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THE DIRT : 9/8/2001

…is here. Keeping up with the Bridget Joneses, having a few Jolies and sneaking a peek at the celebrity brat packs around the world, Luisa Browett dishes up…. The Dirt.

It seems the newest trend in Hollywood is not being dragged out of clubs and checked into rehab by well-meaning pals, but checking yourself in – before anyone else even realises you have a problem.

First that rebel-raiser from the Backstreet Boys AJ dobbed himself in, and now Pearl Harbor hottie Ben Affleck has put himself into a detox program.

The Oscar winner (Good Will Hunting) and well-known Hollywood party-boy has voluntarily checked himself into the Malibu based treatment facility Promises.

‘Ben is a self-aware and smart man who has decided that a fuller life awaits him without alcohol,’ his publicist, David Pollick, said in a statement on Friday. ‘He has chosen to seek out professional assistance and is committed to travelling a healthier road with the support of his family, friends and fans.’

In an ironic (or devastating – we can’t tell) twist – Ben’s father Tim Affleck has also had problems with booze. Now sober, Tim works at a Californian rehab centre, and has counselled Robert Downey Jnr with his drug problems.

No further details have been released, though we suspect that the rumours about a certain Miss Lewinsky having her eye on our hero may have been enough to have him reaching for the bottle.

It girl of the moment Angelina Jolie has been all over the news of late. The plump-lipped star of Tomb Raider has apparently been telling all of Tinseltown that she is desperate to have a baby with her like-minded wacko hubby Billy Bob Thornton.

Angelina told E! News that she is leaving a two and a half year gap before making the inevitable Tomb Raider sequel just in case she gets pregnant. However, sources at Paramount have hit back at these suggestions, claiming that Angelina has signed a no-pregnancy clause to avoid a bulked-up looking Lara.

Angelina was recently quoted as saying she ‘just wants to literally eat’ Billy Bob. ‘We just lie in bed and want to like, just eat the flesh off each other.’ Should make for some interesting Sunday barbies at their place.

In between eating her husband’s body parts, Angelina has been hotting up screens with Latino spunkrat Antonio Banderas. Critics who have seen early rushes of Original Sin (which opened on Friday in the US) have not been able to stop talking about the raunchy on-screen antics of the two sexy leads.

One Hollywood insider said ‘Angelina looks great… I suppose Antonio does too. You just don’t see much of him – he is too busy being on top of her!’

Angelina hotly denied rumours that the explicit love scenes were authentic. ‘I find that insulting,’ she pouted. ‘Antonio and I were just professionals doing our job. We would never do anything to hurt the ones we love.’ (Hmm like marry another woman’s boyfriend while she is out of town perhaps?)

Never one to bend to conformity, despite her recent mainstream success (or maybe because of it) Angelina added ‘He is married to a beautiful woman,’ referring to Melanie Griffith, ‘and I'd sooner sleep with her than have an affair with him.’

Mel may not be too keen about that however. Rumour has it that the renowned queen of jealousy is fuming over the sexy love scenes, and she has banned Antonio from doing anything too cosy with Angelina while promoting the film. She could always just get herself some more plastic surgery to try and compete – a bit more of a lip puff may get Antonio steamy.

There must have been an on-set joke on The Planet of the Apes, or after spending all that time pretending to be monkeys their brains have turned to (banana) mush. (groan… sorry!). Either way, Mark Wahlberg and Helena Bonham Carter are in serious hot water this week after slamming musician Janet Jackson.

In separate press conferences, the two stars made reference to Janet’s apparent resemblance to a monkey – giving weight to the idea that there may have been a few sneaky jokes dropped when shooting the blockbuster. While being interviewed on a US radio show, Mark was asked whether he found Helena – who is a chimp in the film – sexy when she was made up in her primate gear. Mark answered ‘Yes, she looked like Janet Jackson.’

But wait – there’s still more. On the same day, in a separate interview, Helena was quizzed about the look she had to adopt for the role. She told a reporter ‘Christ, the amount of palaver and shenanigans over that hair. I would have liked it messier, less done. It's kind of Janet Jackson-ish, not to be derogatory.’

Yep, being called a chimp by two leading actors for millions of people to hear couldn’t possibly be classed as derogatory could it?

So far Janet has not responded with any name-calling herself, though it’s safe to assume she is not too pleased.

We’d like to say the saga is nearly over but it seems it is only just beginning. Nicole Kidman is absolutely fuming about Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz’s now public relationship. In the latest reports Nic has apparently demanded the Spanish sexpot stay far away from the couple’s two adopted children – Isabella and Connor.

Nic had her doubts about the pair’s relationship ever since they first started shooting Vanilla Sky. Upon seeing romantic shots of them splashed across the magazines an angry Nic told a friend ‘He flat out swore to me there was nothing going on. He obviously had her waiting in the wings until he started looking like a nice guy again’.

Despite all else, Nic sure plays the part of a woman scorned well. Looking ravishing, she swept into the New York premiere of her latest movie The Others late last week. The fresh divorcee worked the crowd, in a black chiffon dress and trouser suit with a stunning diamond brooch nestled at the collar. In the flick, Nic plays a cold-hearted, hysterical control freak who terrorises her two young children (Um, no relation to real-life?). Tom himself served as an executive producer.

