Pierce Brosnan, who just turned 51, got a big present for his birthday. Producer Barbara Broccoli has assured him he will star in at least one more James Bond movie, which will begin filming later this year under the working title of “Bond 21.” John Cleese and Judi Dench will reprise their respective roles as “Q” and “M.” Broccoli, the daughter of Cubby Broccoli, the original producer of Bond flicks, has told her friends that Pierce’s comments about the heavy reliance of the last Bond picture, “Die Another Day,” on special effects rather than a strong plot will not be held against him. She just laughed and said Pierce’s remarks were nothing compared with what her father had gone through with Sean Connery. But that’s another story Sean has promised to tell in his autobiography.
Supermodel Jodie Kidd has ended her five-year fling with polo player Tarquin Southwell. She said it was all over and flew off to Barbados to recover at her father’s house. It didn’t take her long. She was whispered to be seeing the English cricket star Simon Jones. Next, Jodie flew off to Paris to enter the Gumball Rally, the glamorous car race that ended at the Cannes Film Festival via Spain and Morocco. Southwell has tried to win her back but Jodie is having none of that. Now they have to decide what to do with a 16th-century cottage in West Sussex they shared, complete with seven horses, nine dogs and two cats.
Rocker Bryan Ferry, now 58 if you can believe it, has reconciled with his 23-year-old girlfriend, Katie Turner. They started dating in September 2002, only weeks after he announced the end of his 20-year marriage to Lucy Helmore. Katie and Bryan lived together until last March, when she moved out after a big scene. She complained that he was jealous and had become impossible to live with. After all that hoo-hah, Brian and Katie turned up arm in arm on holiday in Venice, acting as if all were forgiven.
So what’s going on? Well, Betty Scripps, the newspaper heiress, is in the throes of a divorce from Jeremy Harvey, after more years than anyone thought the marriage would last. The question is what took her so long? You will be thrilled to learn the split has not interfered with her social life — heaven forbid. Betty just gave a smashing dinner for 100 at Washington’s exclusive Sulgrave Club in honor of the British ambassador, Sir David Manning, and Lady Manning, a thank-you for the Mannings’ agreeing to host the Washington National Opera Ball on June 5 at their magnificent residence, which is always alive with roses. Betty is the general chairman of the ball, for which she has already raised $3 million. Almost every ambassador in town was at her dinner, and Placido Domingo sent a congratulatory message saying he was sorry he couldn’t make it because he was in Madrid singing “The Queen of Spades” and mesmerizing the populace.
The buzz from the Cannes Film Festival is that Marlon Brando has agreed to do a new movie in which he will play, of all things, himself. After turning down all the offers he’s had since he starred in “The Score” with Robert De Niro in 2000, the actor’s actor has fallen in love with a script called “Brando and Brando” by Tunisian director Ridha Behi. The small, independent art film is budgeted at less than $5 million and Bob Hoskins is one of the producers. It’s all about a young Tunisian boy who comes to America to find his hero in the form of Brando, whom he has come to idolize in such films as “On the Waterfront,” “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “The Wild Bunch.” The naive young man gets a serious dose of reality while seeking the American Dream. It is said Marlon is so passionate about the film that he has personally been working on the script day and night and will take only a fraction of his usual enormous salary.
De Niro’s wife, Grace Hightower, celebrated her birthday last week and the present she liked most of all was a five-carat, cushion-shaped diamond ring from Fred Leighton from her husband. After a brief bumpy patch in their long relationship, they are very much together now and were hand in hand throughout the Tribeca Film Festival, and this is the news. De Niro was thrilled at the positive response to “Stage Beauty,” a film set in the 1660s in England when all the female roles of Shakespeare’s plays were played by men. “Stage Beauty,” which had its world premiere at the festival and has not been released yet, was produced by De Niro and Jane Rosenthal and stars Claire Danes and Billy Crudup, that darling boy who plays the leading lady for most of the picture. Rupert Everett plays the role of King Charles II and has a wily, funny drag scene. The De Niros will spend part of the summer at their house in upstate New York and in Italy as soon as Robert can break away from his busy Hollywood schedule.
Many of the city’s most fashionable women put on their new spring dresses for the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Awards for Excellence dinner at the Plaza. Julia Koch was dazzling in a black column by Chanel, transparent from the knees down and tied around the neck with straps trailing down her back. Joanne de Guardiola practically stopped the show in an ice blue Badgley Mischka that split to the floor into two floating panels that ended in blue bows and ribbons fluttering to the hem. Muffie Potter Aston was in a glamorous black-and-silver beaded evening dress by Badgley Mischka, and Karen LeFrak wore a black illusion lace dress by Oscar de la Renta and her grandmother’s diamond necklace. The evening’s co-chairs wore Greek goddess chiffon dresses by Michael Kors. Kitty Sherrill was in tangerine and Karen May picked turquoise. Joy Ruane, who won the Philanthropy Award, was in a strapless mauve sheath with pink sequins sewn over lace. Corporate Leadership Award winner Sidney Kimmel wore his dinner jacket, of course, and was cited as the biggest individual donor to cancer research in the country. Since 1993, he has given more than $300 million.
Jeff Koons, Ross Bleckner, Peter Beard, Kenny Scharf and Peter Max will auction the artwork they created with children at Artrageous at a benefit at Capitale on Monday night. The honoree of the evening is George Weiss, the founder of Say Yes to Education, an organization that helps students finish high school and pays for their college education. Those are good guys, Sidney Kimmel and George Weiss.
Gisele Masson, who founded the fine French restaurant La Grenouille with her husband, Charles, in 1962, was just awarded a Legion d’Honneur, the French government’s highest civilian honor, at a private ceremony at the restaurant. She was cited for her exceptional achievement in gastronomy and her contributions to French-American relations here in the U.S. The French Consul General Richard Duque conferred the honor and recalled how Madame (as she is known in the restaurant) came to America as a young woman with $35 to her name. On a Thanksgiving eve, between the lunch and dinner service, she married Charles Masson who was, at the time, working with Henri Soule at Le Pavillon. Once she decided it was time for Charles to settle down, she started looking for a suitable space for a restaurant. Charles, who by that time was working aboard a steamship, received a cable from Gisele saying, “You are now the proud owner of 3 East 52nd St. Cable back a name!” One of the ship’s passengers, the late famous actor Frederic March, suggested La Grenouille — or The Frog, if you can’t pronounce ‘grenouille’ properly. It usually comes out as “La Grenooy” or “Grenwee.”