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Rambling Reporter

Andrew Schwartz/HBO

Kate Winslet Gets Chicken When director Todd Haynes (Safe, Far From Heaven) decided to make an HBO miniseries of James M. Cain’s novel Mildred Pierce, he right away imagined Kate Winslet as this 1930s self-invented American woman. “But the first thing Kate asked me,” laughs Haynes, “is why I’d cast a British actress for a very American role. And she got me! But she’s played American in so many films that I take for granted she can do it.” But no: Winslet went into legendary research mode, first having to master Cain’s arch 1930s language, then working with a dialect coach. Another skill Winslet had to acquire: cooking, chiefly chicken and pies, as Mildred opens her own cafe. “She hacked up those chickens for real,” Haynes tells THR. “Kate worked extra hard, buying whole chickens by the dozens and taking them home to practice.” Haynes even took her to Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio’s house: “He gave her tips on really good ways to cut up a chicken,” says Haynes. “I think she wlll have chicken parts coming out of her freezer forever.”

Funny Mom
One might think Seth Rogen would be a little intimidated by soon-to-be co-star Barbra Streisand: They’ll share the screen in the 2012 Paramount road-trip comedy My Mother’s Curse. Mostly he’s played opposite funny contemporaries, but what star has the legacy, not to mention temperament, of Streisand? “We’re starting in May,” Rogen says. “I’m a big fan of Barbra’s. Sure, it’s somewhat intimidating, but she reminds me so much of my mother, it puts me at ease. I’m already in character.”

Star’s Poison Pen?
The ladies of The View can get a little catty — and we’ve heard worse — but are they Satan’s Sisters? That’s the name of the first novel (Simon & Schuster) by Star Jones, and talk about roman a clef: It’s set at a TV talk show called The Lunch Club with five co-hosts who are reminiscent of Jones’ former co-stars. And to get even closer to home, a fictional former cast member has written a show tell-all (yes, Inception fans, a book within a book) with a plot that includes a child-molester husband, weight problems, pill problems, unbridled ambition — and a whole lot of sex. “The biggest game right now,” Jones tells THR, “is people trying to figure out who is who. Honestly, everything in the book really happened to people I’ve known throughout my career, but all the female characters have some aspect of me. For instance, [character] Shelley’s unbridled ambition is definitely mine. I’m not gonna lie!” But Jones is adamant about one thing: “We were all in our Spanx together; that’s a sisterhood. I’m not the kind of person to write a real tell-all. ”

Eyeing the Prize
Actors win all kinds of awards, but this caught our attention: The eighth annual Vail Film Festival (March 31-April 3) is giving Kate Bosworth the Excellence in Acting Award. Who on Earth could make this choice? Fest co-director Scott Cross tells THR, “I can see that people might question this. But she’s not just a pretty face. A lot of it’s based on what we think she might be doing in the future.” We’re guessing there were psychics on their board. The award has previously gone to Olivia Wilde and Jesse Eisenberg, pre-Social Network.

Punch and Jury
You might recall that KNBC anchor Robert Kovacik got a Christmas gift in the form of a hard punch in the nose at the Polo Lounge on Christmas Eve. He was having a pleasant evening with Real Housewives of Beverly HillsLisa Vanderpump and her husband, Ken Todd, when a man began hurling insults at Vanderpump and wouldn’t stop. Kovacik, after a polite attempt to quiet him, was allegedly hit hard and left bleeding by Roger Eduardo Talavera. He recovered thanks to plastic surgeon Paul Nassif (husband of Housewives star Adrienne Maloof), who treated his torn lip with two-dozen stitches. On March 18, Kovacik and Vanderpump attended a preliminary hearing at the Beverly Hills Courthouse, having to face Talavera. Says Vanderpump, “It was weird but unfortunately necessary.” The hearings will determine whether the case goes to trial or ends in a plea deal. Will this all end up on Bravo?

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POWER LUNCH

It was a family affair at Delphine restaurant in Hollywood’s W Hotel. Jane Lynch was spotted eating with her family; a few days later, Adam Sandler brought his family for a meal and desserts before taking the kids to see Beauty and the Beast at the Pantages. … Legendary 89-year-old producer Walter Mirisch pitching movie ideas to producer Jonathan Glickman over lunch at Cecconi’s; UTA’s Chris Day was nearby. Courteney Cox had a late lunch there the day before. … Michelle Rodriguez dining with a friend at Le Pain Quotidien on Melrose. …  Seth Rogen, fiancee Lauren Miller and his parents at Campanile. … Jerry Weintraub and family dining at Craig’s, as well as Gary Winnick and Xenon Pictures’ Leigh Savidge. … Jimmy Fallon at Dan Tana’s with Late Night producer Michael Shoemaker. … Jeff Goldblum brought his 26-year-old model-actress girlfriend Lydia Hearst, elder daughter of Patty Hearst, to the new Fig & Olive for a date, but neither had a drink. … Jessica Biel threw younger brother Justin a 20-person birthday party at the new Café Entourage in Hollywood.

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