About Town: Rambling Reporter

Fact or Fantasy? A scene from producer Mark Johnson's third “Narnia” installment.
Fact or Fantasy? A scene from producer Mark Johnson's third “Narnia” installment.
 Phil Bray/Twentieth Century Fox

In September, Narnia series producer Mark Johnson previewed 30 minutes of his Dec. 10 release The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. One teenage fan, Johnson recalls, impressed him as “sweet and polite.” So when the lad e-mailed him with questions about the film, Johnson wrote back with detailed responses, discussing, among other things, the controversial addition of Gael, a character not in the original book. Ping! The recipient posted it in the form of an interview to the blog AslansCountry.com. “I saw it at 6 a.m., and I called my assistant to tell them to take it down,” Johnson says. “He has to learn you can’t take a private conversation and make it public.” The site complied and replaced the post with: “I’ve been asked to take the interview down until further notice.” But the cryptic message led readers to believe Johnson had revealed spoilers — which wasn’t the case, according to the producer. On further reflection, Johnson reversed course, and it was back up. Sounds like this kid might become a Hollywood reporter himself. 

J.LO REPS GONE

All seems to have been going swimmingly in the world of Jennifer Lopez: her $12 million American Idol gig, recent deals for a clothing line with Marc Anthony for Kohl’s and ads for Gucci Kids – even a new movie beginning in the spring. But this week, according to a source close to Lopez, BWR, her PR firm since 2004, decided to part ways with the triple threat, ostensibly because pros Nanci Ryder and Leslie Sloane did not see eye to eye with Jennifer’s powerhouse of a manager, Benny Medina. “I think Jennifer is fantastic,” Ryder says. “And I’m very sad that we’re not going to be representing her anymore.” It isn’t everyday PR agencies quit world-famous clients. Medina’s response was more evasive: “Artists and PR companies parting ways happens all the time. This is as much news as me re-doing my furniture.” 

BENING AND MOORE: THE BEST ACTRESS RACE

Reps for The Kids Are All Right’s female stars — Annette Bening and Julianne Moore — are promoting their clients as best actress Oscar nominees. The odds, however, are plenty long. In 82 years, two women have been nominated from the same movie a mere five times, and the last incident was almost two decades ago, for Thelma and Louise (Jodie Foster beat out Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon with Silence of the Lambs.) Other dueling divas: Shirley MacLaine and Anne Bancroft for 1977’s The Turning Point, Katharine Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor for 1959’s Suddenly Last Summer, and Bette Davis and Anne Baxter for 1950’s All About Eve. None of them won either. The only actress to snatch an Oscar from her co-star on the big night was Terms of Endearment’s MacLaine, who beat out on-set nemesis Debra Winger in 1983. (“I deserve this!” MacLaine famously said.) Despite history, no one’s backing down this year. A rep for Kids told THR, “There’s no way Julianne could be considered a supporting actress in this film.” 

KING ON ZUCKER AND KLEIN

Larry King still has zing. On Nov. 16 in New York, the retiring CNN host was among a crowd — including Katie Couric, CBS Evening News producer Rick Kaplan and Joy Behar — who came out for a party for Producer: Lessons Shared from 30 Years in Television, a new book by his longtime right-hand Wendy Walker. In his remarks, King joked that with ex-honchos Jeff Zucker and Jonathan Klein in the room, as well as himself, they should call the event “Jews Without Jobs.”

POWER LUNCH

Director Garry Marshall spotted sitting at his table at Mo’s in Burbank, when Steve Carell and his wife, actress Nancy Carell, pass by. They doubled back and made it a table for three. … Bad Robot film chief Sherryl Clark ducking into Mauro’s at Fred Segal Melrose. … Mark Wahlberg with United Entertainment Group branding consultant Jarrod Moses at the Polo Lounge. … The Soho House lunchtime scene only gets hotter: Untitled Entertainment manager Jason Weinberg sat with client Demi Moore at a table on the garden’s lower level, while on the upper, CAA’s Tracy Brennan shared a bite with True Blood client Alexander Skarsgard. Also on the scene: Kate Bosworth. Moore was spied at Soho again the next day.

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