June 12, 2000

Endeavor’s Agent Provocateur

Producer-screenwriter Jonathan Hensleigh has found a new Endeavor – he’s dumped his agency. Hollywood insiders say the Armageddon scribe was taken aback by comments his rep at the Endeavor agency, David Lonner, made in an article recently published in Talk magazine, where he is quoted as saying, “There’s a side of agenting where you wind clients up and make them feel more insecure than they usually do.” The loose-lipped Lonner goes on to describe these kinds of agent mind games as a “necessary evil.” After the piece came out, Hensleigh bolted the firm, signing on with ICM. But Hensleigh insists he left for other reasons. “My departure from Endeavor is not linked to anything written in print media within the last five years, including the Talk magazine article,” he insists.

Gwyneth Site Offers Discipline

It’s wonderful to be one of those people so famous that you’re known by just your first name – that is, until someone starts using it to sell hard-core porn online. You might expect that a site called www.gwyneth.com would offer up all sorts of amusing anecdotes and little-known facts about Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow. Instead, it features flashing advertising banners for rough stuff so depraved we shouldn’t even mention it. But we will. Under the guise of all things Gwyneth, the sneaky Websters direct surfers to, among other things, a Web page devoted to pregnancy fetishists, proudly proclaiming, “Mom is a slut!” An ad for another site that unsuspecting Paltrow lovers will discover announces, “I have to punish you now!” We’re sure that Gwynie’s fans would never be into anything like that.

Food for Naught in Tribeca Not-Spot

New Yorkers will do just about anything to get into a hot new restaurant, even a make-believe one. When set designers for the upcoming Richard Gere and Winona Ryder flick Autumn in New York put together a posh-looking, though fake, eatery in a warehouse on the corner of Washington and Watts Streets, passersby took the bait. Designer Mark Friedberg tells us his creation of glass and mirrors had a “contemporary, sophisticated feel” that hip foodies just couldn’t resist. “People kept stopping in to try and have a meal,” says Friedberg. “We even had people insisting they had reservations!” Wonder if such eager crowds will show up at the theaters.

Baldwin: Don’t Blame Canada

Stephen Baldwin has a new project, but the Screen Actors Guild would prefer he stick to playing Barney Rubble. The actor is in talks with investors about building a professional film studio in Canada, complete with sound stages, postproduction facilities, and recording studios. This should come as bad news to the Screen Actors Guild, which was already peeved with Baldwin after he announced how much he enjoyed working in our northern neighbor on a Los Angeles TV show. Baldwin says sag reps warned him that his pro-Canada comments might encourage filming outside the States, and shift American acting jobs to Canadian hams. Baldwin remains unconvinced. “More than 30 percent of all films are made in Canada, and I’m willing to bet that of all the American films that go there to shoot, 75 percent would not have been made unless they did,” Baldwin argues, adding, “With the amount of sag dues I’ve paid, why was this the first time I heard of runaway production?” sag spokesperson Meryl Weinsaft says she sure doesn’t know why the union’s anti-Canada stance is news to Baldwin: “We’ve included reports on it in our local and national newsletters. It’s one of the perks of membership.” Maybe Baldwin reads the trades instead.

Three Kings of the Hotel Business

A burgeoning partnership is about to give new meaning to the term hip hotelier. According to West Coast entertainment insiders, George Clooney, Cindy Crawford, and Rande Gerber have been searching for a space in which to open a Los Angeles hotel. “I can’t comment on anything at this point,” says Gerber. “George is in the acting business, I’m in the bar business. I think it’s just a rumor.” Not so, says one source, who reports that the trio has already bid on one Sunset Strip property, just a towel’s toss from Ian Schrager’s Mondrian, where Gerber has the Skybar. Schrager, who is currently suing Gerber for opening bars in competing hotels, maintains he is unfazed by the prospect. Says Schrager: “I have no problem with what he does; I only have a problem when he violates a contract.”

