Ellen Barkin Had a Particularly Bad ‘Ride-Along’ With the New Orleans Police


Hugh Jackman plays a cop in his new play, A Steady Rain, so at last night's premiere run, Ellen Barkin reminisced on her training for The Big Easy. Did she do a ride-along with a cop? "Is that what those are called? Of course, all actors do it." Scary? "Yeah," she confessed. "It was bad. It was bad." How bad? "There was a homicide and a rape." Yeah, bad-bad. Still, we'd feel fairly safe with Ellen Barkin as our policewoman. Did she do anything disciplinary? "Like get up and arrest them? No! I was in New Orleans and there was a lot of crime. I darted to the bottom of the cop car and I cried." Moving along, we inquired about yesterday's reported Matt Damon head-tap. Barkin said she hadn't read the "Page Six" item, but yes, she did run into Matt Damon this week when he was filming a movie on her block. But "patted him?" she said. "No." Ellen Barkin does not pat.

Meanwhile, Jackman's friend and sometime stylist Robert Verdi said he helped Jackman pick out "some of the pieces" for the Steady Rain press circuit, but Jackman doesn't need much help: "He's the kind of guy who looks good in anything," Verdi said. "If he were a woman, he'd be the woman who can wear a paper bag and look fabulous. He's the guy who doesn't actually look like he's in his underwear when he's in his underwear and a T-shirt — he looks fully dressed and like he's in a tuxedo. There's no difference between Hugh wearing a T-shirt and a tuxedo." Of course, there's also Jackman wearing neither. And what does one learn about an actor when witnessing his trained, toned chest? Whether "his career can get any bigger," Verdi said. "So mine is going to stay exactly where it is, unfortunately."

Related: New York's review of A Steady Rain.