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Rudin Sends Weinstein Smoke Signals

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Harvey Weinstein's professional relationship with Scott Rudin, producer of The Hours, is up in smoke. We hear that after The Hours was accepted by the Venice Film Festival this summer, Weinstein pulled it from the lineup. Rudin has been telling friends and colleagues that he thinks Weinstein was worried that The Hours would overshadow another Miramax festival flick, Frida, starring Salma Hayek. Weinstein apparently told Rudin that The Hours, the film adaptation of Michael Cunningham's Pulitzer Prize–winning book, starring Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, and Julianne Moore, wasn't ready to be screened. "Harvey kept saying it needed more work, that the score wasn't done," one insider tells us. Rudin's hands were tied because Miramax holds the international rights. But not long after Frida's premiere, Rudin let Weinstein, a notorious chain-smoker who once kicked the habit for two years, know how he felt by sending a little gift to Weinstein's Tribeca office: a two-foot-by-two-foot box stuffed with packs of cigarettes. Enclosed was a note from Rudin to Weinstein that read, "Thanks for all your help." Weinstein's rep confirmed he got the gift, saying, "We don't know if Santa was being naughty or nice."

Mary Boone: Closet Case?

Mary Boone was nice enough to co-host the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America's book party for Unframed: Artists Respond to AIDS two weeks ago at her Chelsea gallery, but she wasn't on her best behavior. Early guests were met with the spectacle of Boone at the front desk screaming into her cell phone and had to wait out a ten-minute tirade in the back of the gallery. Some of the organizers of the event -- which was co-hosted by writer Bob Colacello and gallerist Charles Cowles and attended by artists Ross Bleckner, Eric Fischl, Karin Davie, Hunt Slonem, Brice Marden, and April Gornick -- put their bags in an empty closet. Boone insisted they keep their belongings, and themselves, away from the walls of her closet. Even though their bags were neatly placed far from the walls, Boone sent a staff member to rearrange them. And when Boone spotted someone entering the closet with a cocktail, she spazzed. "She was like, 'How dare you go in there with a drink!' " one of our tipsters reports. "She was watching the closet like a hawk, but there was nothing in there. It's just a big empty closet." Boone maintains that she wanted to be sure everyone's belongings were looked after. As for her screaming jag, she calmly explained to us that she was having a "heated discussion" with her 15-year-old son. Despite the dramatics, ACRIA ended the night with $25,000 in book sales.

Pompidou Overcomes French Resistance

After French consul general Richard Duque sent out invites to an October 22 dinner at the consulate for former prime minister Alain Juppé, he got a call from the Baroness Philippine de Rothschild that she was planning a little $1,000-a-plate soirée at the Guggenheim that same night to benefit the Claude Pompidou Foundation. Duque had already gotten rsvps from Bruno Lacoste, Michael Bloomberg, and Henry Kissinger, and he refused to cancel. "A few feathers were flying," an insider tells us. "But then Madame Pompidou called him personally and he backed down." It probably helped that Rothschild not only invited all 50 of Duque's guests to her party -- where she'll auction off bottles of Château Mouton Rothschild worth $10,000 -- but also offered to pay for their tickets. Of course, this is the same woman who twice last month flew chef Daniel Boulud to Paris on the Concorde so she could sample the gala's menu.

Regurgitated Info

The chitchat took an unappetizing turn at Glamour editor Cindi Leive's dinner party at JoJo last week to celebrate Karenna Gore Schiff's latest article in the magazine. Schiff informed fellow diners that she keeps a stockpile of airsickness bags handy because her two kids always get carsick. Vanity Fair writer Vicky Ward, who is expecting twins in March, said she can't stop throwing up in public. "My husband keeps saying, 'Can't you at least hit the gutter and not people's stoops?' " Ward said. Tipper Gore joked that Ward should just tell people she "had a really good time last night." The conversation remained free of politics, until Schiff started complaining about the media coverage of her dad. "He never said he invented the Internet," she moaned. "It's just insane. I'm not sure where that even originally came from, but it's just not true and everyone just keeps repeating it."

Umbrella Plan

No, the black umbrellas hanging upside down in the Mercer Kitchen aren't the latest addition to Christian Liagre's minimalist décor. Turns out that the basement restaurant suffers from a leaky ceiling and staffers have been using umbrellas to catch the falling water. It works most of the time, but every so often one fills up, breaks, and douses a diner. A restaurant rep says the leak would be too difficult to fix because its source is the metal-and-glass sidewalk outside, which is landmarked along with the rest of the building.

With Catherine Townsend.

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