With Deborah Schoeneman
Nicole Kidman Knows How to Make an Entrance
Nicole Kidman wants to be left alone. That’s what she told developers at 176 Perry Street, the Richard Meier–designed building where the Oscar winner bought a 4,000-square-foot condo for more than $8 million last year. Buzz at the fifteen-story, 28-unit glass-and-steel building has it that Kidman has asked that a private entrance be specially built for her and her two kids. “Nicole is very security-minded and very privacy-minded,” co-developer Richard Born told us, but he declined to comment on specifics. “This is going to be her home where she has two young children, so she has concerns.” Meanwhile, we hear Kidman’s ex Tom Cruise and his girlfriend, Penélope Cruz, are so concerned about privacy that they’re doing their business in the dark. A source tells us that the two have been making middle-of-the-night visits to inspect the construction work in progress at Cruz’s apartment in the Chelsea Mercantile building.
I’m a Celebrity—Get Me a Doctor!
At least two of the ten so-called celebrities on ABC’s I’m a Celebrity—Get Me Out of Here! are still licking their wounds. It’s been almost a month since they left the jungles of Australia, but sources tell us that Melissa Rivers and “Downtown” Julie Brown are still under medical care for ailments suffered while filming the Survivor-like reality show. Rivers and Brown competed alongside Tyson Beckford, Robin Leach, Alana Stewart, Bruce Jenner, “Stuttering” John, Cris Judd, Maria Conchita Alonso, and Nikki Schieler Ziering to win $525,000 for charity. A source close to Rivers tells us that the E! Über–fashion talkmeister has been complaining about some sort of nasty rash on her face. She apparently had a breakout just days before the Academy Awards and had to see at least three doctors before joining mom Joan Rivers for their annual tag team Oscars pre-show. Rivers’s rep confirms she’s been checked out by a dermatologist and an infectious-disease specialist. “It’s not viral,” the rep says. “It’s not contagious, and she’s been improving daily.” Meanwhile, Brown is telling friends that her legs are scarred from the bloodsucking leeches that she was exposed to during one of the stunts. “She’s been to doctors because people have different reactions to leeches,” her manager tells us.
A Madonna Kiss-and-Tell Episode
Madonna’s doing that same-sex thing again. A spy on the set for the recent taping of the Material Mom’s guest appearance on Will & Grace reports that several different endings were filmed for the episode, in which Madonna plays Karen’s new roommate, Liz (named after the singer’s longtime publicist, Liz Rosenberg). One scene included a kiss with Megan Mullally, who plays the boozy, pill-popping Karen. The same-sex kiss on Will & Grace wasn’t the only surprise during the taping. It seems that Madonna and Sandra Bernhard have kissed and made up. Bernhard joined Madonna on the set, even shouting out a few suggestions on what to do and at one point instructing a makeup person to remove lipstick from Madonna’s teeth. “Their kids play together at the Kabbalah Centre,” our source reports, “so they’ve been hanging out a lot together.” Our snitch says Madonna was perfectly behaved during her taping. The only divalike moment came when she saw the outfits that wardrobe had selected for her. She decided to wear her own Dolce & Gabbana clothes instead.
He’s Movin’ Out
Sources tell us that Billy Joel has finally gotten rid of his 4,000-square-foot North Haven estate after nine months of trying. But his bank account took a big hit along the way: He bought the fifties manse—which includes a tennis court, a pool, and a deepwater dock, and is just a five-minute walk from Sag Harbor Village—in February 2002 for about $7 million, but the new owners were able to scoop it up for $5.5 million. Joel never actually lived in the house; he had wanted to tear it down and build an even bigger one but wasn’t able to get the necessary building permits. The buyers were repped by Sotheby’s broker Tara Newman, but she declined to comment. Joel’s broker, Biana Stepanian of Allan M. Schneider, did not return our calls.
