I told you yesterday that Jennifer Lopez's former manager, Benny Medina, was spotted at Julia Roberts' movie premiere. Well, there are no coincidences. It turns out that Medina and Lopez — who makes movies for Revolution, same as Roberts — have reached a "rapprochement," according to friends.
In fact, I am told that Lopez will more than likely be back in business with Medina before long. This would come as a surprise to her current management at The Firm in Hollywood.
But just the other night in Hollywood, Lopez and fiance Ben Affleck had dinner with Medina at restaurant Madeo. The purpose was to smooth things over between Ben and Benny, my sources say, and it worked.
Affleck was previously seen as engineering Lopez's estrangement from her longtime manager and the subsequent lawsuit.
But the suit was settled quietly some time ago. And Lopez, insiders tell me, missed Medina. And why not? It was Medina who shaped her startling rise to the top.
"They've been talking a lot," a source says. "Jennifer really loves him. It's more about their friendship than even business. But there will be business again."
Since splitting with Lopez, Medina has signed on as a management consultant to singer Mariah Carey. But Carey and Lopez have a bad history — Lopez allegedly "stole" music from Carey two years ago when they were both at Sony Music. It's uncertain how Carey would feel about Medina if he re-signed Lopez or worked with her in any capacity.
The most interesting part of this is that Affleck seems to be on board, at least publicly, with Lopez's decision. Some prognosticators might see his new cooperation as a sign that the engagement is fading. But my source says it's not true, and that Affleck is trying to get along with Medina for Lopez's sake.
Lopez, by the way, disappointed fans on Thursday night at Z100's Jingle Ball at Madison Square Garden. She hosted the show but didn't sing. She didn't even hum. But of course, for Lopez to sing involves a lot of production. Unlike Carey, impromptu bursts of song are not a Lopez trademark.
Whitney Houston left the court where Bobby Brown was arrested on Wednesday night with a bruise on her face and a song on her swollen lips.
Sources tell me that when Houston retrieved Brown, the pair was actually "kissing and hugging and holding hands." Even more incredible: Houston was heard singing the Aretha Franklin song, "You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman" to Brown as they left.
That's a big change in her attitude from Sunday night when Whitney called police to her suburban Atlanta home saying Brown had hit her. She told police he threatened to "beat her ass," and then allegedly did just that.
When the police arrived, as we know now from various reports, Houston told the cops that Brown had gone to Los Angeles. But I am told by my source in Atlanta that Brown never went anywhere. "He has a lot of contacts in town, and his brother was with him, too. He just found a place to stay."
What I can also tell you is that on Tuesday night police detectives returned to Houston's home to question her again about the incident. Even though 48 hours had passed, she did not change her story. "She basically told the same story again," said my source.
Interestingly, there was no sign on Sunday or Tuesday of the couple's 11-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina. If there had been, said Fulton County Police Department spokesman Kurtis Young, "there would have been an additional charge of cruelty to children."
But by all accounts, Houston and Brown do not rear Bobbi Kristina full time. That chore is left to Houston's mother, Cissy, and nannies at Houston's home in Mendham, N.J.
Even if Whitney changes her mind about the charge against Brown by the time of his Jan. 7 arraignment, by the way, it won't affect the prosecution. "We have her statement, and we have the officer's testimony," said Young. "By Georgia law, we don't need anything else to proceed."
This means that Brown could be in a lot of trouble. And so is Whitney, if she was singing to a man who is suspected of beating her three days after the incident. What a tragic situation.
It's not the longest shoot in history, but it's getting there. Believe it or not, "The Stepford Wives," a remake by Frank Oz, is still in production at Kaufman Astoria Studios. The Paramount feature started pre-production in March — that's right, March, nine months ago — and began shooting in New York and New Canaan, Conn., in June.
Now I'm told that the Scott Rudin production is not ready to wrap quite yet. They're scheduled to be at Kaufman "through Christmas." They still have a set built at a studio in Yonkers where more shooting takes place.
