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Entertainment Columnists Thursday, July 15, 2004
Liz Smith Liz Smith
Kattan won't croak over lost role

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July 15, 2004

'I'm a hero. I was shot two times in the Tribune."

"I read where you were shot five times in the tabloids."

"It's not true. He didn't come anywhere near my tabloids."

So goes the banter between William Powell and Myrna Loy in 1934's "The Thin Man."

CHRIS KATTAN, let go from the Broadway-bound Stephen Sondheim-Nathan Lane venture "Frogs," is out but hardly down.

Kattan, sounding a little tired, told us, "OK, I'll admit it, the phone call came as a bit of a shock. You usually know there's something wrong with a relationship before they serve you with divorce papers!" What, he had no inkling? "Well, I wasn't altogether happy. I thought a lot of the funny bits that I loved doing were getting cut; I was standing around a lot. I thought I'd been brought in as the wild card, the risk, to get the big laughs. But it seemed to me there was less and less a partnership, less of a connection. I wasn't from the theater, and they knew that, and I wasn't trained to project to the balcony. I wanted to connect to Nathan!"

"But look, these things really do happen - and not just in show business. And I'm sitting here, and it's over, and I'm thinking, you know, this is not so bad. I still had this incredible experience. Susan Stroman [the director] and Nathan are amazing. I would work with them again in a minute. I have learned about the language of the theater, and I hope to learn more. And I still love the show. I'll go see it for sure!"

Next for Kattan, who found fame on "Saturday Night Live"? He says, "There are movies, 'El Romantico' and 'Adam and Steve,' in the works, but I'm going right out to L.A. to get together with Fox Searchlight, planning a TV series - I would have been doing that anyway, in October, so this just speeds it up. I'm very excited. I think I'll call it 'The Untitled Chris Kattan Project.'"

Theater mavens may not agree, but there is life after Broadway takes back its "Welcome to the theater."

ONE OF MY FAVORITE knights of Broadway, Douglas Sills, will join David Hyde Pierce, Tim Curry and Hank Azaria in the highly anticipated musical "Monty Python's Spamalot," set to open in March. Sills will play Sir Galahad. His most recent knight on Broadway was Sir Percy in "The Scarlet Pimpernel," for which he was honored with multiple nominations as the "best." He was last seen in "Little Shop of Horrors."

BRUCE WILLIS is one smart guy. Recently, Bruce and a posse of buddies were eating at L.A.'s trendy Koi. Nature called, so Bruce excused himself to go to the men's room. As he entered the male bastion of privacy, two gorgeous - and very young - women startlingly placed their Jimmy Choos by the door and demanded a visit.

But Willis wasn't having any. He called his bodyguard, who sprang into action, ordering the "ladies" out of the men's room and out of the restaurant. He then stood guard as Bruce went inside, unmolested.

LESS LURIDLY, Leonardo DiCaprio was spotted at an L.A. laundromat, sitting with a pal who was doing his weekly washing. When asked for autographs, Leo sweetly obliged. And when asked why in the world he was hanging around an ordinary wash 'n' dry spot, the superstar replied, "Oh, well, I had nothing better to do!"

Leo's work on Martin Scor- sese's "The Aviator" is done, and he's been left somewhat in the lurch by Baz Luhrmann's sudden postponement of his Alexander the Great movie, which was to have also starred Nicole Kidman as Alexander's sexy snake-worshiping mom, Olympias. Perhaps this is for the best. The Oliver Stone-Colin Farrell version of Alexander's life of world conquering opens this fall. However that fares, there'll be enough time between the Stone and Luhrmann pics to judge them individually. Two years, at least. Leo is not without project potential, however. He seems pretty much set for "The Good Shepherd," to be directed by Robert De Niro, sometime in 2005.

Nicole's next film is "Bewitched," the Nora Ephron screen version of the iconic TV series. As Nicole just had "The Stepford Wives," a comedy based on an original that was a dark thriller, will "Bewitched" change its mood? "Oh, no," says an insider, "the tone will be the same. It's a comedy, for sure, with a twist, but I don't feel free to reveal what it is." Shooting begins at the end of the summer with Will Ferrell, hot with the current "Anchorman," as her hapless mortal hubby, Darrin.

TOO BAD: "Chicago" Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones will not make another musical, titled "Hunky Dory," as was breathlessly reported in the British press. Described as "a cross between "West Side Story" and "Billy Elliot," the film was supposed to be shot in South Wales. The people who rep Mrs. Michael

Douglas just laughed. "Her next film is the sequel to

'Zorro.' But to be honest, although it's a total fabrication, the musical sounds good!"

Copyright © 2004, Newsday, Inc.


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