Published May 12, 2004
Jerry Seinfeld, comic-book hero Superman and director Barry Levinson have joined forces once again.
The trio will unveil their latest American Express commercial/full-length video later this month. Last time Seinfeld and Superman were seen palling around Manhattan, with the former giving a lot of grief to the latter.
In the new film, the pair goes on a road trip through the desert. And this time, I'm told Superman gets even more George Costanza -like treatment from Seinfeld. Of course, they will have to use the Amex card to help them with their adventures.
The second video will appear at www.americanexpress.com/jerry on May 20. Undoubtedly there will be more of these, including, I'm sure, episodes in which Superman will be asked to participate in a celibacy contest, re-run a high-school track race and use his X-ray vision for less-than-heroic purposes. Bring them on!
Kevin Spacey's older brother, Randy Fowler, whom I told you about last week, is getting ready to shop around his book.
Fowler didn't write the book himself. Instead he joined forces with a published author, Jack Ewing, who has known him for nine years and also lives in Boise, Idaho.
The book details the horrific life Randy says he and his siblings had with their father, Thomas Fowler, who he claims sexually and mentally abused him. Fowler senior, according to Randy and to stories sources attribute to Spacey from the early '90s, was a member of the American Nazi Party.
In the book, which Ewing is presently showing to prospective agents, Randy was taken in high school by his parents to a "Nazi-style" restaurant in Los Angeles.
"It was recruiting night," says Ewing, who worked from dozens of tapes which Randy recorded recalling his father and those early years.
The book makes no suggestion that Spacey, who is 3½ years younger than Randy, was subject to the same abuse.
"Kevin is a mystery to his family and to the public," says Ewing.
But Spacey did tell friends in the theatre world some 15 years ago that his father was a member of the American Nazi Party and that he had a large collection of the group's books and other souvenirs.
Unfortunately for Randy, most of that material is gone. He says Spacey, whom he has seen or spoken to only a handful of times since Kevin left home in 1980, confiscated all of his father's papers except for a few books. But Randy, according to Ewing, has been almost compulsive about documenting his life.
"It's almost an obsession," says Ewing. "He's a very honest guy."
Randy told me on Monday that, contrary to press reports, he is not a Rod Stewart impersonator. He just resembles Stewart, mostly because of his high hair.
In the past Fowler has been a graphic designer. Currently he holds a clerical job. I asked him what he might say to those would accuse him of trying to cash in on his brother's fame.
"I waited my whole life to tell this story, and I waited until both of our parents were dead. I could have sold it before, but I didn't," he said. "The book is not about Kevin Spacey, but about a child who no one helped. It's about living in silence."
Randy says, by the way, that it was true very little mention was made of his mother's death last year. This was odd, considering how often she had accompanied Spacey to public events.
"She was buried in Forest Lawn in Los Angeles," he says, "but Kevin didn't tell any of her friends. He didn't want any press there, so the only people at her funeral were us and his staff from Trigger Street Productions. It was like an awards show."
It can't be easy living in Tim Russert 's house this week. The NBC TV journalist and host of "Meet the Press" has a new book out this week from Miramax Publishing.
A memoir about growing up with his dad's advice, "Big Russ and Me: Father and Son Life Lessons" is already No. 4 on Amazon.com.
But Russert's wife, Maureen Orth, also has a book out this week. It's a compilation of her Vanity Fair articles, a couple of which I've criticized in this space. That book is listed at No. 6,000 or so on Amazon.
Last night, though, Orth greeted guests at Russert's swanky book party at the Four Seasons with a frozen smile. Nice crowd, too: Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, NBC's Matt Lauer, Al Roker and Brian Williams, CBS "Early Show" producer Steve Friedman, Harry Evans and Tina Brown, book agents Joni Evans and Esther Newberg, talent agent George Hiltzik, Jack Welch with new wife Suzy Wetlaufer, a grim-looking Henry Kravis, MSNBC news chief Rick Kaplan and so on all stayed to hear remarks by editor Jonathan Burnham, as well as Harvey Weinstein's reminiscences about knowing Russert for almost 25 years dating back to their days in Buffalo.
Pitched to Father's Day next month, look for Russert's book to take off à la "Tuesdays With Morrie."
The newest tax filing for the National Board of Review, the controversial fans' group that gives out movie awards every December, is pretty interesting. Usually it's full of fun stuff about the money the group reports and spends as a quote-unquote "not for profit" organization.
But the new filing is also fun for its Board of Directors list. Instead of submitting a new amended list, the group simply put in the old one with three names scratched off: Lois Ballon, Marion Green and Victoria Wilson.
Ballon and Wilson, I told you in January, were forced off the board for different reasons. But Green — with a tony Upper East Side address and no film-critic credits or any other credentials — was a mystery.
"I am still on the board. Lois Ballon has been gone a long time; it was a case of desertion," she said without explanation when I called her. "Victoria Wilson, I don't know why she left. But I am still there and plan on staying."
(Ballon, who tells me she just got out of the hospital, declined to comment. "I don't care," she said.)
How to explain the very definite line someone has drawn through Green's name, address and phone number?
"I don't know, but thank you for calling up and pointing it out to me," she said.
And, oh yes: The group managed to spend $156,000 last year, most of it ($124,000) on screenings of Hollywood releases — even though the studios usually pay for those screenings and offer the NBR biddies lunch or dinner as well as private meetings with the casts and directors of award hopefuls.
There is also, as usual, no accounting or annotation for their annual gala at Tavern on the Green, where tickets run around $400 per person and the press, as you can imagine, is banned. They finished last year with a deficit of $12,592, but paid rent to someone unnamed of $16,352.
It didn't take long, did it?
Two of Michael Jackson's former managers, Ronald Konitzer and Dieter Wiesner, are said to be behind a new Web site hawking Jacko-related merchandise. The site, called mjsinnocent.net, just went up on the Web with lots of T-shirts and other junk for sale proclaiming Michael's innocence.
The site states that it's owned by Christian Robinson and Ian Barkley, two employees of Jackson's videographer Marc Schaffel. But the site is registered to a company in British Columbia, home to Konitzer. My source says Konitzer and Wiesner are the real owners. They were cut out of Jackson's life and business affairs last December. Ka-ching!