Let’s see now. Russell Crowe, having just turned 40, has told his friends that he feels it’s really a fresh beginning for him. His new movie, “Cinderella Man” — it’s about boxing — is now shooting in Canada and Crowe says he’s in the best shape of his life. “I have crossed the threshold of becoming 40 weighing less than I did at 30.” Congratulations, mate.

On the other hand, Tom Cruise, who turns 42 on July 3, has put himself on a strict diet for his next movie, “Mission Impossible 3.” The inside word is that Tommy has gained a few pounds since he made “The Last Samurai” and has been advised to unload, but fast. Tom is in Eastern Europe right now checking out locations for the new movie and staying in luxury suites in five-star hotels, where the chefs are given lists of what he can and cannot eat, along with instructions on how to prepare a low-fat, low-calorie cuisine. While stopping at The Four Seasons Hotel at Berlin, Tom was joined by his ex-girlfriend Penélope Cruz. No weight problems there.

This story first appeared in the April 9, 2004 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

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Catherine Zeta-Jones has memories of her childhood on her mind. She has talked her parents out of selling the home she grew up in, in Wales. But now her mother and father are moving into a new $1.5 million house their famous and rich daughter bought for them nearby. The original plan was to sell the old house, but Catherine just couldn’t bear the idea of giving it up and she can certainly afford not to. Catherine and her husband, Michael Douglas, have also built their own house in Mumbles, Wales, close by — love that name Mumbles — and are planning on visiting there this spring with their two little children when the meadows are full of flowers. Tra-la.

Catherine has decided to go for Oscar gold again with a serious role that will also bring her back to her Welsh roots, but in a very different way. She is negotiating to star in a movie based on the life and death of the notorious Welsh nightclub manageress, Ruth Ellis, who, in 1955, was the last woman to be hanged in Britain after being found guilty of gunning down her boyfriend — a story already told in the 1985 film “Dance with a Stranger,” starring Miranda Richardson and Rupert Everett. Tra-la.

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Next week, Sonia Braga, Narciso Rodriguez and Kasper will head to Chez Es Saada for dinner to celebrate The Bronx Museum of the Arts’ Brazilian exhibition, “Tropicalia,” given by the show’s curator, Carlos Basualdo, and art collector Michele Klein. Also expected to do the samba and sample the exotic South American fare are Tama Janowitz and Gracia d’Annunzio, the granddaughter of the notorious poet and playwright, Gabriele d’Annunzio, who had big, fat flings with the famous actresses Eleonora Duse and Sarah Bernhardt in Paris during the early 1900s. It’s how granddaddy kept busy between poems.

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The noted interior designers Bunny Williams and John Rosselli were quietly and secretly married at their perfectly turned-out house in Connecticut last weekend with just their nearest and dearest on hand. Bunny and John have lived together for eons and their friends are just as thrilled over the wedding as Bunny and John are. The marriage was all anybody could talk about at the party that Howard Slatkin, another designer to the rich and richer, gave at his treasure-laden abode on Fifth Avenue to kick off The New York Botanical Gardens’ Antique Garden Furniture Preview Party & Collectors’ Plant Sale at the garden on April 29. Susan Burke, Muffy Miller, Kathy Moore and Calvert Moore are the co-chairs and a percentage of all sales will be given to the garden over the next year.

Gregory Long, the president of the garden, asked Bunny if she was planning on changing her name — Bunny and John just giggled — while Mario Buatta, Laura Slatkin, Phillip Baloun and Deeda Blair looked on.

Deeda and her husband, Bill Blair, are moving from Washington to New York, and Deeda is working with Howard Slatkin on the interior of her new East Side apartment, the one with stunning views of the river everywhere you look. Leave it to Deeda. When the guests left, they received silver potagers holding a Slatkin & Co. lavender candle, lavender being so tomorrow.

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Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, the beautiful soprano of legend and lore, celebrated her 60th birthday in London at a white-tie evening, of course, with guests including The Princess Royal and Princess Alexandra arriving in their very best gowns and jewels. You will be thrilled to learn that the New Zealand-born Kiri is living life to the fullest and spends half the year in England not only because she sings at Covent Garden, but because she loves country life and sports, especially shooting. “I am quite a good shot,” she brags. “Besides clay pigeons, I like to go pheasant shooting with my friend, Jackie Stewart, who agrees that I’m good with a gun.” Maybe this dame should try on the role of Annie Oakley in “Annie Get Your Gun.”

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Like millions of blushing brides everywhere, Kate Beckinsale is busy planning her May wedding with her mum. She will walk down the aisle in California with her movie director fiancé, Len Weisman, and she is planning a special role for her four-year-old daughter, Lily, with Kate’s former partner, actor Michael Sheen. Lily is choosing her dress for Mum’s wedding but she’s a bit nervous because she’s been given the job of throwing rose petals, “and is worried she won’t do it properly,” says Kate, who is not nervous a bit. Not long after the wedding, she will attend the premiere of her movie, Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator,” in which she plays Ava Gardner opposite Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes.

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Clarissa and Edgar Bronfman Jr. and Violaine and John Bernbach are giving a party at Asprey in New York on April 14 to kick off The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Bill Bernbach Memorial Dinner, to be held at The Plaza on May 12. Arianna and Dixon Boardman, Valesca Guerrand-Hermes, Mario Buccellati and Christine and Stephen Schwarzman have all promised to be at Asprey for the fun. A private concert by violinist Joshua Bell will be auctioned off at The Plaza gala, which will honor Martin Sorrell, the famous ad man. Cindy Crawford, who is on the organization’s board, is among the luminaries who have been invited to see Les Oiseaux du Paradis, an aerial ballet act from Montreal, which will be performed in the ballroom after dinner. Everyone is hoping that Cindy will be there along with the kiddies.

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