March 4, 2002

Photo: AP Photo

Britney: Oops, I Was Declined Again
Even Britney Spears has credit-card problems. The pop princess-cum-movie star showed up at Barneys recently with her mother, Lynne, and tried to buy several Prada handbags. “But when she went to pay, her credit card was declined,” one of our spies tells us. She whipped out another card, but that one was declined, too. Luckily, Spears – who raked in $7 million for her Pepsi deal and ranked sixteenth on Forbes’s most recent Celebrity 100 list with $38.5 million in 2000 earnings – was with her bodyguard, who saved the day by reaching for his own plastic and paying for the spending spree. “Britney wasn’t embarrassed at all,” our source reports.

Miramax Spells It Out for DreamWorks
The feud between Miramax and DreamWorks is heating up. Miramax flacks recently took a not-so-subtle swipe at DreamWorks in a letter to the Los Angeles Times. The letter was in response to a column by Patrick Goldstein in which he repeated reports that Miramax had been bad-mouthing Universal’s A Beautiful Mind in order to nab Oscar votes for Miramax’s In the Bedroom. Goldstein also mocked Harvey Weinstein’s publicists for issuing a memo to In the Bedroom stars instructing them on how to talk to the press. In their letter to the editor, Miramax reps Amanda Lundberg, Janet Hill, and Matthew Hiltzik offered Goldstein ten tips on how to cover the Oscar race. Going down the list, the first letter of each tip spells out dreamworks. Apparently, Miramax execs believe their counterparts at the David Geffen-Jeffrey Katzenberg-Steven Spielberg-owned studio have been starting the rumors that Miramax has gone out of its way to derail A Beautiful Mind, which was produced in conjunction with DreamWorks. Animosity between the two studios dates back to 1998, when Harvey Weinstein was reported to be lobbying aggressively for Shakespeare in Love, which was up against Saving Private Ryan for Best Picture. Asked why the letter spelled DreamWorks, Hiltzik said with a laugh, “It does?” A DreamWorks rep declined to comment.

He Knows How to Make a Hit
Alleged mobster Danny Provenzano’s 44-count racketeering indictment hasn’t hurt his moviemaking career. Provenzano, who is one of nine people charged by New Jersey prosecutors with using kidnapping and beatings to extort $1 million from their victims, has attracted some high-profile talent for This Thing of Ours, an independent movie that Provenzano wrote, directed, and produced. The Sopranos’ Vincent “Big Pussy” Pastore stars, and Godfather alum James Caan has a cameo. Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry scored and performed music, as did Slash from Guns N’ Roses, and Cheap Trick. Brad Whitford, second guitarist of Aerosmith, has a cameo in which he gets hit over the head with a beer bottle. Provenzano still hasn’t secured a distributor for the movie but insists his racketeering trial won’t affect his prospects. “It could help,” he says. Provenzano and Pastore will attend the Grammy Awards this week for the second year in a row as a guest of Aerosmith.

Rossellini: Not Ready to Makeup
It’s been eight years since Isabella Rossellini was dropped as the face of Lancôme, and she’s still getting over it. When Lancôme execs ended her contract just six days after her 40th birthday, they claimed that she wanted more time for her acting career. But Rossellini begs to differ. “I did not leave on my own; they hired a younger woman with raven hair to replace me,” she explained in a monologue called “Stronger Than the Creme” during Eve Ensler’s recent V-Day performance. “They fired me because I was strong.” Rossellini says Lancôme’s attempts to soothe her didn’t help. “They sent me so many flowers on my 40th birthday. It was a morgue. I knew I was dead. They said, ‘Be grateful, Isabella. You’re lucky you lasted so long in the business.’ “

Close Call Seals Deal
When Glenn Close’s hairstylist hit a snag while trying to buy a house recently, the star took matters into her own hands. Martial Corneville, who coiffed Close on the sets of 101 Dalmatians and Fatal Attraction, and his real-estate broker, Willie Suggs, had been trying to close on a $635,000 four-story brownstone in West Harlem’s Hamilton Heights neighborhood since November. The loan officer kept postponing the closing date, forcing Corneville to reschedule appointments with his clients. After overhearing yet another heated cell-phone battle while Corneville was coloring her hair, Close got on the phone herself. But she didn’t pull a Cruella De Vil, threatening to skin the family puppy – all it took was a little sweet talk. “She was concerned that there might be a communication problem, since he’s French, and told them that she would do anything to help move the closing along,” a source tells us. The deal closed the next week.

With Catherine Townsend and Aric Chen.

March 4, 2002