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Arts & Travel
Sunday, December 11, 2005 - Last Updated: 7:52 AM 

Jen won't be 'derailed' by Brad's plans to adopt Angelina's babies

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'Although man has learned through evolution to walk in an upright position, his eyes still swing from limb to limb," wrote Margaret Schooley.

Wow, just when you thought it was safe to go back to the celebrity weeklies, Brad Pitt has to up and make plans to adopt Angelina Jolie's babies. We can expect lots of "Jen Collapses!" /The Heartbreak of Jen!" stories, with photos designed to interpret her every gesture and facial expression.

But from the brief talk we had with her a few weeks ago, this young woman seems made of fairly resilient stuff. Though we were confined to chat only about her thriller, "Derailed," her attitude was one of fresh vitality and moving on.

As for Mr. Pitt, well, Miss Aniston did famously say he sometimes lacked that "sensitivity chip." Still and all, this move certainly proves that he and Angelina are not merely besotted by each other's bee-stung pouts.

When I'm invited to parties where they say that big-name stars will appear, I seldom believe in magic. Often those VIP names are used as bait. So imagine how surprised I was when I turned up at the Millennium UN Plaza Hotel for an invite by Dina Merrill and Ted Hartley for the Eugene O'Neill Theater to find that the honorees - Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, were already there before me. I spent cocktail time and dinner in the River Club with this glamorous and worthy couple and it turned out to be a blast. Michael was his usual intelligent, now all-grown-up self. (He credits the Eugene O'Neill Theater, along with actor Karl Malden, as "the greatest influences on my career.") Michael is capable and smart. Catherine, is earthy and fun-loving - a wonderful young woman who just happens to be the most plush and gorgeous star since Ava Gardner and Elizabeth Taylor, two famous brunettes who also looked like you couldn't get near them, but when you did - pow!

The Welsh temptress and Oscar winner for "Chicago" told me how motherhood has transformed her. She says she is perpetually impatient to get home to be with her two children, whether it be in California, Wales or Bermuda. (These pregnancies haven't harmed her looks in the least. In fact, she is more beautiful than ever.)

Michael and Catherine were on hand to celebrate the venerable Eugene O'Neill Theater in Waterford, Conn. They are two of its leading supporters. Homeland Foundation prexy E. Lisk Wyckoff Jr. gave a $25,000 check to Executive Director Amy Sullivan. The theater has made a remarkable comeback under her leadership. Those on the receiving end of gratitude were Broadway producers Roger Berlind, Ruth Hendel, Tom Viertel and attorney Floria Lasky.

Barbara and Arthur Gelb, the biographers of playwright Eugene O'Neill and the keepers of his flame, joined us at dinner. They entertained us with stories of the playwright and when we each were asked to name our favorite unfulfilled fantasy, I said I wanted "to be adopted by Michael and Catherine."

By the way, Ms. Zeta-Jones, when she can tear herself away from the children, might consider one of O'Neill's works. I bet she has the intensity for "Anna Christie" and in a few year's time, "Long Day's Journey Into Night." In the latter work, of course, she would be competing with the formidable memories of Colleen Dewhurst on stage and Katharine Hepburn on screen. But, as Charles Laughton said, "When you stop trying to hang yourself, you're done for!"

Naomi Watts is the cover girl on Vanity Fair for January. The woman who tempts King Kong has to have more than her moment shrieking in Kong's mammoth paw. So the VF cover means Naomi can stop screaming and shuffle through the scripts coming her way now.

But as usual, the magazine offers other enticements. This month, Catherine Deneuve reveals herself in the Proust questionnaire. I was amused when the icon of the French cinema was asked to name the most overrated virtue. "Beauty," said one of the world's most indisputably beautiful women.

And what about her own appearance does she dislike? "My left ear."