Sorkin's Paterno Call: After the July 15 episode of HBO's The Newsroom (about the Jan. 8, 2011, shooting of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords), Giffords' husband, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, sent Aaron Sorkin an e-mail. "He was describing what it was like being in their living room watching the show together. For him, it was a very, very moving experience," Sorkin tells THR. But that wasn't the only feedback from the episode, in which characters struggled whether to report NPR's claim that Giffords had died. Sorkin also heard from Jay Paterno, son of the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. "We never touched [Jerry] Sandusky or Paterno on the show," explains Sorkin of his surprising outreach. Joe Paterno's death was reported 12 hours before the coach died (amid an ongoing sexual-abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Sandusky). Jay Paterno expressed gratitude for Thomas Sadoski's character saying: "A doctor pronounces her dead. Not the news." Says Sorkin, "That was a special moment for me, too."
Hotel Bel-Air, which took criticism for its contemporary redo of the historical property last year, has begun making tweaks to its Wolfgang Puck restaurant. Flowers, topiaries and purple bougainvillea have been added, along with clear curtains on the patio for extra warmth. … Meanwhile, Susan Disney Lord, daughter of Roy Disney, who purchased the neighborhood standby Bel Air Bar & Grill in 2007, is renovating the tired old building into a LEED eco-certified modernist showstopper, which also will house an office for the Roy Disney Family Foundation she heads. As for the new sleek interior, Lord assures, "There won't be any Mickey Mouse ears or anything like that."
Julia to Babs: No Thanks
Nobody says no to Barbra Streisand -- except Julia Roberts. Streisand offered the actress the role of Margaret Bourke-White in the 2013 film she'll produce and direct, Skinny and Cat, about the photographer's marriage to writer Erskine Caldwell. And Roberts, about to start August: Osage County, co-starring Meryl Streep, turned her down flat, even though the two are friends. No telling if Roberts' dance card was full or, as she has said many times during the past few years, she just doesn't want to work that much. Skinny now is listed as starring Cate Blanchett and Colin Firth.
Warner Bros. marketing head Sue Kroll broke bread with Baz Luhrmann at Chateau Marmont. On another day, Zac Efron and Rachel Dratch were at separate tables. … Political Animals' Roger Bart hit BierBeisl in Beverly Hills. … Denzel Washington met producer Todd Black at the Polo Lounge. Ty Burrell also was in. (On the same day, David Beckham poked his head into the downstairs Fountain Coffee Shop, saw it was packed, made a face and left.) … TV producer Robert Morton led a pitch session at Barney Greengrass. … Chelsea Handler lunched at Geoffrey's, while nearby, Pink took in the view with husband Carey Hart. … Russell Westbrook, the Oklahoma City Thunder point guard and recent Olympic gold medalist, took a seat at The Backyard at the W hotel in Westwood. … A pregnant Megan Fox popped into Le Pain Quotidien in Studio City. Dakota Fanning already was inside at another table. … Ricki Lake, gearing up for her new show, checked out Planet Dailies. … Hugh Laurie ducked into Jar. … Drew Barrymore, Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen have been in to Mulberry Street Pizzeria of late.