Jewish World Review May 19, 2004 / 28 Iyar, 5764

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Consumer Reports


A hex on 'Mr. and Mrs. Smith'?; girls just wanna get mad; more


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | NEW YORK — Is there a sinister curse on the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie vehicle "Mr. and Mrs. Smith"?


Rupert Murdoch's 20th Century Fox is hoping to release the $125 million thriller through distributor New Regency in the summer of 2005.


The film — in which Pitt and Jolie play a bored married couple who are actually professional assassins hired to kill each other — has been plagued by sickness and budget overruns, and is behind schedule to boot.


Now we hear that 25 pages of the script were never shot before the movie wrapped last month, forcing director Doug Liman to triage out many scenes and try and recall the busy actors, who have scattered to the four winds and other commitments, to shoot only the most crucial parts.


The alleged curse manifested itself even before shooting commenced last November, when Nicole Kidman pulled out as the leading lady, and Pitt reportedly had to be talked into staying on after discussions with Catherine Zeta-Jones fell through. Then, in March, Pitt and Jolie — who swap spit on camera — both fell ill with a flu-like contagion, fueling rumors of an extracurricular romance and shutting down production for weeks.


Evidently, director Liman simply ran out of time. One of the few scenes Fox insists on shooting, sometime in late August, dangles Pitt and Jolie from a ledge atop New York's Bryant Park Hotel.


But a spy close to the production reports that the film is already $25 million over budget.


Fox spokeswoman Flo Grace told this column Tuesday, "That's not good information. We have wrapped, and we are on budget. It's possible we'll have to shoot a couple of pickup scenes when Brad's done with 'Ocean's Twelve.' "

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THE BRIEFING


GIRLS JUST WANNA GET MAD: Flamboyant celebrity fashion critic Steven Cojocaru, who regularly bares his claws on the "Today" show and "Entertainment Tonight," seems to have gotten under Cyndi Lauper's skin. At a benefit concert to raise money for multiple sclerosis research in Los Angeles over the weekend, Lauper whirled on Cojocaru and scolded: "You are the guy who makes us feel bad about ourselves. Yet you so desperately want to be one of us?" In response, the cheeky Cojocaru has turned the other cheek. "He thought it was absolutely hilarious," Cojocaru's publicist told me. "His personal anthem is 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.'"


STRITCH IN TIME: In "Elaine Stritch At Liberty," the HBO documentary premiering May 29 about her hit one-woman show, she's crusty, cranky, earthy and hilarious. But at Monday night's celeb-studded screening, followed by dinner at the Carlisle Hotel, Elaine Stritch flexed her humility muscles. "I had no idea at this stage of my life that my life would be interesting to the public and to friends and associates in this business," the 79-year-old Broadway legend told the cheering crowd, which included filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus; actresses Glenn Close and Tovah Feldshuh; high-class lounge pianists Michael Feinstein, Peter Cincotti and Bobby Short; and Stritch's sisters from Michigan, Georgene Moran and Sally Bolton Skilagyi.


APPLE-POLISHING: Now that Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin have a daughter, Us Weekly reports that Coldplay's booking agent, Marty Diamond, and Paltrow's "Shallow Hal" director, Peter Farrelly, both named their girls "Apple." The proud new father told the mag: "It's just a cool name."



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© 2003, Creators Syndicate