About Town: Rambling Reporter

10:57 PM PST 11/03/2010 by Merle Ginsberg

Mark Wahlberg takes his Oscar campaign seriously and Jim Wiatt heads back to L.A., while Stephen McPherson mixes it up

WAHLBERG IS GETTING 
HIS MINUTE
He’s come a long way, baby — from underwear model/rapper to star-producer (Boardwalk Empire, Entourage) — but Mark Wahlberg might go all the way. As a sign of how serious his Oscar campaign is, the star of The Fighter shot a 60 Minutes segment for later this year, spending four days in his old Boston neighborhood of “Southie” (where his 2006 film The Departed took place) with CBS chief foreign-affairs correspondent and war reporter Lara Logan.

TWO CINEMATOGRAPHERS’ EYES ARE BETTER THAN ONE?
127 Hours is the rare movie with two big-time directors of photography: Anthony Dod Mantle (28 Days Later, an Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire) and Enrique Chediak (28 Weeks Later, Boiler Room). But it doesn’t necessarily double its chances for a cinematography Oscar: It has been 28 years since a film with two lensers (1982’s Gandhi) won in that category.

WIATT GOES EAST, 
MUST COME WEST
Ex-William Morris chief Jim Wiatt’s exodus to Manhattan lasted a New York minute. He put his Palisades home up for sale at $19.5 million, opting for a Manhattan high-rollers apartment. But did Wiatt forget his fear of elevators? He stayed in the Big Apple three days, only to boomerang back home to L.A. He declined comment.

McPHERSON’S CAREER 
GETS JUICED
What becomes a former entertainment mogul most? High spirits. As Bob 
Pittman turns $275-a-bottle Casa Dragones tequila into profits, ex-ABC boss Stephen McPherson is dabbling in moonshine. 
He’s an investor in Original Moonshine, a clear, mixable whiskey by clothing manufacturer (and ex-hubby of Paula Abdul) Brad Beckerman and chef Adam Perry Lang (Daisy May’s BBQ). “In L.A., we’re at Tower Bar and Lucques; in N.Y. at the Rose Bar and the Lion,” Beckerman tells us. Next up: a retail rollout. As for McPherson’s role, “Steve’s been involved since the beginning. He likes to make cocktails with it.” And at this gig, he doesn’t have to worry about numbers — it’s 80 proof.

HEE HAW!
Will Gwyneth 
Paltrow’s imminent singing debut on the CMA Awards — promoting her role as a troubled singer in Country Strong — pump up sales of her same-named single? The actress even learned guitar from husband Chris Martin for the part, but her song, out for 10 weeks, has only reached No. 43 on the country chart. “It’s a very decent country single but nothing special,” Billboard’s Nashville director Wade Jessen says. “Her CMA performance will really seal the deal.”

SHRINK WRAPPED
The star of BeTipul, the original Israeli version of HBO’s In Treatment, could have used therapy himself. Assi Dayan, son of Moshe Dayan, played Gabriel Byrne’s shrink role for two seasons, but producers couldn’t see a way to create a third after Dayan, 65, a self-admitted Ritalin and cocaine abuser, attacked his girlfriend and did jail time. “Assi’s brilliant, but he’s impossible,” an In Treatment producer says. So though two seasons of HBO’s version were modeled closely on BeTipul, its third has original characters, plots and dialogue.

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