Bruce Willis is having a good year, career-wise. He’s got an excellent film in "16 Blocks" and a very cool, interesting one in the upcoming "Lucky Number Slevin."
Last night’s premiere at the Ziegfeld and subsequent after-party — a maddening crush to say the least — at the Royalton Hotel shows that he’s on a roll.
He’s also, by the way, the lead voice in Dreamworks Animation’s "Over the Hedge."
"It’s great," Bruce said proudly, "a real hit." There’s also Nick Cassavetes’ "Alpha Dog," which got raves at Sundance.
But he’s not dating supermodel Petra Nemcova. When I mentioned that I’d read about them in the tabs, he scoffed. "I wish," he said. "I’m just an old actor."
Well, not quite, and his age didn’t prevent a bevy of young beauties from following him around. When I asked how his daughters were, he said, "Great. Here’s one now."
Very funny. It was beautiful young actress Tamara Feldman, who’s got a role in "Perfect Stranger" with Bruce and Halle Berry, now shooting.
Another young woman in their group said she was a model named Lesly from Ford Models. "But I can’t talk to you," she said when I asked for a last name. "They told me about you."
Whatever could she mean?
Anyway, Josh Hartnett is the actor upon whom "Lucky Number Slevin" hangs, and he acquits himself nicely as a leading man.
While the thriller sometimes drifts into Tarantino-land, Hartnett comes across like a mix of a young Gary Cooper and Clint Eastwood. His agents must smell success: a raft of Creative Artists-types flew to New York for this premiere, and they let Josh know he wasn’t going anywhere.
What’s next? The biggest project may be a bio of jazz great Chet Baker, directed by Bruce Beresford, a role Brad Pitt was always said to covet but never got off the ground.
And Harnett’s also in "Black Dahlia," which will either be Brian DePalma’s comeback or his farewell. He’s a nice kid, and he’s still dating Scarlett Johansson. That’s all I know.
Other stars at the Slevin premiere: Danny Aiello, who makes a long, welcome cameo appearance in the film. There were also rumors that Colin Farrell was spotted at the Royalton, but no confirmation.
Meanwhile, "Slevin" co-star Lucy Liu: she’s so nice that she offered to take my overcoat and hold on to it so I could wander around the Royalton party (later, she refused the $1 tip I offered her for being such a good coat check girl).
She also chatted up some of the "Slevin" investors, taking pictures with them. I told her that the audience cheered when they saw her name on the screen. She has a cult following. But does she ever get confused with Lisa Ling?
"I love Lisa," Lucy said. "We went to school together in Beijing, at the Beijing Normal School."
She also said she’s studying Italian, because she’s enjoyed visiting that country. Among the cities she’s seen: Lake Como, where George Clooney lives. Let’s start a rumor, shall we?
Finally, Sir Ben Kingsley, another of the Slevin co-stars, told us something pretty interesting. He’s not happy that he’s listed in the opening credits as "Sir Ben Kingsley."
"You’re not supposed to do that," he said when I asked if he was using the honorific professionally. "It’s wrong and it should be changed. It caused a big stir at home when they found out."
Alas, it’s not grounds to take back his knighthood. Someone will to have call Buckingham Palace and smooth this over when "Lucky Number Slevin" opens there.
Contrary to reports you may have seen elsewhere, Sting is not planning any orgies, private or otherwise.
(Not like I know a lot about this, but I imagine that if you’re setting up an orgy, the last person you would do it with is a blabbermouth. I mean, how would you stay in business? Just asking…)
And Sting is not going to be the owner of a burlesque club that’s coming to Manhattan. Sting and his wife Trudie Styler are considering an offer to be among many, many investors in the New York edition of Ivan Kane’s popular L.A. and Las Vegas club, 40 Deuce.
Readers of this column may recall my report on a wildly fun night I spent with Trudie, Sting, Bob Geldof, Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas at the Hollywood edition of 40 Deuce a couple of years ago.
Believe me, 40 Deuce is great fun, but it’s also quite tame. Call it "Eyes Wide Open."
