Russell Crowe Grows Up: Studio chiefs still wield a lot of power over stars. Notoriously press-shy Russell Crowe happened to be staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Dec. 2, the day the March of Dimes held its Celebration of Babies lunch there. Ron and Kelly Meyer co-chaired, and when Ron found out that Crowe -- who's starred in many a Universal movie -- was upstairs, he made a "special request" that the actor come down and have his picture taken. Crowe immediately complied, snapping pics with pal Brian Grazer, then tore out as fast as he could.
Sudden Pitt Stop
Terence Winter has all kinds of plot logic to explain the shocking murder of Michael Pitt's Jimmy Darmody character on Boardwalk Empire's season two finale. But some industry types who've worked with Pitt are snickering that Winter knew months ago this is how season two would end for the character -- and the actor, who insiders claim was far more trouble than he was worth, despite his top billing and good looks. An HBO exec counters, "That rumor is unfounded." Pitt's rep couldn't be reached.
Nolan's Bat Fan Swarm
Christopher Nolan could have been Batman himself the way movie bloggers engulfed him Dec. 8 when Warner Bros. previewed seven minutes of The Dark Knight Rises at the Imax at Universal CityWalk. Nolan introduced the footage, and later, as he strolled alone into the lobby, about 15 members of the geek squad encircled him, making even the highly composed director claustrophobic. PR types soon stepped in, realizing they'd been more than a bit lax.
Anne Hathaway's Got Butterflies
Anne Hathaway fiance Adam Shulman is a unique multihyphenate: actor-writer-jewelry designer. It turns out a request from Hathaway provided the impetus for his jewelry company James Banks Designs. "When I told my boyfriend I love butterflies and didn't like any of the butterfly jewelry I see, he started a line of butterflies," she told THR a few months ago. "My character in One Day is a butterfly; she has a painful transformation and emerges changed and beautiful." THR has learned a tad more about Shulman: His great-aunt was the notorious Leona Helmsley, and he was raised in a rather swanky part of Connecticut. Guess he's not your average TV actor after all …
Anne Sweeney: Closet Raider!
Disney/ABC's Anne Sweeney may have topped THR's Women in Entertainment Power 100 yet again for 2011, but she still packs like any other always-on-the-go exec. "I am the queen of the carry-on," she says of her travel routine. "Black skirts and tights: It's my uniform." So when THR contacted her rep, Kevin Brockman, at the last minute to see if his boss would be free for a Nov. 30 shoot, Sweeney, traveling in NYC, didn't shop (who has time?). Instead, she improvised and headed straight into the ABC News wardrobe department. That jacket she's sporting in the above picture? It's Diane Sawyer's.
Nicholson Still a Crybaby
It's true: Jack Nicholson sheds tears in the Dec. 16 doc Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel, about B-movie king Roger Corman. Nicholson originally agreed to only a 20-minute session at NYC's Carlyle Hotel but ended up reminiscing for hours, breaking down over the career push the schlockmeister gave him. Nicholson made his film debut in Corman's The Cry Baby Killer in 1958. Explains director Alex Stapleton: "After we finished, Jack told me, 'I've only gone on camera one other time for something like this -- for Stanley Kubrick. Taking stock of his vulnerable moment, Nicholson added, "And I'm not going to do it again."
Caulfield's is quietly becoming an industry hotbed. Recent visitors included Lawrence Bender, Edward Burns and a trio of CAA agents: Mick Sullivan, Jim Toth and Joel Lubin -- all in separately. … Ryan Murphy together with Toth's wife, Reese Witherspoon, at Soho House. (Witherspoon, of course, sang in Walk the Line. Could a guest spot on Glee be far behind?) … UTA's been thick at Blvd of late: Agents Howie Sanders, Kassie Evashevski and Jason Burns all have occupied seats. Other patrons have included Summit's Erik Feig, Brillstein's Aleen Keshishian, producer Bob Cooper, Gersh's Leslie Siebert, WME's Brandt Joel and attorney Cliff Gilbert-Lurie. … Hans Zimmer and music producer Pharrell Williams at Bouchon. A few days later, it was announced that the two would be working together as music coordinators for the Oscars. … Zoe Saldana and Chad Michael Murray have each popped into Magnolia. … Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and Emily Blunt were together at the Chateau Marmont. The next day, Blunt returned to hang out with Kirsten Dunst. … Noted vegan Alicia Silverstone ordered a BBQ seitan burger at macrobiotic nexus M Cafe's Melrose location, while Aaron Eckhart took tea at the Beverly Hills outpost. … New downtown Cal-Med restaurant Artisan House already has seen Benjamin Bratt as well as Shaun Toub of HBO's Luck. … Director Brent Roske with Sally Kirkland at the Silver Spoon diner. Robert Forster, lunching at his regular table, stopped by to say hello. … Jason Segel with a lady friend on the patio at Rosa Mexicano's West Hollywood branch. … Jon Voight had the soup and farro at Ray's and Stark Bar.