Now that's a scary movie!

Cast: Brando nearly kicked the bucket on "Scary Movie 2" set; Madonna rumor runs wild; Cruise and Cruz fail to synchronize publicists.

Published July 19, 2001 4:51PM (EDT)

Marlon Brando may not have brought his remote-controlled whoopee cushion with him to the set of "Scary Movie 2," but he didn't fail to make his fellow cast members sit up and take notice.

Brando, who eventually relinquished his priest role to the equally mature for his age James Woods, was so sick with walking pneumonia the day he showed up on the set, everyone feared he might plotz on the spot.

"We all went to [director] Keenen Ivory Wayans and told him no movie should kill Brando -- least of all 'Scary Movie 2,'" Andy Richter, who was to star alongside Brando, told the Calgary Sun. "It was really surreal. I kept shaking my head and thinking that this coughing, hacking priest was really the great Marlon Brando. Between takes he'd shuffle back to a nurse who was guarding his oxygen bottle and strap on a mask."

Natasha Lyonne, meanwhile, was a little scared on her own behalf as well. "At one point, he was supposed to leap on me," she told the paper. "I can tell you that prospect had me just a little worried. He's kind of large to say the least."

Lucky for Lyonne, Brando was forced to bow out before attempting the leap. Then again, she says, "He stayed long enough that day to fake groping me."

A contendah till the end.

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Forgetting his manners

"If we piss [Alzheimer's sufferers] off, they'll only be pissed off for a very short time, and then they won't remember that they're pissed off. Maybe they'll get half a letter out."

-- Christopher Titus on whether the Alzheimer's jokes in an upcoming episode of his show, "Titus," will upset sufferers of the disease, in TV Guide Online.

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Material witnesses

Anyone trying to nail down Madonna's taste in lovers has their work cut out for them.

One minute the Material Girl is proclaiming herself a dedicated follower of machismo. "Give me macho or give me death!" she barks in the U.K. edition of InStyle magazine, in which she dubs her husband, Guy Ritchie, "gorgeous, talented, supermacho."

The next minute, her hardworking spokeswoman, Liz Rosenberg, is fending off reports that the perpetual pop star once "borrowed" a female stripper named "Baby" from Atlanta's Gold Club. So testified the club's former manager George Kontos during a federal racketeering trial involving the club's owner on Monday.

"I doubt it happened," Rosenberg tells the New York Daily News. But then again, "I don't know if it's anything that Madonna would be ashamed of."

After all, the incident is said to have happened in the mid-'90s, back before Madonna's love-bitten spiritual transformation. ("Love is scary, isn't it," she shares in InStyle. "I'm not scared about commitment -- that's nothing. I'm scared about love. Loving something -- anything -- that intensely, there is major fear and awe.")

And getting her thrills "to go" is apparently something the singer continues to do with vigor. London tabloids are all aflutter after she and Ritchie were seen leaving a snazzy London eatery gauchely carrying "what appeared to be a doggy bag."

Maybe she has a doggy?

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Here lie Meg and Dennis

"When you break up, your whole identity is shattered. That's why it's like death. It is a death. I've been off looking for that new identity, and I think Meg's doing that, too. We're both trying to find out, 'Who am I outside of this relationship?"'

-- Dennis Quaid on coping with the untimely (yet apparently amicable) demise of his marriage to Meg Ryan, in W magazine.

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Communication issues

Penelope Cruz, please call your publicist.

While the rest of the world is buzzing about your newly minted relationship with Tom Cruise, an alliance confirmed by Cruise's own spokeswoman, your poor flack is apparently completely in the dark.

"There is not a relationship that I'm aware of," Cruz's P.R. woman told the press amid the hubbub this week.

Then again, Cruise could stand to place a long-distance call from Fiji to his people, too.

Asked whether Cruz was among the "bunch of people" (including "Vanilla Sky" director Cameron Crowe and members of Cruise's family) vacationing with her client at the Wakaya Club island resort this week, Cruise spokewoman Pat Kingsley replied, "I honestly, truly, don't know the answer to that question."

On second thought, forget the phone call. Just show her the money.

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Miss something? Read yesterday's Nothing Personal.

By Amy Reiter

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Celebrity Marlon Brando Tom Cruise