The Fix

So who did Meryl Streep really base her villainous senator on? Is Martha ready to step up and serve her time? And which New Yorker writer gave more than a thousand clams to the Kerry campaign? Plus: A "Simple Life" drinking game -- that's hot!

Published July 23, 2004 9:00AM (EDT)

Turn On:
The mini-doc "Pulp Fiction on the Dime: 10th Anniversary Retrospective" (8 p.m. ET; IFC) examines the way Quentin Tarantino's film has affected movies over the last decade and whether its influence has been good -- like giving us "Kill Bill" -- or bad -- like reviving John Travolta's career. Also: On Sunday, "Dead Like Me" (10 p.m. ET; Showtime), Showtime's answer to "Six Feet Under," starts its second season.

-- Scott Lamb

Morning Briefing:
Liz names names: Meryl Streep may not be saying who inspired her portrayal of the evil senator in the "Manchurian Candidate" remake -- beyond that it wasn't Hillary Rodham Clinton -- but Liz Smith is. "Take it from me, the two people Meryl studied were Karen Hughes, the former and still-sometimes adviser to President George W. Bush, and Reagan speechwriter and conservative thinker Peggy Noonan," reports Smith. "And as I said yesterday, she added big dollops of her own Streep self. The funny part." (Liz Smith)

And who else? Frank Rich, by the way, saw John Ashcroft in Streep's portrayal. Or so reports Matt Drudge, who's published excerpts of Rich's column in the New York Times this Sunday. "I cannot recall when Hollywood last released a big-budget mainstream feature film as partisan as this one at the height of a presidential campaign," Drudge says Rich says of '"The Manchurian Candidate." "Freed from any obligations to fact, 'Manchurian Candidate' can play far dirtier than 'Fahrenheit 9/11' ... This movie could pass for the de facto fifth day of the [Democrat] convention itself." (Drudge)

Ready to take her lumps? A "well-placed source" says Martha Stewart is thinking of surrendering to the prison authorities to start serving her five-month sentence right away, while her appeal is considered, rather than waiting it all out. She feels that reaching closure on the matter as soon as possible would be "in the best interest of her company," according to the source, who opined, "I think it's smart move on her part. She goes in now, and she could be home for the holidays -- in time to cook a turkey." Cluck, cluck. (Rush and Molloy)

Oh and also? Liza Minnelli and David Gest's divorce is on hold until Gest's claim that Minnelli beat him is settled (Rush and Molloy) ... Increasingly large former "Cheers" star Kirstie Alley has just signed on with Showtime to do an unscripted comedy series loosely based on her life; the show will be called "Fat Actress" (Rush and Molloy) ... Princess Di's former lover James Hewitt was arrested in a London bar on suspicion of drug possession (N.Y. Daily News) ... David Chase may be writing three extra episodes of "The Sopranos," pushing the show's finale into 2006 (N.Y. Daily News) ... Former New York Times restaurant critics Mimi Sheraton and William Grimes are in a spat over the titles to their books. Hers, a memoir (already out): "Eating My Words." His, a dictionary of food terms (due soon): "Eating Your Words" (Page Six) ... New Yorker writers who contributed to the Kerry campaign: Hendrik Hertzberg ($900), Tad Friend ($500), John Lahr ($500), Roger Angell ($500) and David Denby ($1,250) (Michael Petrelis' blog via Page Six) ... Someone out there is playing a "Simple Life" drinking game in which everybody downs a shot every time Paris Hilton or Nicole Richie say "That's hot" (Page Six)

-- Amy Reiter

Bookmark The Fix here. To send a hot tip to The Fix, click here.

By Salon Staff

MORE FROM Salon Staff

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