Katie Couric is making the most of her interview with Hillary Clinton -- stretching it out over several mornings on "The Today Show." This morning she played a "word game" with the senator and former first lady, throwing names at her for immediate responses. When she said "Ken Starr" Hillary said "prosecutor" (frustrating Katie no end). Bill Clinton elicited "My husband, a great president." Then came the biggie: "Monica Lewinsky." To that name Hillary replied -- without a flinch -- "Ken Starr," noting that she thought his invasion of Lewinsky's and everyone else's privacy was wrong. The lady has nerves of steel.
Speaking of politics, brainy actor John Cusack, who grew up in a leftie household, says in a recent interview that he's not a huge fan of the Democrats but that he thinks there is a "huge difference between them and the Bush crowd. Don't tell me Al Gore would have handed out the contract to rebuild Iraq before he'd given the order to bomb it." (MSNBC)
Renée Zellweger is pulling a Robert De Niro, putting on pounds for her role in the sequel to "Bridget Jones's Diary," which starts shooting in six weeks and requires the leading lady to be rather zaftig. How is she doing it? Doughnuts! Word is that she's stuffing 20 a day, chasing them with Big Macs, fries and high-fat milkshakes. For lunch, there's pizza, peanut butter, chips and more doughnuts. Dinner, of course, is spaghetti with potatoes and butter. The name of the new movie is apt: "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason." Maybe it'll be as good as "Raging Bull." (Ananova)
The eight-month marriage of movie producer extraordinaire Bob Evans (73) and former movel Leslie Ann Woodward (34) looks to be kaput -- the latter having moved to the Beverly Hills Hotel. Bob, Bob, Bob ... we know you love those leggy gals, but Leslie was about 2 years old when you were working on "The Godfather." Find someone who's old enough to have seen your flicks in the movie theater, babe. (NY Post)
Is there a more daunting role for an actress than being asked to portray the great Katharine Hepburn on-screen? Director Martin Scorsese is working on a movie about Kate and her relationship with Howard Hughes (to be played by Leonardo DiCaprio) and was set to use Nicole Kidman until scheduling conflicts arose. Now it looks like the feisty female will be played by Aussie Cate Blanchett. If her turn as an American in "The Talented Mr. Ripley" is any indication, Cate will be a great Kate. (IMDB)
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For those of you worried about how former New York Times executive editor Howell Raines is spending his sudden glut of free time, an answer: He's gone fishing. "He caught a 21-inch rainbow trout and he told me that was a good thing," the paper's publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., who accepted Raines' resignation less than a week ago, tells the New York Observer. "I don't fish so I don't know."
The incredibly horrible Hulk? The upcoming big-screen version of "The Hulk," due out a week from Friday, may be getting awful word of mouth based on rough cuts circulating on the Internet, but Universal, the company behind the flick, swears it's not so bad. Really. "As is often the case with highly anticipated media content, the nature of such [Web] postings is more often an indication of the appetite for the movie rather than an accurate link to such content," Universal spokeswoman Susan Fleishman told the press. (E! Online)
Only J.Lo would think firing everyone in sight would make her seem like less of a diva.
How cheap does Pamela Anderson come? For only $7.99 she'll greet you in bed and tell you to bark like a dog. The former "Baywatch" star has signed on with a celebrity wake-up service that, for less than 10 clams a month, will treat you to special Pammy-voiced messages like this: "Hi, it's Pamela. I love animals, they're fun to play with. Are you fun to play with? How about getting down on your hands and knees and barking like a dog. Now get your ass out of bed and fetch my slippers. Have a great day." (AFP via the Times of India)
Speaking of stars you might think are sexy, Rod Stewart is making like Abba and putting his music onstage. "Tonight's the Night," a musical based on the songs of Stewart, is scheduled to open in London's West End this October. "It's a boy-girl love story and though Rod never appears in it and no one playing Rod appears, the feeling of Rod purveys the whole thing," Stewart's manager, Arnold Stiefel, a co-producer of the musical, told Reuters. Added Stewart: "It's a great body of songs. I didn't realize till I heard all these songs back, how long and how many songs I've had." Guess that's why he didn't call the song, "Do Ya Think I'm Modest." (Reuters)
"There is a sense of excitement in the city," the Gary, Ind., mayor's office says. Why? Because Michael Jackson's coming to town to visit his boyhood home and his brothers' old high school. "He wanted to give something back to the community," Jackson spokesman Stuart Backerman told the Chicago Sun Times.
Just because your father's president of the United States, that doesn't mean you can't dirty-dance in public and belt out James Brown's "Sex Machine." First twins Jenna and Barbara Bush reportedly did just that at a Washington karaoke bar last week. After Jenna did her best Brown impression -- taking the mike and hollering "Get up! Get up! Get up!" -- Barbara shared her rendition of "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" and "Sweet Home Alabama" and commenced to dancin' all racy, the Washington Post reports. And according to the New York Daily News, the young 'uns stiffed the bar's wait staff on a tip. Sounds like someone might wanna up their allowance.
Who would you people cast as Monica Lewinsky in the upcoming Hillary Clinton TV movie? Suggestions ranged from Shannen Doherty, Brittany Murphy and Anna Nicole Smith to John Goodman, Adam Sandler and Andy Dick, but the most popular choices were Courteney Cox Arquette in her fat-Monica suit from "Friends," Rosie O'Donnell, Ricki Lake, Christina Ricci, Monica herself and (my favorite) Kelly Osbourne. One reader even suggested Miss Piggy: "Clearly, she's the only actress with 'the chops' for the role."
-- Amy Reiter