Jacko inspired by balloon battle

His Glovedness can't give Mr. Mouth a rest; Michelle Pfeiffer on itchy latex. Plus: "Austin Powers, the Man With the Golden Member"?

Published January 29, 2002 5:23PM (EST)

If you've ever wondered where Michael Jackson finds the inspiration for his most heartfelt love songs, the answer is at hand: He gets it from playing with kids.

In a strictly innocent way, of course. Like, say, the water balloon fight that moved him to write his recent power ballad "Speechless," a plaintive song of a love that dare not speak.

(Sample lyrics: "When I'm with you, I'm at a loss for words. I don't know what to say. My head's spinning like a carousel. So silently I pray. Helpless and hopeless, that's how I feel inside ...")

"I was with these kids in Germany, and we had a big water balloon fight and I was so happy after the fight that I ran upstairs in their house and wrote 'Speechless,'" Jackson tells Vibe magazine.

A balloon-inspired burst of inspiration, you might call it.

"Fun inspires me. I hate to say that, because it's such a romantic song. But it was the fight that did it," he says. "I was happy, and I wrote it in its entirety right there."

He just has to know how this stuff sounds.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Here, kitty, kitty ...

Anyone hoping for a little hissing and scratching from Michelle Pfeiffer in response to the casting of Ashley Judd instead of her as Catwoman in the next Batman film, due out next year, can kiss that notion goodbye.

Pfeiffer admits to being a little disappointed about being passed over, but she's being a real pussycat about the whole thing nonetheless.

"I had hoped to play the role again, but I think Ashley will be great as Catwoman," Pfeiffer recently told the Calgary Sun. "Studios like change and there's always a new person playing Batman, so it makes sense to have someone new play Catwoman and Robin."

And just to make it clear that her back is in no way up, Pfeiffer is even ready to share a little feline to feline advice with her successor.

"Ashley should definitely make sure the mask fits because mine was squishing my face through half of the movie," she says. "I also hope her cat outfit is a lot more comfortable than mine was. All that latex proved very itchy."

Now doesn't that all sound purr-fectly civil?

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Speaking of unexpected civility ...

"There's some acrimony, but it's not overwhelming."

-- Meg Ryan on her relationship with her ex, Dennis Quaid, in Reader's Digest.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Juicy bits

Ellen DeGeneres might have time to start that family sooner than she expected. Looks like CBS is pulling the plug on production of her newish sitcom, "The Ellen Show." According to Variety, not enough people tuned in to watch the show during its original Friday night time slot to make it worth the network's while, though a move to Monday night did improve matters to some degree. If all else fails, she could always try that whole coming-out thing again.

A randy spy by any other name ... The producers of the new Austin Powers film, "Goldmember," are fighting to keep the title of the film amid objections by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer that it was too obvious a reference to the James Bond flick "Goldfinger." According to the Wall Street Journal, the Motion Picture Association of America has upheld MGM's complaint, prompting the Powers producers at New Line to recall advance promotion materials until a resolution is reached. Maybe they should call it "The Man With the Golden Member" instead?

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Miss something? Read yesterday's Nothing Personal.

By Amy Reiter

MORE FROM Amy Reiter

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Celebrity Michael Jackson