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Chicago Premiere

   
   
 

Catherine Zeta-Jones & Michael Douglas

 

Renee Zellweger

 

Bodacious Queen Latifah

 

December 18 - At the Chicago premiere, a visibly pregnant Catherine Zeta-Jones admitted that somebody had to help her get into her Versace dress. She was on the arm of husband Michael Douglas, so we didn't ask who helped. Zeta-Jones says making the musical was "hard work; fun, in a painful way." Miramax's Harvey Weinstein took the blame for making co-star Renee Zellweger late for the premiere, insisting she stop first at a fete honoring Rudy Giuliani. No surprise since Miramax Books published Giuliani's best seller, "Leadership". Queen Latifah, also in the film, is sure she'd take the Oscar for Best Breasts, if only they'd add the category. MPAA are you listening? We never got to ask the question that was on everyone's mind (besides Latifah's recent DUI arrest): Does Zeta-Jones really use T-Mobile? How's the reception?

 

 

Premieres: The Hours, 25th Hour, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

       
  Julianne Moore at The Hours premiere   Nicole Kidman at The Hours premiere   Meryl Streep at The Hours premiere  
 

 

 

 
 

Claire Danes & boyfriend Ben Lee at The Hours premiere

  Rosario Dawson & Edward Norton at 25th Hour premiere  

Spike Lee & wife Tanya at 25th Hour premiere

 
       
  Matt Damon hits the Confessions of a Dangerous Mind benefit party   Sam Rockwell & George Clooney at Confessions of a Dangerous Mind premiere   Drew Barrymore & boyfriend Fabrizio Moretti at Confessions of a Dangerous Mind premiere party  

December 15 - 19 - Instructions for Academy Award consideration: Open your film as close to year-end as possible, but before everyone hits Aspen or St. Bart's for the holidays. Roll out the red carpet, invite lots of celebrities to the premiere, and throw a party at a trendy venue. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Movie studios followed the Motion Picture Academy's instructions this year, trotting out a seemingly endless round of holiday movies. This week's crop included Miramax's The Hours and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and Touchstone Pictures' 25th Hour.

Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone (love that name, sounds like a Native American Irishman) and Paramount Pictures president Sherry Lansing joined The Hours stars Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep and Claire Danes. Hours author Michael Cunningham, writers Frank McCourt and Salman Rushdie, actors Parker Posey, Marsha Gay Harden, musical icon Lou Reed, director Jonathan Demme and Miramax's Harvey Weinstein also watched The Hours tick.

Spike Lee's latest is 25th Hour starring Edward Norton, Rosario Dawson, Barry Pepper, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Anna Paquin. Norton squeeze Salma Hayek, John Leguizamo and magician David Blaine turned out for what seems like the 25th premiere this month.

George Clooney shouted into the director's megaphone for the first time with the Chuck Barris biopic Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Classy Clooney presented his work to the world at the elegant Paris Theater, our favorite in New York, with co-stars Sam Rockwell and Drew Barrymore. Barrymore's boyfriend Fabrizio Moretti of hotshot rockers The Strokes brought some bandmates.

Tell your friends you didn't have time to shop for holiday gifts. You were at the movies.

 

 

 

Two Weeks Notice, Jingle Ball, Island Def Jam Party

 

 

   
  Two Weeks Notice Day proclamation. Sandra Bullock, director Marc Lawrence & Hugh Grant at City Hall in New York   Sandra Bullock makes small talk at the Two Weeks Notice premiere  
       
  Mariah Carey record release party   Justin Timberlake signs autographs at Jingle Ball   Kylie Minogue at Jingle Ball  
 

December 11 - 12 - It's official - December 11, 2002 is Two Weeks Notice Day in New York City by proclamation of Mayor Mike Bloomberg. We know you all honored this by quitting your jobs that day. Actually, it was to thank those involved in the new Hugh Grant/Sandra Bullock film of the same name for shooting entirely in NYC shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The city's been losing movie shoots to Canada like crazy - including one about ex-mayor Rudi Giuliani. So listen up filmmakers - shooting here you get the real backdrop, plus you can house your crews in $395 per night hotel rooms, get $105 parking tickets on your trucks, and parking garages only charge $23.95 for the day if you drive in before 7 am and leave by noon, your car is blue, the license plate ends with an even number and the radio is set to 117.8. Otherwise it'll cost you $83.50. For the night it's another $33.75. Why shoot your film anywhere else?

Two Weeks Notice premiered the following night with a so-so star turnout compared with other recent holiday releases. We ran into Kylie Minogue and Justin Timberlake at the annual pop concert Jingle Ball. Later the Island Def Jam holiday party doubled as a release spectacular for Mariah Carey's new album Charmbracelet. There were no charms dangling from Carey's $100,000 diamond necklace. The party at Capitale was so packed - with the likes of Jay Z, Beyonce Knowles, Cam'ron, Foxy Brown and Al Sharpton - that the police shut it down. Rapper Ja Rule's gigantic posse livened things up by starting a brawl when they couldn't get in. It's not a good party unless the police come.