Patsy’s Nixes Sinatra Bash

Is Patsy’s saying no to Frank Sinatra after all these years? When the editors of The Sinatra Files decided to throw a party to celebrate the publication of their new book, they turned to Patsy’s restaurant, one of the singer’s famous haunts. Publishing insiders say Patsy’s patriarch Joe Scognamillo and family considered sponsoring the event until they saw an advance copy of the work, edited by journalist brothers Tom and Phil Kuntz. Among other less-than-flattering details, the book compiles Frank Sinatra’s FBI record and includes reports of Ol’ Blue Eyes being described by government snoops as an ill-tempered carouser; it also reveals that Sinatra told draft-board doctors that he was “neurotic” and abnormally afraid of crowds. Sources say the Patsy’s clan maintains a close relationship with Sinatra’s children, and rejected hosting the event so they wouldn’t offend the family. Joe’s nephew, co-owner Frank DiCola, confirms they declined to participate but insists the book’s editors were still welcome to throw a Patsy’s bash – with their own cash. “Hey, I’ll take anybody’s money,” DiCola insists. “But if we do any P.R., it’s going to be for us.” And that could be soon: DiCola says the family is shopping around its own proposal for a book that will include some of Patsy’s famous recipes – and Sinatra stories of its own.

David Remnick’s Military Snafu

New Yorker editor-in-chief David Remnick might want to take a cue from his magazine’s famed fact-checking department. When Command Sergeant Major James D. Randolph (retired) got wind of a story that Seymour M. Hersh was writing about his infantry division’s actions in the Gulf War, he fired off a letter to Remnick voicing concerns about the article’s accuracy. Hersh’s account, published last month, accuses the 24th Division of killing POWs, gunning down civilians, and slaughtering a fleeing Iraqi column after the cease-fire was declared. But in his letter, Randolph stresses that, as a noncommissioned officer, he would have known if his troops had acted inappropriately – and he insists that they did not. In a terse, three-sentence response faxed to Randolph, Remnick guarantees he’s read the detailed letter “with due seriousness.” Serious or no, he didn’t quite manage to get the veteran’s title right. Remnick addressed him as Major James D. Randolph – quite a boost in rank – and gave the old soldier an even bigger promotion on his fax cover letter, bestowing Randolph with the rank of major general. We were kind enough to point out these slipups to Remnick. “Noted,” he replied.

Boys Act Up at Sex Premiere

The male cast members of Sex and the City were letting their testosterone show at the HBO series’s season-premiere party last week. As Kyle MacLachlan and Chris “Mr. Big” Noth squeezed into the teeming crowd at Guastavino’s, MacLachlan told us, “I’m just trying to keep up with this guy. He’s been on the show for a while and he’s showing me the ropes. For example, he knew to wear a suit tonight and I didn’t.” MacLachlan added that Noth has something else going for him: “He looks a little like Tom Cruise – an old, old, old Tom Cruise who’s been over the coals for a while.” After some earnest celebrating, Noth turned to MacLachlan, shouting, “Let’s fight!” The two then commenced chanting in each other’s faces, “Let’s do it! Let’s do it!” A giddy Noth exclaimed, “It’ll be just like Fight Club.” Less frisky was the show’s star, Sarah Jessica Parker. “I’m a bit overextended with producing and acting on this show and hosting the MTV Movie Awards,” she told us. “I’m working about nineteen and a half hours a day.” And in her free time? “I sleep,” she said.

West is Goode; Voice Isn’t Free

WEST SIDE STORY: Colonization continues in West Chelsea. Eric Goode has found a garage next to an open space on Tenth Avenue and 20th Street, which, according to real-estate sources, he plans to turn into a Bowery Bar­style restaurant. “I’m not in the club business,” insists Goode, who first made his name in New York with Area in the eighties. “I want a place where I can go with my friends.” Around the corner at 521 West 19th Street, Le Zoo and Waterloo owners Stephane Dorlan, Alex Bueno de Moraes, and Aymen Bourjini have grabbed up a new space. They plan to open a restaurant called High Altitude, which will specialize in mountain-area cuisine like fondues and raclettes. Thank goodness: We were wondering where to go for a good raclette.

VOICE FOR THE HOMELESS: Move over, Street News. Some enterprising homeless people have found a new way to make a buck in the subway – by selling The Village Voice. On a recent Thursday morning, panhandlers were spotted working the F line toting shopping bags loaded with copies of the free weekly. “I know it’s not much, but I like to give something back for a donation,” one homeless man announced. Aware of his desirable commodity, he heralded: “These are new issues – they just came out yesterday.” The Voice’s managing editor, Doug Simmons, doesn’t seem to mind: “Who’s the victim there? As long as it ends up in the hands of a reader, I don’t have any complaint,” he says. Hey, it’s one way to boost circulation.

Additional reporting by Brooke Gosin and Suny Sehgal.

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June 12, 2000