As for orgies, the most complicated group situation Sting is getting into in the near future is a reading he’s doing with Trudie on Monday at the New Victory Theatre on Broadway. The pair will read the letters of Clara and Robert Schumann as reinterpreted by playwright John Caird in his play "Twin Spirits."
Jonathan Pryce joins the couple in the reading, and all proceeds will go to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Violinist Joshua Bell, soprano Barbara Bonney, baritone Thomas Meglioranza, cellist Alisa Weilerstein and pianists Jeremy Denk and Natasha Paremski provide the musical part of the evening. That’s some orgy!
Call Ticketmaster, where most orgy ducats are sold, or the New Victory directly.
After the show, Sting returns to Italy, where he’s working on his new album. But Trudie stays in New York for a one-time only staging of a new play on April 3 at the Promenade Theater on the Upper West Side.
Chris Sarandon (yes, he’s Susan’s ex, and a fine well-known actor) and Jessica Hecht (you know her from "Friends") co-star with Trudie in "Addictions," written by Tricia Walsh-Smith and directed by Peter DuBois. Proceeds from that night will benefit the Caron Foundation, the famous rehab facility.
So what of all the strip shows and orgies, the open marriage and the wild sex life of Sting and Trudie?
I don’t know if they want me to burst the bubble, but it’s a lot of talk, and in England they call it "taking the p-ss."
They’re having fun with us staid Americans, and getting a lot of laughs at our expense. You might like to know that they have six children combined, and they are all in and out of each of the couple’s many homes, there’s lots of love and they’re just real folks with millions of dollars and great, great cheekbones.
Oh, and one more thing: Sting recently finished an 18-month tour, has worked a guest on several projects with friends like Sheryl Crow and Sam Moore and is now writing a new album.
Hello? And did I mention that Trudie produced the Robert Downey film "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints," which First Look will release in September. What have you done recently?
I guess people missed this on Monday, so I will again state Isaac Hayes’ case. He had a minor stroke in January and is now at home for rehab and recuperation.
As close friends told me over the weekend, he did not resign from "South Park" or issue any kind of press release to that effect. Although headlines like "Hayes Gives the Shaft to 'South Park'" are funny, they are inaccurate.
Here’s the problem: Hayes is no longer managed by Bruce Garfield at Avenue Management. All of the communication from him comes through a woman named Christina "Kumi" Kimball, a fashion executive for designer Craig Taylor, another Scientologist.
Kimball herself is a devoted member of the Church of Scientology. She even maintains a Web site extolling its virtues. If any announcement was made about Hayes and "South Park," it came from her.
As I wrote on Monday: Hayes loves "South Park" and needs it for income. He has a new wife and a baby on the way.
Before the public and the media buy this whole brouhaha, I beseech everyone to take a step back and see what actually went on here. Many times, things are not as they seem. And that is definitely the case with this story.
The only good news in this story is that Isaac, according to friends, is doing very well. He’s attending to business and getting back on his feet. Hopefully, he’ll be dishing up Chef like a gourmet again in no time.
Sean "Diddy" Combs is having more trouble with his record company. A judge ordered a halt on Friday to any more sales or downloads of Bad Boy Records’ biggest selling album, "Ready to Die" by the Notorious B.I.G.
Apparently, the title track samples a song by the Ohio Players. The judge ruled that Bad Boy never paid for the sample or licensed it properly. The Ohio Players, their record and publishing companies were awarded $4 million as well by the jury in the case.
Bad Boy is relying totally on its catalog sales at the moment, so this is a blow. But these are the perils of sampling and not writing your own material, friends.
To make this column have total symmetry, I will remind you that Diddy’s biggest hit single ever, "I’ll Be Missing You," was a re-do of Sting’s Police hit, "Every Breath You Take."
Diddy got zilch for covering the song and adding a rap (although he did get rapped on the knuckles for not asking first). The copyright for "I’ll Be Missing You" is registered with BMI simply to Sting and no one else.