 

 

 

Gangs of New York Premiere

       
  Cameron Diaz   Leonardo DiCaprio   Nicole Kidman  

December 9 - A notorious gang took over a theater tonight, causing rowdy crowds and snarling traffic. Martin Scorsese was identified as the leader of the gang including Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Liam Neeson, Daniel Day-Lewis and Henry Thomas. Being initiated into the gang this evening were Nicole Kidman, Natalie Portman, Naomi Campbell, David Bowie and wife Iman, Heidi Klum, Harvey Keitel, Edie Falco, Billy Joel, Bono and Natasha Richardson. This gang later rushed the New York Public Library for a wild party. Be alert, this gang will be infiltrating theaters around the world, and experts predict a major assault on March 23, 2003 at the Academy Awards.

 

 

Hetrick-Martin Institute's 15th Annual Emery Awards

 

   

 

Diane Sawyer (above), Chad Lowe & Hilary Swank, Rosie O'Donnell (left)

 

December 9 - ABC News' Diane Sawyer, Vibe magazine's Emil Wilbekin and the HBO network were among the honorees at The Hetrick-Martin Institute's annual Emery Awards celebration. Actress Hilary Swank hosted, presenting awards to those making a difference for gay and lesbian youth. Sawyer was honored for her interview with gay couple Steve Lofton and Roger Croteau, whose attempts to adopt HIV positive children has been thwarted by their home state of Florida. The publicity prompted Rosie O'Donnell's involvement, and the recent mother attended the awards ceremony. Also attending were Swank's husband Chad Lowe, and Billy Bean and Essra Tuaolo, professional athletes who both recently came out of the closet.

 

 

Maid in Manhattan Premieres, La Boheme Opens on Broadway

       
  Natasha Richardson & Liam Neeson at Maid in Manhattan   Maid in Manhattan star Jennifer Lopez with fiance Ben Affleck   Stanley Tucci from screen to stage in one night  
       
  James Gandolfini missing the Sopranos finale at La Boheme   Hairspray's Harvey Fierstein & Marissa Jaret Winokur check out the competition at La Boheme   Hugh Grant at La Boheme  

December 8 - Whew! What a busy Sunday evening! Jennifer Lopez' new flick Maid in Manhattan mopped up with cast members Natasha Richardson and Amy Sedaris. J. Lo's fiance Ben Affleck, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, fashion designer Roberto Cavalli, actresses Julia Stiles and Kirsten Dunst celebrated after the premiere at the Rainbow Room. Stanley Tucci has a role in Maid in Manhattan, and we guess he's already seen it - he appeared at the premiere, then turned up thirty minutes later at the Broadway opening of Baz (Moulin Rouge) Luhrman's La Boheme.

Understudies must have been strutting Broadway stages that evening since Tucci - currently starring onstage in Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune - and Hairspray's Harvey Fierstein and Marissa Jaret Winokur checked out Boheme. Other bold-faced types at the opera-cum-Broadway show included Hugh Grant, Sandra Bullock, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Harvey Keitel, Rita Wilson, Katie Couric, Donna Karan and Sandra Bernhard, to name a few. The Sopranos' James Gandolfini turned out even though his hit TV series' season finale was airing that night (what everyone would have been watching had they not been premiere-hopping). La Boheme's early critical buzz and advance ticket sales indicate a hit. Speaking of buzz, the celebrity-laden party at the Hudson hotel raged late into the night.

 

 

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Premiere

       
  Liv & Mia Tyler   Elijah Wood is Frodo   Yoko Ono & Sean Lennon  

December 5 - A snowstorm added a magical element to the world premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, the second of director Peter Jackson's film versions of Tolkien's classic trilogy. Throngs of devoted fans waited in the snow for a glance at the movie's stars Billy Boyd, Orlando Bloom, Dominic Monaghen, Sean Astin and Miranda Otto. Elijah Wood has unbelievably big blue eyes. Liv Tyler was the most glamorous, tiptoeing over the snow in strappy heels and long dress. Famous folks like Yoko Ono and son Sean Lennon with girlfriend Bijou Phillips, actors James Caan, Susan Sarandon and Matthew Modine, NY Governor George Pataki and boxing legend Muhammad Ali all were Middle Earth bound. The after party at the New York Public Library was a nod to the blockbuster film's literary roots.

 

 

Analyze That Premiere, Legends Gala Benefit

       
  Cathy Moriarty at Analyze That   Robert De Niro gets analyzed   Billy Crystal analyzes that  
       
  Andie MacDowell at Legends Gala   Legends Patti LaBelle & Donna Karan   Milla Jovovich air kissing at Legends Gala  

December 2 - Medical issues brought out the celebrities today. A benefit for the Bellevue Children's Hospital featured the premiere of Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal's Freudian mob comedy, Analyze That. Cathy Moriarty, also in the film, and Harold Ramis, who directed, came out for the cause (and to gauge audience reaction, no doubt). TV personalities Caroline Rhea and Amy Carlson, comedian Al Franken and actor Alan Thicke all laughed at De Niro's sessions on the couch. Later at the party at Guastavino's, no one said a bad word about the film since concrete boots are so out this season.

The Legends Gala to benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCFR) drew well-dressed swells like designer Donna Karan and daughter Gabby, songbird Patti LaBelle, and actresses Andie MacDowell and Milla Jovovich. 6'2" Nigerian model Oluchi Onweagba stood about a head taller than her date, fashion designer Luca Orlandi of Luca Luca. She was wearing heels. He wasn't.

 

 

 

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