Plus, Penelope Cruz talks about her personal life, Bill Clinton signs a historically huge book deal, and more

By Gary Susman
Updated August 15, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Nicole Kidman, The Others
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SPLIT DECISION Nicole Kidman finds herself in the awkward position of having to promote her new movie, ”The Others,” which was coproduced by Tom Cruise, the same week their marriage is officially ending. In fact, the pair are scheduled to make a joint appearance at the film’s Los Angeles premiere tonight, one day before the court is expected to finalize their divorce. Kidman has been giving a lot of television interviews lately and has had to comment on what she acknowledges is a ”bizarre” situation. ”You know, I’m a real person operating in the world, and for me to sit here in front of millions of people and discuss the most private thing, feels wrong,” she told Diane Sawyer yesterday on ”Good Morning America.” Asked about her soon to be ex-husband’s appearance with her at tonight’s premiere, Kidman told ”Entertainment Tonight” on Monday: ”Well, I am just so pleased that he is supporting the film, and he’s going to be there. He was a producer on the movie, and I suppose it’s a little strange, but it’s the work, isn’t it?” Perhaps her best comment, though, is one she made to David Letterman on the ”Late Show” last week, when he asked if there’s any upside to the breakup. She said, ”I can wear heels now.”

Meanwhile, Vanity Fair had the prescience to put Cruise’s ”Vanilla Sky” costar, Penélope Cruz, on the cover of its September issue, though the interview inside was conducted before Cruise announced he was dating her. The 27 year old actress talks about how the press commonly assume she’s dating her costars, including Cruise, Matt Damon, and Nicolas Cage. ”This happens to every actor and actress who’s in the public eye and sometimes it goes too far,” she says. ”Just because I’m in this profession doesn’t mean I have to deal with that and it’s OK. Sometimes it is not OK. I don’t get angry anymore because most of those things that they write are lies. I have been dealing with this since I was 16, finding things in magazines saying that I was going to marry a man, and I didn’t even know him.”

BILL OF SALE In what may be the biggest nonfiction book deal in publishing history, Bill Clinton has sold the rights to his memoir to the Alfred A. Knopf publishing house. Neither the former president nor the publisher would reveal the terms of the deal, but reports have Clinton receiving an advance anywhere from $8 to 12 million. That could dwarf the record $8.5 million paid to Pope John Paul II for a 1994 book and surpass the advance Simon & Schuster paid earlier this year to Senator Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), said to be between $7 and 8.5 million. Knopf president and editor-in-chief Sonny Mehta told Reuters the book would be a ”thorough and candid” account of Clinton’s life and that he didn’t ”imagine that the president would shy away from discussing anything that happened to him during his presidency,” including all the embarrassments and scandals. ”It should make for riveting reading for all of us.” The book is due in stores in 2003.

REEL DEALS With the star still hospitalized for exhaustion and unable to promote the movie, Twentieth Century Fox announced yesterday that it is pushing the release of Mariah Carey‘s ”Glitter” back three weeks, from Aug. 31 to Sept. 21. Carey’s spokeswoman says the decision to delay the release was entirely the studio’s. At this writing, Virgin is still planning to release Carey’s ”Glitter” album on August 21….

Bet MGM is wishing it had signed Reese Witherspoon to a sequel option for ”Legally Blonde,” back when she was a less powerful, less expensive star. Now that the film is a sleeper hit, MGM is indeed planning a sequel, in which Witherspoon is in talks to star, pending her approval of the screenplay. Guess she learned some leverage tips at Harvard Law….

Madonna, Chris Rock, Ben Stiller, and Jason Alexander make for an unlikely cast, especially for a kids’ movie, but they’re voicing the characters in DreamWorks’ animated ”Madagascar.” They’ll play zoo animals who are shipped back into the wild.

