About Town: Rambling Reporter

10:46 PM PST 01/19/2011 by Merle Ginsberg
Courtesy of Craft LA

Following the latest happenings around Hollywood and where industry players are dining.

TRICKY BUSINESS: As Fox’s new chief marketing officer, Oren Aviv will have a sticky situation on his hands come March, when the company releases Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules. The movie and its successful predecessor were produced by Nina Jacobson. In 2006, Jacobson was unceremoniously ousted from Disney as production head, a job then taken by Aviv. (Rich Ross recently let him go.) Jacobson learned of her firing shortly after her partner gave birth to their third child, and Aviv reportedly persuaded former Disney boss Dick Cook to let Jacobson go. So whatever blood exists between these two is bad. But the show must go on. Neither Aviv nor Jacobson could be reached for comment.

Franco’s Latest Headscratcher
127 HoursJames Franco does it all, we know that — from high culture to low, grad school to soap operas. For his next trick, he’s holding a seminar (as part of Sundance Institute’s New Frontier Program) on the semiotics of Three’s Company on Jan. 21 in Park City. For the afterparty, he’s going completely camp. As part of Chefdance, Harry O’s Monkey Bar will be transformed into the show’s Regal Beagle lounge for a ’70s-themed bash. Guests are instructed to don wigs and dress in the era’s clothes, or they won’t get in. “I don’t think pop culture contradicts high culture,” Franco told us at the Palm Springs film festival. “And why doesn’t anyone have a sense of humor anymore? A real man admits he loves kitsch.”

The Weakest Link
What did The Fighter’s Mark Wahlberg do to relax the day of the Palm Springs film fest gala? Play golf, of course. He has guested as himself on his HBO show Entourage hitting the links. But it was his guests that drew stares: Cameron Diaz, her boyfriend Alex Rodriguez and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Adrienne Maloof. Turns out Maloof is Wahlberg’s Mulholland-area neighbor. The Fighter star had the best game, but Diaz played pretty well too. So did Maloof. The weak link? A-Rod. Turns out he’s not great at every sport.

Mike Tyson: No Oprah Pillows for You
Former champ Mike Tyson attended the TCA press tour to promote Taking on Tyson, his Animal Planet show about pigeon racing that premieres March 6. He then took in the Animal Planet/OWN afterparty in the garden of Pasadena’s Langham Huntington Hotel (both networks are part of Discovery.) At the no-expense-spared affair, guests reclined on white leather Barcelona sofas festooned with OWN satin pillow sets in the network’s colors. Tough-guy Tyson took a shine to them and asked manager Mario Costa to grab him a set. But Oprah and company weren’t in a generous mood. “I can’t let anyone have these. Not even Mr. Tyson,” a young PR woman said nervously. Tyson said nothing, but his face had the same expression it did in his Hangover cameo.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?
What do you do if your husband is Fox CEO Tom Rothman, your two kids eat early and hubby brings home Jack Nicholson? If you’re actress Jessica Harper, well, you complain. And so The Crabby Cook Cookbook (Workman, February) was born. “All my friends seemed very Martha Stewart-y,” Harper says. Her 135 recipes derive from her need to streamline the process. “Keep it simple. Cook soup or chili in advance. Everyone loves comfort food,” she says. One of the anecdotal recipes is Richard Gere’s Pot Pie, named for when the actor and Cindy Crawford came to dinner and Harper botched a pot pie. “It was reminiscent of Play Doh,” she recalls. Rothman’s eating habits — like devouring breakfast while driving to work — are exposed, but Harper tells THR: “Tom’s being a really good sport. He’s also going around town claiming ‘Tom’ is a fictional character.” Will she stay crabby if the book’s a best-seller? “I won’t have anything to bitch about. My next book will be a sequel: Lean and Mean.”

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POWER LUNCH

NBC Universal’s Lauren Zalaznick dining with Bravo execs, seated very near Timothy Hutton at Sunset Tower’s Tower Bar. … ICM’s Toni Howard and Sloan Harris dining, but not a deux, at Craft. It must have been agency all-star day at the restaurant — at a back booth were CAA’s Kevin Huvane and Richard Lovett, laughing it up with Julia Roberts. … UTA’s Jay Sures meeting with client Darren Star at e.baldi. … Jake Gyllenhaal at Lucques with pals. … New dad Orlando Bloom celebrating with the guys at the Katsuya in Brentwood over black cod and much sake. … NBC’s Robert Greenblatt lunching at Soho House, not far from the male cast of Heroes.

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