September 11, 2000

It Went Right to the Gladiator’s Head

Most actors wait until they’re actually famous before taking on the ugly demeanor of a superstar, but Gladiator tough guy Tommy Flanagan seems to be getting a jump on things. The swashbuckling Scotsman – who also swung a sword beside Mel Gibson in Braveheart – had a very public meltdown after a few drinks at Veruka recently. According to the lounge’s owner, Noel Ashman, the flirtatious Flanagan turned belligerent when a comely regular resisted his advances. “He kept saying, ‘Don’t you know who the fuck I am?’ ” says Ashman. His quarry was unimpressed. When one of the woman’s companions noted, “It’s not like you’re Russell Crowe or something,” says Ashman, the actor exploded, spitting at the women and yelling loudly. Finally security guards moved in, but Flanagan did not go gently. Security chief Omar Cook tells us that in order to escort the soused actor out, guards had to pry his hands off a pole and carry him to the sidewalk. “He couldn’t even walk,” says Cook. “He was crawling.” Flanagan – whose agent did not return calls – finished his act with a grand flourish, vomiting in front of the club. Now that’s entertainment.

Tina Brown: Don’t Talk to Me

Some staff members at Talk magazine are bristling over an order to maintain their distance from editor-in-chief Tina Brown. At an editorial meeting last week, a Talk insider tells us, the magazine’s staff was informed that their constant barrage of questions and ideas for Brown was “driving her crazy.” The source says that editors were instructed to stop e-mailing, sending memos, and approaching Brown directly. “Instead,” says the source, “the new rule is that questions and ideas must be filtered through the editorial director Bob Wallace or his direct underling Perry van der Meer.” Wallace disputes the account, saying that while Van der Meer – who worked under Brown at The New Yorker – was brought in recently to streamline the editorial process, “anyone can still come to Tina and me or e-mail us at any time about any issue. And believe me, they do.” The insider counters that even if the new system was instituted to promote efficiency, it could have been announced in a less imperious way: “No one wants to hear that they’re driving their boss crazy. There are so many easy routes to take to be an inspiring leader, and it’s just amazing when someone doesn’t know any of them.” Brown was vacationing in England and could not be reached for comment.

Cameron and Mr. T Return to Glory

Just because he’s discovered religion doesn’t mean former teen heartthrob Kirk Cameron’s lost his sense of humor. Cameron was in Toronto shooting the apocalyptic flick Left Behind – based on novelists Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins’s Christian epic – when a couple of slightly inebriated college-age locals wandered onto the set asking members of the production whether any celebs were around. Cameron turned around, warmly shaking hands with the gawkers and announcing, “Hi, I’m Ricky Schroder!” According to a witness, “The guys just looked blankly at him. There was clearly no recognition.” Cameron also made light of the fact that no one’s seen much of him in the past decade by arriving for makeup on his first day of work sporting a set of fake rotten teeth. “Is there something stuck in my teeth?” he asked. The company producing Left Behind, Cloud Ten Pictures, is also resurrecting the career of eighties icon Mr. T, casting him in a Christian spectacular of his own, Judgement. Like Cameron, Mr. T isn’t letting his newfound fame go to his head. When Judgement’s director wondered how he should address his star, he was told, “I ain’t no royalty. No need to call me Mr. – just T!” Noted.

Fire on Princess’s Parade

For a gal recently deemed a princess, Victoria Schweizer has plenty to learn about grace. Schweizer – who since discovering a distant royal link in her lineage has assumed the moniker Princess von Erlaheim – was recently mingling with the fabulous people at the Rainforest Alliance costume party in the Hamptons, sporting an outfit so hot, it literally caught on fire. The upwardly mobile young lady was wearing nothing but two feather boas, Gucci fishnets, and a fan of peacock feathers on her back. But as she passed by a tiki torch, her decorative wings nipped the flame and flared up. Too busy being social, however, the peroxided princess failed to notice the small conflagration until “the bartender came over and tackled me. It was very dramatic. All of a sudden I was on the ground and this stranger’s foot is stomping up and down on my feathers.” Did she go featherless the rest of the evening? “Oh, no,” she says. “Luckily I had spare feathers in my car.”

