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Celebrity Chatter: George And Catherine Scream Star Power

Stars Of 'Intolerable Cruelty' Have Chemistry On Screen, Off Screen

POSTED: 9:04 a.m. EDT October 14, 2003

How much star power can you fit in one room?

Celebrity Chatter Michelle SolomonGeorge Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones were recently at The Regency in New York to talk about their new movie "Intolerable Cruelty."

"It's really like an old screwball comedy," I said to them.

Clooney and Zeta-Jones harken the old Hollywood screen legends of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in the film.

"It is, yes," said Clooney about the style of the film. "Yes, it kind of is," he said with his trademark grin.

Clooney, who definitely had a say in who would be his co-star, said the role of Marylin Rexroth really needed to be played by a bona fide movie star. In person, Zeta-Jones looks like a movie star. Her long hair and perfect skin and her smooth speaking voice with the lilting Welsh accent whispers "I'm a star!"

Catherine Zeta-Jones at the 75th annual Academy Awards (photo: AMPAS)"You really needed a movie star to play Catherine's role. And you need sort of an adult. It really has to be a leading lady -- a Rosalind Russell or a Katharine Hepburn. You need that," Clooney said. "The first person we thought of was Catherine."

For Zeta-Jones, working with Clooney was a match made in Hollywood.

"It was so fun to have that challenge on the screen," Zeta-Jones said.

The new movie sat on the shelf for eight years until the screenwriting/directing team of Joel and Ethan Coen revived the script, which is credited to Robert Ramsey and Matthew Stone. The part was just the right fit for Clooney, the Coen brothers said.

Clooney plays a slick Beverly Hills lawyer who gets turned around by a beautiful golddigger played by Zeta-Jones in a classic battle of the sexes.

It's Zeta-Jones's first on-screen role since she won an Academy Award for her role in "Chicago." The actress said the reality of winning the Oscar really didn't hit her until recently.

"It took me until a few months ago to realize it," then she paused and took a breath. "Now the work starts," she said.

Then, Zeta-Jones told George and me a story about how her father said to her after she won the Oscar, "Now it's time to pull your finger out."

Catherine: "Pull my finger out of where?"

George: "Maybe he just meant pull your finger."

Michelle: "Please don't do that here."

We all laugh.

Zeta-Jones is set to start shooting a new movie with Tom Hanks and directed by Steven Spielberg entitled "Terminal." It's a romantic drama where Zeta-Jones plays a flight attendant who falls in love with a Balkan immigrant.

Clooney said his next endeavor, the sequel to "Oceans Eleven," is right on schedule. It's expected to begin shooting March 2004.

Someone told me my time with Catherine and George was up.

I really wanted to stick around and talk some more to George and Catherine. They have so much fun. I think they really like being movie stars.

Magic At The Mirage

My friend Tim McDarrah at the Las Vegas Sun is reporting that the rumor around Sin City is that David Copperfield is being considered the act that will take over the Siegfried and Roy Theater at the Mirage.

The more than 1,500 seat theater is dark indefinitely since a tiger attacked Roy Horn during a show there recently.

Maybe David Blaine will be ready for the Mirage when his England stint is through.

Mount Arnold

Build a mountain and he will come?

Arnold SchwarzeneggerThe former Soviet state of Georgia wants to name a mountain peak after California's new governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger.

There is a catch: the mountain can only be named, however, if Schwarzenegger visits the Russian state.

Schwarzenegger had been invited to visit three years ago and the state had planned to name a peak in the Caucasus Mountains after him then, according to published reports in The Age.

He couldn't make it then and he probably won't make the trip now.

The show may have to go on without Schwarzenegger. "I don't see it making the schedule in the near future," said Schwarzenegger spokesman Rob Stutzman said:

"As gratifying as it is to have a mountain named after you, his whole attention is right here in California," Stuzman was quoted as saying.

Michelle Solomon's gossip column, Celebrity Chatter, usually appears each Monday. E-mail us with questions or comments. Michelle Solomon@Celebrity Chatter.

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