Hollywood was practically salivating at the prospect of an imminent meeting of the now ex-lovers. But fears of an awkward red-carpet rendezvous were alleviated when Cruise decided to attend the LA premiere instead.

The uncomfortable (yet imminent) post-breakup encounter is certainly handled more easily when you have private jets, multiple premieres in various cities across America and millions of dollars to buy some spunky designer clobber to ensure you are looking your best.

There are possibly only a few people in Australia who are mourning the death of Christopher Skase.

One such group of people who will be lamenting the loss is the team behind the upcoming Australian flick Let’s Get Skase, who have been rushing through post-production faster than you can say ‘Get me a Ventilator’.

The group are fearful that the film will not be well-received sans-Skase, following the chilly reception that greeted Toni Collette’s Diana and Me, which was forced to go straight to video after Princess Diana’s unfortunate (and untimely) demise.

Somehow we don’t think they will have that problem – alive or dead Skasey was no Princess Di… need we say more.

Shamed drug addict Robert Downey Jnr was not invited back to Ally McBeal after he was placed in rehab following yet another drug related arrest in April. The Golden Globe winning star’s rather ungraceful fall from the wagon meant that creator/writer/producer David E Kelley had to hurriedly rewrite what can only be called a ‘dodgy’ season finale.

With his pariah status in Hollywood firmly established, the music world has now embraced Robert. He recently appeared on Ally singing a sultry duet with Sting, and has featured heavily on the new album from the show. One fan of his musical ability is obviously Elton John, who has just cast Robert in his new video clip. The new song - I Want Love - has a clip that is all Robert. Although he doesn’t feature vocally, the actor’s rep Alan Nierob said ‘There’s not one else in the video but him.’ Looks like someone has a crush!

Robert received an Emmy nod for his role as Larry in Ally, and he has confirmed he will attend the ceremony next month. After his heartfelt and apologetic speech at the Golden Globes last year (where he acknowledged his problem with drugs), we can hardly wait for the reception speech should he win an Emmy.

After the lacklustre result in this year’s US presidential election, Americans are looking for someone who can make a difference. Someone a little distinct. Someone with no political agenda. Someone with a film career perhaps.

Fans of John Cusack have created a website which promotes the Cusack for President campaign. What started as something as a joke has snowballed into what could well turn out to be a fully-fledged campaign.

Apparently approximately 200 people have volunteered to begin campaigning for the actor in various cities across the US. ‘It may seem silly at first, but on the other hand, there are not many other compelling candidates out there. John Cusack, from what we can tell, is a good person, has strong progressive values and could make a good candidate. It is a funny idea, but we think humour in politics is a good thing anyway,’ said Dan Carol, a former Democratic party consultant. What with Monica Lewinsky, and John Howard’s eyebrows, we thought there was humour enough already.

Check out the campaign at www.junction-city.com. And think of it this way – it really couldn’t get any worse.

Mr James Bond himself, Pierce Brosnan, was married on Saturday to long-time partner Keely Shaye Smith.

The pair exchanged vows in a ceremony held at an 800-year-old Irish abbey in County Mayo, western Ireland.

A massive security presence ensured that no one except the privileged invited guests got a peek at the bride or groom. Only Britain’s Hello magazine was allowed inside, and rumour has it that the ticket cost them close to A$2 million.

The couple had been forced to delay their wedding twice. It was originally scheduled for the spring of 2000, but pushed back due to a terrible car accident which injured Pierce’s 16-year-old son Sean.

It is Pierce’s second marriage – his first wife and Sean’s mother Cassandra died due to ovarian cancer in 1991. Pierce had adopted Cassandra’s two children from a previous relationship, and has two children with Keely – Dylan (4) and Paris, who was christened at the abbey the night before the wedding.

Nice to see a good guy finish first.

Nicolas Cage will join the legion of famous actors and actresses and leave his mark on Hollywood on August 14 – literally.

The star of the upcoming Captain Corelli’s Mandolin has been invited to leave his hand and footprints outside the famous Mann’s Chinese Theatre.

However, the event has not been without controversy. The initial press release issued by Universal listed the upcoming flick Ghost Rider among Cage’s film credits. Cage was apparently a cert for the part – but had yet to sign on the proverbial dotted line.

Seems it may have been a case of counting those chickens – shortly afterwards, Universal issued another hurriedly prepared statement, requesting that any mention of Ghost Rider be removed. Hmm…

You can invite the relos over to a Sunday brunch and announce it then. You can simply call your friends and break the happy news over the phone. Or you can announce your impending nuptials on national television – which is exactly what The Matrix star Laurence Fishburne did last week.

While promoting his latest movie – the semi-animated Osmosis Jones - Laurence (who turned 40 this year) revealed that he recently popped the question to his actress girlfriend Gina Torres. She was in the audience when Laurence shared the news, and looked more than a little shell-shocked.

Demi Moore – remember her? – is making a comeback. However, don’t go thinking a Travolta-Tarantino style return is on the cards. The actress – who was once the highest paid female (actress, that is) in Hollywood - has re-launched her career by doing voice-overs for car commercials.

Demi has been heard huskily touting the virtues of a Chevy – and is said to be lined up to do some more voice-over work for other products.

Is Bruce Willis paying a measly alimony? Or does Demi believe in that ‘used-by-date’ theory a little too much? The Dirt would be more than happy to see the still-saucy star return to the screen. But please – no more Stripteases or GI Jane antics.

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Published August 9, 2001

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