Parker’s Joyride

Since Sarah Jessica Parker took her breakthrough role on Sex and the City, industry big shots have been wondering what her next big move will be. As it turns out, she already quietly took a leading part in a film so independent, you’ll see it only if you’re a corporate honcho at Mercedes-Benz. The thespian recently broke from playing a sassy and lonesome Manhattanite to join husband Matthew Broderick in an industrial film for Mercedes to air at its annual company conference, a gig Jerry Seinfeld accepted last year. Parker’s rep tells us she took the role because “it didn’t clash with the Screen Actors Guild strike and was just something fun for the two of them to do together.” The form of payment probably didn’t hurt, either – the couple will receive a gleaming new Mercedes for their services.

Reporter Reaps Grim Warning

The New York Post’s Jeane MacIntosh may have thought she could live a life free of controversy by hightailing it to the Midwest, but trouble just seems to love her. When MacIntosh’s story last November on the continuing troubles of talent agent Jay Moloney preceded his suicide by hours, his pal Dana Giacchetto – currently jailed on fraud charges – claimed in New York that he had warned MacIntosh her article would push Moloney over the edge. Now MacIntosh is facing a similarly dark prediction from covering a high-profile prostitution scandal for Chicago magazine (which is owned by New York’s parent company, Primedia). One of the key players in the case of an alleged Chi-town madam is an elderly businessman charged with two counts of solicitation and one count of felony cocaine possession. Word out of the Windy City is that the alleged perp’s lawyer told MacIntosh his client would “blow his brains out” if his name appeared in the story. The attorney, Ed Genson, tells us that the unfortunate man “probably won’t kill himself,” but maintains that he should not be identified in MacIntosh’s story because he’s “just a little zhlub businessman.” For her part, MacIntosh confirms Genson’s doom-saying, but adds, “I doubt he was really serious, and I don’t want to become known as the Grim Reaper of journalism, but I can’t in good conscience leave the guy’s name out when all other characters are identified. So for now, he’s in.”

Prince’s Lawyer Faces the Music

The lawyer who gave Prince his name back is now trying to make a name of his own in the hip-hop world. Attorney L. Londell McMillan – who freed Prince two albums early from the Warner Bros. contract that led him to take on that ridiculous “Artist” moniker – is moonlighting as a record producer. McMillan is executive producing the soundtracks for two upcoming movies. When Spike Lee came to him in a panic about getting a major label onboard at the last minute for Bamboozled – which has recently been catching heat over its controversial ad campaign – McMillan fixed a deal with Motown and then personally pieced together an album featuring Stevie Wonder, Prince, Public Enemy’s Chuck D, and Erykah Badu. When director Antoine Fuqua brought McMillan in to work out legal issues for the soundtrack of the next Jamie Foxx movie, Bait, he wound up organizing that project as well, wrangling rappers Fat Joe, Mya, and Scarface.

Street News; Celebrity Stiffs

The search may be over for the new editor-in-chief of Avenue magazine, the free monthly cherished by the grandes dames of the Upper East Side. Since David Patrick Columbia abruptly left the post last month, the mag has been narrowing down a list of socially aware contenders to man the helm. A publishing source reports that Avenue president Judy Price has settled on Jill Brooke, former editor of Hamptons magazine, who left her gig as a CNN correspondent a year and a half ago to write the forthcoming book Don’t Let Death Ruin Your Life. When reached for comment Price told us only, “We are looking at a few people, and Jill is one of them. That’s all I can say for now.” Brooke, meanwhile, had no comment at all.

WAXING LYRICAL: Some musical guests at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards won’t need a mirror to bathe in their own narcissism. Madame Tussaud, London’s famed wax museum, is flying out the meltable mirror images of such rock royalty as Madonna, Elton John, Will Smith, Prince, and Michael Jackson to Radio City Music Hall to spice up the festivities. The still-life celebs will be stationed in the lobby to greet attendees as they stroll in on the red carpet. A spokeswoman says the idea came “because MTV is always looking for something newer and cooler than the year before.” Perhaps next year they’ll raise the dead.

PARK IT: Park Avenue is getting a taste of downtown cool. John McDonald, the man behind the hip Mercer Street establishments Merc Bar and Canteen, has just signed a deal on a 4,000-square-foot place on the ground floor of the historic Lever House on Park and 53rd, where he plans to open a new 130-seat restaurant. Marc Newson, the creator of Canteen’s modern look, has signed on to design the still-unnamed new venture along with a product line featuring chairs, flatware, and silverware. As for the cuisine, McDonald describes it as “country-club-inspired American,” which we think will suit the locals nicely.

Additional reporting by David Amsden and Abby Goodman.

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September 11, 2000