Wednesday, August 21, 2013

LIZ SMITH: Bewitching a New Generation ...

Kim Novak in “Bell, Book and Candle.”
Will "Bell, Book and Candle" Bewitch a New Generation of Movie-Goers? ... Katy Perry Admires Nick Symmonds ... Cher's "Closer To The Truth" Album — Is Her Voice Actually Better Than Ever? ... Lunch With a Bestseller — Luanne Rice. 
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
by Liz Smith

“THE BEST part about being over forty is that we did most of our stupid stuff before the Internet!” offers ace reporter Nancy Collins.
THE OTHER day, after we wrote about Kim Novak’s coming tribute on Turner Classic Movies, film producer Jay Weston e-mailed to say that he has been working on a re-make of one of Kim’s most famous movies, “Bell, Book and Candle.”

In that one, Kim was a witch living in modern-day Manhattan with her warlock brother Jack Lemmon and a befuddled older witch, played by Elsa Lanchester. Kim puts a spell on James Stewart to make him fall in love with her. (As if the gorgeous Miss Novak needed such strenuous, supernatural efforts!)

Mr. Weston — who has produced such hits as “Lady Sings the Blues” — says he’s been working with Harvey Weinstein for years on this project, as far back as HW’s Disney/Miramax days. Now, the project might be a go at The Weinstein Company. (Although Harvey has had a rapprochement of sorts with Disney recently.)

Weston imagines Scarlett Johansson or Charlize Theron as Gillian, the lovely witch and “ a young Tom Hanks type” perhaps, as the hapless mortal who gets tangled up in all the potions, notions and unexplainable happenings.

(We must remember, however, that in the original film, James Stewart was considerably older than Miss Novak. Mr. Hanks might be just fine just as he is. Especially paired with Miss Theron, one of the few women who exudes real star pizzazz these days.)
POP STAR Katy Perry was impressed by Silver Medal winner Nick Symmonds, who dedicated his medal to: “all my gay and lesbian friends,” after his win in Moscow last week. So impressed, in fact, was Miss Perry, that she got in touch with Nick personally, and praised his gesture and his courage.
WHEN FANS finally get to hear all of Cher’s coming CD, “Closer to the Truth,” they will be happy with all the high-powered thump-thump, techno dance-floor numbers. But they will be truly surprised by the quality of Cher’s ballads. Cher uses aspects of her voice — a delicate upper register that are rarely heard. (And it’s her, not any digital fussing around.) Of course, the “big” part of her voice is as big — if not bigger — than ever.

In fact, after listening to the album recently, Cher said, with typical bemused self-deprecation: “I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I think I almost sound better than I did twenty years ago! How freaky is that?! Is it even possible? Or have I finally lost my mind?” Dear Cher — unusual but not freaky ... possible if you live healthy ... no, you have not lost your mind!

Or anything else that made you a star 49 years ago.
I WAS told at a recent lunch in the Connecticut River Valley that I would have a surprise guest on my right; someone I admired and liked but had lost track of.

Lo and behold, it was true. My companion was one of the most popular fiction writers in the United States, and particularly in Connecticut where she is worshipped in whatever bookstores still exist across the state.

Lifting a fork in greeting was Luanne Rice — 31 best-selling novels to her credit and the author of last year's well-regarded “Little Night.” Her new book, “The Lemon Orchard,” is not only stunningly citrus-flavored but set in California where Luanne experiments with an unusual love affair near the Santa Monica Mountains. And a cross-racial love affair takes place.

Luanne is not a completely converted Californian. She keeps a home in New York’s West Village and visits her old Nutmeg State friends often.

This new book is one of Luanne’s best! It will warm your soul. Even if you haven’t read Luanne Rice, you’ve seen the movies from five of her books. Two of her works appeared off-Broadway. She is an inspiration to story-tellers everywhere with 22 million copies of her works in print.

We had a high old time together and Luanne has caused me to begin working again on my idea of a comic novel — about life after death. Luanne Rice makes it all sound so easy. She says don’t think of people reading it. Don’t pay anyone any mind. Just let it flow. I loved this advice!
Madonna and Lola after the Jean Paul Gaultiershow back in 1994.
A PERSONAL condolence to my friend, Liz Rosenberg, who lost her beautiful dog, Lola, after 18 years of a fabulous life. Being spoiled and adored by Liz and her hubby Phil Citron is no small thing.

Lola was a present from Liz’s long-time client Madonna, who rolled puppy Lola onto a fashion runway at the Jean Paul Gaultier show. Liz fell instantly in love, and the next day, Madonna handed the still-unnamed puppy to Liz and said, “You must call her Lola!”

Lola had a happy life with Liz and Phil, whose affection for their pets is almost legendary. But in recent times Lola’s quality of life had declined drastically. “If love were enough,” said Liz, “she’d still be here.”

Liz Rosenberg’s maternal qualities extend to her friends, clients and almost any animal. She is one of the most loving and genuine people I have ever encountered in an often un-loving not-at-all-genuine business. I know Lola is in a better place now, young, healthy, and romping with her two late companions, Boo Boo and Max.

Contact Liz Smith here.

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