About Town : Rambling Reporter

Natalie Portman in 'Black Swan'
Niko Tavernise/Fox Searchlight

Natalie Portman was fully committed to making her Nina Sayers look like a real ballerina. The 29-year-old actress, who won a Golden Globe for the role, spent six months, five hours a day training to play the lead in Darren Aronofsky's dark thriller. Pro dancer Mary Helen Bowers told THR, "We were meeting at 5:30 in the morning to work for two hours before she'd go film a 12-hour day on set. And rather than going home and going to sleep or going out for beers with the cast, we did the gym... I knew how hard it was going to be when she got to set."

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

Black Swan Feathers Flying There’s a long history of fashion designers creating costumes for stars above and beyond what a film’s costume designer does — and not getting the credit they crave. The most famous example: Edith Head winning an Oscar for 1954’s Sabrina, leaving Hubert de Givenchy empty-handed. The French couturier designed all of Audrey Hepburn’s wardrobe for the film, and really, what else was there? The most recent example is Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy creating Natalie Portman’s ballerina looks for Black Swan and getting a backend credit, while costume designer Amy Westcott received the “costumes by” front credit. Have you noticed the trio has done no press together? It seems feathers were ruffled. A source tells us the Mulleavy sisters were “naive about movies” and didn’t negotiate credits in their initial deal. They also weren’t members of the Costume Designers Guild (they are now). We hear Fox Searchlight wanted to submit both parties for Oscar consideration, but guild rules say only the official designer is eligible for a nom. Now the sisters are repped by WME and seeking movie projects outside of producing the chic Rodarte line — and this time, they want their names up front. Neither Westcott nor Rodarte were available for comment.

Rumble on Sunset
The Tower Bar at Sunset Tower is hot as ever: The night of Jan. 5, the crowd included Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler, David Spade and Rob Schneider at one table; elsewhere, Whoopi Goldberg, Chuck Lorre, Errol Morris, Lionsgate president Alli Shearmur and writer Jonathan Ames. The restaurant also will host CAA’s post-Globes party, as it traditionally does. But word is that new nearby competitor Soho House is trying to nab the CAA and Vanity Fair parties from Sunset Tower, even though Sunset owner Jeff Klein has a contract with Vanity Fair for years to come. Soho has even offered famed Sunset maitre d’ Dimitri Dimitrov double his salary to move down the Strip. Neither venue would comment.

Hold the Baby Talk
When THR asked Palm Springs film fest honoree Javier Bardem if impending fatherhood sweetened his night at the gala, he snapped, “Next question!” He followed suit with other reporters and hurried off the red carpet. A source close to Bardem’s film Biutiful confided: “He wants to keep his personal life personal, but his PR team should have come up with one rote line about how happy he is, then the press would leave him alone. Maybe because he’s Spanish, he doesn’t understand that sounding annoyed with the American press could hurt his image.”


Mediterranean restaurant Momed, on South Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, is attracting a big Hollywood following. Regulars already include Billy Crystal, Jessica Alba and Daryl Hannah, and Katie Holmes has popped in. Everybody Loves Raymond exec producer Phil Rosenthal, Hank Azaria, Entourage’s Jerry Ferrara and designer-stylist Andrea Lieberman are using Momed, opened by former retailer Alex Sarkissian, for meals and meetings. … Reese Witherspoon celebrated her recent engagement at the Polo Lounge with two friends over lunchtime tortilla soup, McCarthy salad — and a magnum of pink champagne. Her ring was the major topic of conversation. Nearby were Sony’s Amy Pascal and Paradigm’s Sam Gores. … Sean Penn, Hilary Swank, Juliette Lewis and Minnie Driver convened at Craft, talking about a potential project. … Virgin Produced CEO Jason Felts with Richard Branson at newish sports bar Goal on West Third Street. … Kirsten Dunst with musician boyfriend Jason Boesel, Devendra Banhart and the Strokes’ Fabrizio Moretti at Edendale Grill in Silver Lake.