Here's the word from the world of film: "Brokeback Mountain" star Heath Ledger is supposedly joining the cast of "I'm Not There," the Bob Dylan biopic in which six actors play the legendary singer-songwriter.
Colin Farrell is still listed with the cast, although he's spent much of the last few months either in rehab, finishing up "Miami Vice" or simply tangled up in blue, as Dylan would sing.
"I'm Not There" is written and directed by Todd Haynes, who made the wonderfully inventive "Far From Heaven" a couple of years ago.
None of the actors is going to actually play Dylan alone, as a character. Indeed, the screenplay calls for six different people to play the legendary singer-songwriter, including Cate Blanchett, Richard Gere and Christian Bale.
Julianne Moore, also in the film, is set to play another role (not Dylan), sources tell me.
The fact that John Lennon was recently represented by six actors in a failed Broadway musical is of no consequence to Haynes and company. “We had the idea first,” an insider told me.
The script also calls for the use of more than a dozen Dylan songs, which will be chosen by Haynes from the songwriter’s huge catalogue.
Dylan is said to be so enthusiastic about the project that he’s given up his half of the publishing income to make the budget work. The other half is owned by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, and they’re not giving up anything. After all, some of it will go toward paying Michael Jackson’s debt.
And don’t worry; the songs will not be sung by the actors. Many well-known acts like The White Stripes and Aimee Mann will get a shot at re-interpreting Dylan’s work.
Tom Cruise was all over New York yesterday, dressed in various costumes and taking on many guises.
But when he was finished promoting “Mission: Impossible 3,” he was outta here.
As soon as the screening began at the Ziegfeld Theater, Cruise was on his way to Los Angeles. He skipped dinner with his cast, as well as the big party at Gustavino’s that director J.J. Abrams and star Philip Seymour Hoffman attended.
Cruise, after all, had done his job. He appeared on “Good Morning America” and “Live with Regis and Kelly” wearing a cream-colored Little Lord Fauntleroy suit, complete with a powder blue V-neck sweater and a tie.
It was a little weird, but no weirder than his reluctance to sit in one of the stools at "Live." At 5 feet 7 inches, Cruise was probably afraid his feet would dangle. Instead, he did the whole show with his right foot on the ground, and he leaned into the stool.
He looked very uncomfortable, but no more so than the audience members, who had to overcome Cruise's three bodyguards to get autographs. Seriously, did Tom think he was going to be mugged during the show?
Later, he traveled around town by subway, fire engine, zeppelin, omnibus and unicycle (OK, so not really, but close). The suit was exchanged for an expensive-looking black leather jacket for his appearance on MTV’s “TRL.”
By the time he hit the red carpet, Cruise was wearing a pinstriped suit. I only know all of this from watching the hilariously overblown and ridiculous “coverage” on Yahoo.com, which touted the premiere of “Mission: Impossible 3” with the same solemnity as if it were the coronation of Queen Elizabeth.
One of their buffoonish hosts actually called Cruise “The Superstar of the Millennium.”
Hey, what about Michael Jackson? And which millennium? The new one? We’re only six years into it.
“The paparazzi are eating him alive,” said one of these guys with a straight face. I mean, you can’t make this up. I guess this was more exciting than saying, “The photographers are taking his picture.” But that is what they were doing.
When Cruise finally gave an interview to the Yahoo! guy, it was just as strange as his other interrogations of the last few hours — lots of fake laughing, big smiles and forced digressions to hug “friends” just outside the camera frame.
He also accepted a pink baby outfit emblazoned with the Yahoo! logo and nearly cried with appreciation.
Then Cruise pulled Abrams into the interview and things lightened up. Cruise is like tofu in a way. He takes on the personality of whoever is around him. In an instant, he became Abrams.
The whole PR event with Cruise taking Manhattan was kind of remarkable, in that it seemed some actually took it seriously.
Some didn’t: During the pre-arrival at the theater, the crowd could barely be roused from a stupor when the Yahoo! people tried to get them to cheer.
It also didn’t cost Paramount Pictures very much. I’m told that because they advertised it as part of the Tribeca Film Festival, the city donated millions of dollars worth of manpower and services. Now that’s clever.
And off-topic slightly: Paramount chief Brad Grey dining with two pals at Michael’s yesterday, before the big premiere. He was incredibly gracious, and we talked about the success of “M: I3” while “Sopranos” star Lorraine Bracco, at an adjoining table, called to this reporter in her sexy, husky voice, “Don’t get me in trouble! You always get me in trouble!”
She told me absolutely nothing about what happens next on her show, so I think we’re all safe. Are you listening, David Chase? We know absolutely nothing!
I am sorry to say that I just found out that Carol Phillips passed away on April 26 at the age of 84, after a short illness.
This elegant and gracious woman was the genius who created and founded the Clinique line of cosmetics in 1968 for Estee Lauder.
She’d been beauty editor and then managing editor at Vogue prior to that for many years.
For some reason, The New York Times has not run any obit for her, but there’s a memorial service this morning at the Metropolitan Club.
I had the great pleasure of getting to know Carol a little in the last few years, but she was a lot of fun, a great conversationalist and active until the end.
She will be sorely missed by all her friends in Sag Harbor and North Haven…
Also gone, but not forgotten: Phil Walden, the founder of Capricorn Records, and the man who gave us not only Otis Redding but also The Allman Brothers.
Walden was 66 years old. Among his many other finds: the late Arthur Conley, whose immortal “Sweet Soul Music” will live on for generations to come …