Billy Bob Thornton: Come Fly With Me
So how do you get Billy Bob Thornton to work an extra week on your movie? Call Pat Boone. That’s what first-time director Ed Solomon did when he needed more time on the set of Levity, a gritty drama co-starring Morgan Freeman and Kirsten Dunst. At the time of the shoot, Thornton was still married to Angelina Jolie, and was scheduled to fly to Namibia with family and friends to visit Jolie and their newly adopted baby (Jolie was filming there). Solomon says that while he and Thornton were talking about the scheduling conflict, the actor said he didn’t want to fly to Africa alone, and that he would postpone his trip on one condition only—if Solomon could find him a suitable traveling companion. Someone like Pat Boone. “So I just cold-called Pat Boone,” Solomon tells us. “He was as nice as can be.” Shockingly, Boone agreed; alas, the trip was postponed for other reasons. But the movie is dedicated to Boone. “People think it’s some religious reference, but it’s not,” Solomon says. In the end, new friendships were born. Thornton and Boone have agreed to provide voices for an animated film that Solomon is developing.
Julie Taymor Scores an Original Dress
All the major designers invited Frida director Julie Taymor to visit their showrooms to pick out a dress for Oscar night. But it wasn’t until she stumbled upon the little-known Gallery of Wearable Art on the Upper East Side that she found what she was looking for. “She had come in just to do some regular shopping,” store owner Bronnie Kupris tells us. “And I said, ‘What are you wearing for the Oscars?’ She said she still didn’t know.” Within a few minutes, Taymor was in the back room, where she found a $3,000 one-of-a-kind halter dress embroidered with nineteenth-century silk flowers. “I felt like the gown could be part of Frida’s world,” Taymor says. Afterward, Taymor—whose partner, Elliot Goldenthal, won Best Original Score for Frida—sent Kupris a book with Kahlo’s art along with what Kupris describes as “the biggest bottle of champagne I have ever seen.”
Puff Daddy Gets His Club On
Sean “P. Diddy” Combs’s ever-expanding empire keeps on growing. A source tells us that the hip-hop impresario—who already owns a restaurant in New York and is set to open one in Detroit—has become a partner in Michael Capponi’s 320 Club on South Beach’s Lincoln Road, where J.Lo threw him a birthday party for 2,000 back when the two were still an item. Before that, the club was called Bar Room, and it was co-owned by Ingrid Casares and Chris Paciello, who pleaded guilty to a mob-related murder and armed robbery in 2000.
Toni Braxton’s Pied-à-terre
R&B singer Toni Braxton will be cooling her Jimmy Choo heels in a $20,000-a-month apartment at Trump World Tower during her nine-month stint as the star of Broadway’s Aida, starting mid-May. A real-estate source tells us that the 35-year-old Grammy winner signed a lease last week for the 3,000-square-foot two-bedroom furnished apartment with twelve-foot ceilings, a library, and stunning southeast views from a high floor. Major selling points were the building’s private driveway and tight security (amenities that have lured privacy-minded types like Bill Gates, Harrison Ford, Derek Jeter, and Sophia Loren). Dennis Mangone, the Corcoran VP who brokered the deal, declined to comment.
HAMPTONS HOT SHEET: Bruno Jamais is coming to the East End. Jamais, who owns the private club and restaurant Bruno’s on the Upper East Side, is close to inking a deal with David Sarner to oversee his restaurant at Southampton’s Cabana lounge this summer. Jamais tells us that his East End boîte will be open to the public and feature more casual fare than Bruno’s, where caviar appetizers run as high as $120. For the new venture, Jamais is teaming up with Arthur Backal, who runs catering and special events at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in the new AOL Time Warner Center. Further east, we’re told, Cozy Cabins, the legendary wayside motel on seven acres in Wainscott, has been sold by longtime owner Dennis Lazicki. The new owner is said to be a Manhattan attorney who apparently has promised not to close the motel.
SUMMER STOCK: Broadway buzz has it that Will & Grace star Eric McCormack is deciding between offers to be in The Producers and Chicago this summer. But a rep for Chicago says he has already turned down the role of Billy Flynn twice and there are no current talks. McCormack’s manager insists he’ll probably be in London for the summer filming a movie.
WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW: Former Details sex columnist Anka Radakovich is close to signing a deal for a television sitcom. The series isn’t about a sex columnist, but it’s not as if the show were a real stretch for her. We’re told it’s centered on a single “New York woman who has a lot of sex . . . It includes plenty of penis jokes.”