Published December 07, 2004
This story should be all about the premiere of Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby," but somehow Kevin Bacon and James Woods hijacked it.
The scene was the stark and unappealing new lobby of the Museum of Modern Art on Sunday night.
Clint, a few months shy of 75, but still looking like the movie-star version of a lone Wild West sheriff, was natty in a blue suit. His lovely wife Dina, a former newscaster, actually held the microphone for him out of habit during an interview with a TV crew.
The star of the movie, Hilary Swank, was making her way along the red carpet with attentive husband Chad Lowe.
That's when Bacon and Woods collided in front of Eastwood.
Bacon, who's 46 and has the lithe body of an 18-year-old, thanks to all that "Footloose" dancing, sported a large and noticeable bandage along his brow.
"How'd you get that?" I asked him.
"The wife clocked me," he said with a laugh, referring to Kyra Sedgwick.
He did not elaborate when asked again. Sedgwick was across town in a slinky gown at the John Travolta dinner.
Woods, always peripatetic, arrived with his brother Michael and immediately complimented Bacon — who was wearing an open-collar white dress shirt while other men wore ties — on his performance in "The Woodsman."
"You're going to be a big star. All you have to do is get a tie and you'll be all set," Woods said.
Bacon grimaced, but that was when Woods noticed the bandage.
"I'll tell you a story," Woods said, pulling in even those of us not completely in the circle around Bacon and Eastwood.
That included the elegant and austere Morgan Freeman, as well as Dina Eastwood, who was the only woman in the group.
Woods proceeded to tell a prolonged — and unprintable — joke, concerning the removal of a strange protuberance from someone's forehead.
I watched Eastwood, who was watching his wife, as Woods gleefully spilled the crude punch line.
Eastwood, who has a ruddy complexion, turned crimson. Dina Eastwood coughed and excused herself. Everyone had a good laugh.
Of course, we still don't know how Bacon cut his forehead.
Timing is everything. Hilary Swank plays a boxer in "Million Dollar Baby," but says she didn't spar with husband Chad Lowe.
"Never," she said, and he did a mock version of jabbing.
She talked about having lunch with one of the movie's actors, Lucia Rijker, after production was completed.
Rijker is a four-time world champion kickboxer and a junior welterweight boxing champion of the Women's International Boxing Federation.
"She couldn't believe how girlie I was in real life," the beautiful Hilary said.
Rijker, who is pretty but is also built like a tank, with incredible biceps, confirmed this.
"On the set, she didn't even wear makeup. It was all training. Then I saw her afterward and I couldn't believe it," she said.
The "Million Dollar Baby" premiere attracted the star of another Warner Brothers movie, Andy Garcia of "Ocean's Twelve," as well as a number of Warner execs, who were busy congratulating each other on Clint's success.
Warner Brothers is in a crucial situation this Christmas, with only "Million Dollar Baby" to count on for unstinting accolades. It doesn't seem to occur to any of them that Eastwood has been an independent producer at the studio for some 30 years.
The studio has not always been there for him. Think "Space Cowboys," "Blood Work" or "True Crime," Clint's Warner releases after he won the Oscar for "Unforgiven." He was abandoned and he almost left.
But, ah, how times have changed. "Mystic River" worked last year, and now "Million Dollar Baby" should produce Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Screenplay. Warner Brothers is now basing its artistic hopes for the second year in a row on a 74-year-old maverick.
"I think it's because I'm the only one not making sequels," Clint said with narrowed eyes.
Well, there were five "Dirty Harry" movies, but that was a long time ago.
How does he feel about the potential for back-to-back Oscar nominations?
"From your lips to God's ear," he said.
Certainly one of the funnier moments in "Alexander" is when Anthony Hopkins describes the journey to India.
He says something like, "We met little hairy men. They called them monkeys."
Later, one of Alexander's soldiers announces in a Scottish brogue, "I won't fight your little monkey-men."
But would Alexander be ready for a real Monkee?
Mickey Dolenz, drummer and often lead singer for '60s pop quartet the Monkees, has a new job. He starts January 10th as a morning man on WCBS-FM, the famous New York oldies station at 101.1 FM.
Mickey recently moved to New York with Donna, his gorgeous wife of two years. He immediately took Broadway by storm in Elton John's "Aida." Now he's adding "disc jockey" to his resume.
Is this job a "stepping stone"? I sure hope so. I'm still a believer, after all. And if we're lucky, maybe legendary DJ Harry Harrison will drop by from time to time.
I'm always amazed about how many people know about BernardWatch.com.
My FOX colleague Bill McCuddy, another timepiece maven, and I are always taking a look to see what deals Jeff Bernard has uploaded.
Now I see that Bernard has done the smart thing and designed his own line of watches that just went on sale.
They're called Avier. There are four styles, but one called the Torino is already on my Hanukkah list. Watch freaks will tell you that Aviers are the "real" thing as they contain automatic and not quartz movements.
Elsewhere on the Web: Dick Sequerra is still selling his glorious Met 7.7 Mark 5 stereo speakers for $750. Dick makes speakers for $90,000 too, but that's for rock stars and CEOs.
He was one of the co-founders of the original Marantz Company. But the Met 7.7s are like a little gift for us peons who can only dream about magnificent hi-fidelity. Put down that circular from your local stereo chain store and take a flyer on www.sequerra.com.