Spider-Man: Couldn't Swing a Deal With Saks
The new Spider-Man movie may have cost around $120 million to make, but that doesn't mean the producers spared no expense. We hear that location scouts approached Saks Fifth Avenue and asked if they could film some scenes at the store. In particular, they wanted shots of the superhero swinging over Rockefeller Center, across the street from the shopping emporium. But producers balked at the $20,000 location fee and offered up product placement instead. "They said they'd include Saks shopping bags or a shot of the Saks building," an insider tells us. Producers even tried to entice Saks execs by inviting them to watch Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst on the Spider-Man set of their choice. But Saks refused to budge on the price. A Saks rep declined to comment, but pointed out that Jennifer Lopez is expected to be in the store next month to shoot scenes for her upcoming flick The Chambermaid.
Ashton Kutcher Gets His Hands on a Monet
We hear that hunky Ashton Kutcher has a new flame: actress Monet Mazur. The couple were inseparable during a recent weekend of marathon partying in Vegas to celebrate the 21st birthday of Harry Morton, son of Hard Rock Hotel founder Peter Morton. "They are definitely dating," one of our spies tells us. "They didn't leave each other's side the entire time." Mazur, star of 40 Days and 40 Nights, and Kutcher danced during an Oasis concert at the Hard Rock Hotel on Friday night and were spotted the next night holding hands in a booth at Baby's lounge with pals Ed Burns and Oliver Hudson during a performance by Snoop Dogg. They first met while filming the recently wrapped romantic comedy Just Married. Kutcher has been linked to actress Ashley Scott, while Mazur split with her boyfriend, actor Adrien Brody, earlier this year. Kutcher's rep insists the two are just friends: "Ashton is very happy and single right now." Mazur's rep did not return our calls.
Bid Players Squabble Over Schnabel
Tempers flared at Man Ray last Tuesday during a silent auction benefiting the Waterkeeper Alliance's Campaign to End Industrial Agriculture. Someone snatched the bidding sheet for Julian Schnabel's painting of a pink flamingo shortly before bidding ended at 9:30 p.m. An interested partygoer saw that Nicole Miller's investment-banker husband Kim Taipale was holding the sheet. When he asked for the sheet so he could bid, Taipale refused, according to an onlooker, saying, "I can hold this for as long as I want to -- maybe you need some advice on how an auction works." When the competing bidder became irate, Miller appeared. "She was saying, 'I don't even want it, let's leave,' " the onlooker says. "But he kept it and scribbled down a number." Taipale took the painting home for $9,050. Taipale insists he never held on to the sheet, and says that the other interested party declined his offer to have a bid-off to see who was willing to pay the most.
Michael Jackson Delivers the Goods
Michael Jackson doesn't trust just anyone with his recordings. When producer Rodney Jerkins asked Jackson if R&B superstar Monica could sample his 1982 hit "P.Y.T." on the single "All Eyez on Me," the King of Pop was happy to oblige. But it seems Jackson is so protective of his precious original tracks that he insisted on flying to Atlanta himself and delivering them to Monica in person. As it turned out, the two hit it off, and while he was there, Jackson ended up singing on the track as well.
The Eighties Are Back, Again
First, eighties Überparty girl Susanne Bartsch returns with a new weekly Wednesday-night party at BK. Now comes word that Dianne Brill -- known in her heyday as the Queen of the Night -- is back. She's launching Lip Lingerie, a line of makeup, fragrance, and lingerie. She's starting small, offering T-shirts, scarves, and makeup bags at Patricia Field and similar boutiques worldwide. The full line will hit in the fall. We also hear that after having three kids and living on a yacht in Germany for the past seven years with hubby Peter Völkle, Brill -- author of 1992's Boobs, Boys, and High Heels: Or How to Get Dressed in Just Under Six Hours -- will return to the New York catwalks with an appearance in Heatherette's fall 2003 show in September.
Bone-Chilling: Speaking of Heatherette, we hear that the star of its spring 2000 show, transsexual Amanda Lepore -- a downtown fixture famous for being photographer David LaChapelle's muse -- was in Mexico last week having two ribs removed. She's told friends that she'll have them gold-plated and then auction off one for herself and the other for charity.
With Catherine Townsend.