SOUND BITES Don’t blame Eminem this time; he wasn’t there. But his rap posse D12 was kicked off the Warped Tour after a backstage brawl with fellow Detroit rap group Natas, who were also booted from the tour. The fight occurred Friday after a show in Camden, N.J. Natas member Esham suffered a broken nose, a ruptured eyeball, a concussion and hearing damage to his left ear, and bandmate T.N.T. was also injured. Police are still investigating the incident, but a spokesman for D12, which still had 9 more dates on the tour, said the melee was ”spurred by D12’s concern for the safety of their guests”….

Wonder what Sheryl Crow saw in Kid Rock? Though the two are apparently no longer a couple (since he’s taken up with Pamela Anderson), Crow has high praise for Kid in an interview in the September issue of Esquire. ”He has an overview of what entertainment is that just blows my mind, a great scope of what people want and what’s considered kind of challenging to the audience,” Crow says of the 30 year old rap-rocker. ”The other thing is, he’s wildly talented. As he gets out and plays with other people, people are shocked at how talented he is.” As for her personal life, the 39 year old singer wants to get married and have kids. ”I want a husband who wants to be a part of a team. And it’s hard to find people that want to be with someone who’s in the public eye and who is gone a lot.” she says. ”I mean, honest to God, I can’t even know what it’s like to have kids…. But I’m sort of up for that. I’m a little bit burned out on everything being about me in my life”….

The music from last winter’s ”O Brother, Where Art Thou?” continues to have a life of its own. The movie’s soundtrack has sold 1.7 million copies, and performances by the traditional country and bluegrass artists who recorded it have been successes at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium and New York’s Carnegie Hall, with a recording of the Ryman concert selling 14,000 copies upon its release two weeks ago. Now, the ”O Brother” performers are planning a 20 city tour next January and February. Among the soundtrack musicians on the tour will be Emmylou Harris, Ralph Stanley, Allison Krauss and Union Station, and Norman Blake. Joining them will be Patty Loveless, whose latest album also features traditional tunes. Sorry, no George Clooney coming along to lip sync ”Man of Constant Sorrow.”

TUBE TALK Attention, actresses: want to appear on ”Spin City”? It helps to be blond. First, Heather Locklear joined the cast. This fall, when Michael J. Fox returns as a guest star in three episodes, former ”Wonder Years” star Olivia d’Abo will come along as his fiancée. And later in the season, Farrah Fawcett will show up for a couple of episodes. It’s enough to make you want to dye….

Joanie Laurer is planning a return to TV. You know her better as former WWF star Chyna. She’s in talks to star in a TV movie for Fox as a high school guidance counselor in a tough inner-city school, a project she describes as ”Dangerous Minds” meets ”Kindergarten Cop.” She’s also guest starring in the upcoming syndicated action series ”Tracker.”

STAGE DOOR Jennifer Jason Leigh is returning to Broadway this fall, taking over for Tony winner Mary-Louise Parker in the Pulitzer Prize-winning ”Proof” on Sept. 11. Leigh last made a splash on Broadway a couple years ago when she replaced Tony winner Natasha Richardson in the revival of ”Cabaret.”

PASSING NOTES Brazil’s most renowned novelist, Jorge Amado, died Monday of lung and heart failure at a hospital in the city of Salvador, where he lived. Amado, 88, was a diabetic who had been in poor health for years. He is best known for the novels ”Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon” and ”Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands,” both of which were made into movies starring Sonia Braga.

Christopher Hewett, the British actor whose distinguished 60-year stage career will probably be eclipsed in memory by his starring role as a suburban butler on ABC’s ”Mr. Belvedere,” died Friday at his home in Los Angeles. The 80-year-old Hewett, who played foil to Bob Uecker’s TV family from 1985 to 1990, also had memorable roles in such movies as ”The Lavender Hill Mob” and ”The Producers.”

Harmonica virtuoso Larry Adler, who performed with everyone from George Gershwin and Django Reinhardt to Sting and Sinead O’Connor, died at 87 Monday in a London hospital. In recent years he had been treated for cancer and had suffered two strokes. He was planning a concert in China at the time of his death.


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