Mariah Carey told me on Saturday night she does one thing very well. What is it?
What about singing? "Oh, that’s business," she said with a laugh.
The occasion was about the most elegant, laid-back event of the Hamptons season so far, and also the most private: a belated wedding party for Mariah and her husband, actor Nick Cannon, at the home of Island Def Jam chief L.A. Antonio Reid and his gracious, beautiful wife, Erica.
It’s the only party I can ever remember attending at which swans — yes, large white swans — were rented for the night and placed in the host’s beautiful pond. I didn’t know you could rent a swan. They come with handlers, in case you want to know.
The Reids’ lavish Bridgehampton spread is low-key, and so was the party, even though DJ Cassidy was playing old-school R&B in a simple makeshift party tent. I was talking to Mariah and Nick when the music got fired up, prompting Mariah to declare, "I’m going to dance up a storm. It’s the one thing I do really well!"
The one thing? Her legions of fans might beg to differ.
And Mariah did, indeed, dance to DJ Cassidy. She twirled and dipped and had a fine time. Meanwhile, the Reids’ guests chowed down at various stations set up all over their backyard — on four different kinds of gourmet pizza, the best fried chicken and mac-and-cheese I’ve ever tasted and a selection of Greek treats.
Guests included her trusty manager, Benny Medina; plus Mary J. Blige with hubby, Kendu Isaacs; Samuel L. Jackson and wife, LaTonya Richardson; Russell Simmons; Gayle King; Jessica Seinfeld; Mark Consuelos and Kelly Ripa; opera great Kathleen Battle; producer-director Lee Daniels; Universal Music Chief Doug Morris; Kerzner Resorts’ Jerry Inzerillo; and, oddly enough, Gwyneth Paltrow.
Paltrow had been advertised all week at another Hamptons event, with Madonna headlined to make an appearance. But Madonna never showed, natch, and Paltrow split her event for this one early in the evening.
She wound up staying and having a great time, chatting with everyone. Her husband, Chris Martin, is on tour with Coldplay, promoting the group's Grammy-bound album, "Viva la Vida." Let me tell you: Paltrow could not be prouder of Martin’s musical achievement. She lit up like a Christmas tree as we discussed the tracks.
But back to Mariah and Nick. They are very cute together. He’s really in love with her — it’s quite obvious — and very protective. Mariah, who was married once a long time ago to a record executive, seems almost shocked to get so much attention. Good for her! Good for both of them!
I did talk to Sam Jackson, by the way, about the tragic death earlier that day of his "Soul Men" co-star Bernie Mac. Sam said that everyone on the film knew Bernie had been ill but that he’d done better in recent weeks and everyone was pulling for him.
"It’s a shock," he said. "Soul Men" still requires reshoots, which might not be so easy now. Dimension Films is scheduled to release it Nov. 14. And, no, the movie is not "cursed" as was suggested in some other outlets. …
It looks all but certain that Debra Winger is going to make her Broadway debut this fall in a new production of "Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?" The word is that Winger will take the role made famous by Katharine Hepburn in the 1968 film of a matriarch whose daughter brings home a black doctor as her fiancée.
In the movie, Spencer Tracy played opposite Hepburn as her husband. I’m told that producers are looking at Bill Pullman and Barry Bostwick for the role. Last fall, Blythe Danner and Larry Bryggman played the parents in a reading. Danner obviously chose to do something else. Bryggman, however, would be a great choice for the Tracy role.
Other roles are going to LaTauya Richardson Jackson, the talented actress wife of Samuel L. Jackson, as the family’s maid. Producers are said to be looking at TV’s Amanda Bynes as the couple’s daughter, played by Hepburn’s niece Katharine Houghton in the film.
Still to be cast is the Sidney Poitier role, Dr. John Prentice, although I’m told Mekhi Phifer, of "ER," may be the final choice. If he’s not available, producers should try and get Anthony Mackie.
The rumors are rampant up on Martha’s Vineyard: Caroline Kennedy is supposedly throwing an Obama fundraiser this weekend at her late mother’s magnificent home in Gay Head. Expect the Vineyard royalty such as Carly Simon, Mike Wallace, Walter Cronkite and Joanna Simon, Rose Styron, Spike Lee, etc. Look for a possible Oprah appearance, too, since many famous African-Americans have homes in bucolic Oak Bluffs, by the landmark Flying Tigers carousel. ...
I told you exclusively a couple of weeks ago that Tom Cruise was not going to star in "Edwin A. Salt." (Remember how Tom’s people planted denials elsewhere claiming that he was just waiting to see a script? Ha!)
Now comes word that Angelina Jolie is taking his place. Is Angelina the new Tom Cruise, the way pink is the new black? Maybe. This is a huge diss on Cruise, since the movie will have to be rewritten to change Edwin to Edwina. Cruise, I am told, just asked for too much money. …
I began Friday’s column with these words: "It’s less than six degrees of separation from one unsolved mystery to another, or from the JonBenet Ramsey murder case to the current reported scandal involving former presidential candidate John Edwards. Rielle Hunter was first known as Lisa Druck. But some time in the late '80s, after moving to Los Angeles from New York, the Florida native met and married Alexander "Kip" Munro Hunter III. Kip’s father, Alexander Munro Hunter, was the famous Boulder district attorney who, beginning in 1996, tried but failed to find and prosecute 6-year-old JonBenet’s killer. The crime — still unsolved — remains an international sensation."
The New York Daily News’ Helen Kennedy must have liked the wording. On Monday she wrote: "In a bizarre case of six degrees of scandal separation, Hunter was married in the 1990s to Kip Hunter, son of the Colorado district attorney who famously led the failed JonBenet Ramsey murder investigation. They divorced in 1999." OK, thanks, Helen. …
Woody Allen — who must be loathing his stay in Los Angeles right now — will be happy to know that the A-list crowd braved drenching rain on Sunday for a screening of "Vicky Cristina Barcelona." The good news — they loved it — from Bob and Lynne Balaban and Lorraine Bracco to hordes of media types.
The Southampton movie theater was quite literally overflowing with fans who laughed and laughed with Penelope Cruz, Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall and Patricia Clarkson. I’ve seen this movie many times and I must say that Javier Bardem is just terrific as a low-key lothario. His chemistry with Penelope — a certain Oscar nominee — is uncanny. It took a New York audience, by the way, to get a laugh at the name "Tabatchnik" — a throwaway line, but a reference to a brand of Kosher soup. Woody’s back! "VCB" opens Friday. …