One of the stars, Glenn Close, said yesterday that it was the longest she'd ever worked on a film. Her part of it wrapped last Friday. But other members of the cast have been shuttling back and forth for further work, including Christopher Walken, Bette Midler and Matthew Broderick. The only actor who seems to have escaped the nightmarish part of the work is Nicole Kidman, who finished quite a while ago.
Why is "Stepford" taking so long? There have been many reported problems with the cast not getting along, not behaving and not taking direction. Of course director Oz has come in for a lot of blame. Bette Midler is also a prime suspect, although one set insider told me, "Bette's stand-in is even worse than she is. You should hear her scream at people." The same source said that when fresh faces arrived in recent weeks, they were afraid to ask too many questions.
There's also said to be quite a lot of trouble among the actresses, especially in the makeup room. "They're working hard to make them look ugly before they get Stepford-ized," said my source. "And none of them wanted to do it."
As for the runaway production: "No one talks about the cost or the time anymore," they said. Another source said: "There are a lot of special effects. They just got creative as they went along."
New indications are that the principal production will wrap at Kaufman next week, but more shooting with a second unit is said to be scheduled for "after the holidays."
"The Stepford Wives," a remake of the 1975 film, is set for a June 2004 release.
Michael Jackson's parents can defend him all they like, but his older brother took him to task 12 years ago in a song.
Jermaine Jackson, who's been shilling for Michael on talk shows, in 1991 recorded a song he co-wrote called "Word to the Badd."
The lyrics tell a different story of familial deceit on the part of Michael and disappointment for Jermaine.
One verse reads:
"You never think about who you love
You only think about number one
You forgot about where we started from
You only think about what you want
You don't care about how it's done
You only think about you, your throne
Be it right or be it wrong"
Another one confirms Jermaine's anger:
"It ain't about your world
It ain't about the things that you do
If you don't care, I don't care
'Cause you keep thinkin' about you”
Meanwhile, Jermaine Jackson continues to plug a charity called Earthcare International. He's done so at least twice on "Larry King Live" in the past year and once as far back as 2001. But there's no listing for Earthcare International on guidestar.org, where all charities must post their financial reports. Another organization, called Earth Care International, says it is not the group Jackson keeps talking about.
Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune complained in an interview this week that even though editors at Rolling Stone leave his copy alone, they often change the number of stars he assigns to an album.
Kot is lucky his reviews aren't changed. I reported about three years ago that one reviewer quit after editor-in-chief and owner Jann Wenner yanked her negative reviews of albums by Paul Simon and Don Henley, replacing them with positive takes. Both Simon and Henley are Wenner's close pals.
Meanwhile, Justin Timberlake is on the cover of Rolling Stone for the second time this year. I'm trying to remember how often David Cassidy, the Justin of my time, made the cover. Rolling Stone, for all intents and purposes, should just merge with Tiger Beat and get it over with.
Tim Burton's "Big Fish" opens this weekend, and if you don't run and see it fast, you'll be sorry. Albert Finney is a lock for Best Supporting Actor as a crusty curmudgeon with an active imagination. This is my personal favorite film of 2003, and one that I cannot recommend too highly. There are plenty of other good performances, too, from Ewan McGregor, Jessica Lange, and Danny DeVito ... If "The Human Stain" is still playing anywhere, be sure to catch Anna Deavere Smith in her role, for which she's a cinch nominee as Best Supporting Actress. I will run some lists next week in each of the main Oscar categories with possible nominees, but Smith — best known I guess as the press secretary in "The American President" and for her role on "The West Wing" — is an absolute wonder as the mother of the main character, Coleman Silk. There is one scene in particular that resonates like crazy ... Last, I'm glad to see Charlize Theron getting attention from those TV wingnuts Ebert and Roeper, for her work in "Monster." I know Ebert thinks he's cutting edge, but didn't I tell you weeks ago that Theron is on her way to Best Actress? Roger, Roger, over and out.