised, or make that threatened, discussion of sex — was sold for $20,000.

"More than anyone else," Dr. Ruth reminded me at the movie premiere last night with a jab to the abdomen.

Oh, and p.s.: Feeling old? Midler's 17-year-old daughter, Sophie, got into the college of her choice the other day. It's an Ivy League school, but I promised I wouldn't say which one. It's almost like a set up for a campy Midler comedy: "The Divine Miss M on Campus."

Weekend Notes: Mort Sahl, Bogart, and, Of Course, Jacko's Ham Sandwich

The saying goes: You can indict a ham sandwich. That's because grand juries never hear the defense's side of a case. They are only presented with the prosecution's material. We now have seven or so months to go before Michael Jackson's trial. I don't know if I can take seven months of blather on TV shows by people who are surmising one ridiculous thing or another. Maybe it's time to call a moratorium on supposition...

The legendary Mort Sahl has a bunch of gigs starting tonight at the Village Theatre at 158 Bleecker Street through May 2nd. Don't miss him...

Earlier this week, some patrons of the new hot watering hole Bogart's at 99 Park Avenue got to behold such Fox luminaries as Rita Cosby, Bill McCuddy and many Foxers taking a break between breaking stories. It was the bar's opening night, but since then it's been packed with newshounds and models...

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