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There’s no folk like showfolk and aren’t you glad?

The hot hot hottest name in Hollywood right now is Charlize Theron, the South African-born star who won the Golden Globe as best actress for “Monster” and is the favorite to win an Oscar as well. Charlize has two new movies practically at the ready and producers are frantically trying to get them finished and out as soon as possible. One is “Head in the Clouds,” a sweeping romantic drama co-starring Penélope Cruz and Stuart Townsend, in which Charlize plays Gilda Bessé, a pleasure-seeking photographer living in Paris during the Thirties who gets caught up in pre-World War II political turmoil. The other is “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers,” in which she plays the British comedian’s second wife, Britt Ekland. The movie — with Geoffrey Rush playing Sellers and also starring Emily Watson, Stanley Tucci, John Lithgow and Stephen Fry — was set to premiere at Cannes this spring. But the real Ekland is very much alive and causing the movie’s producers to pull out their hair and grind their jaws. Ekland is so worried about how she’ll turn out in the picture that she has asked her lawyers to examine every single thing she says. “I want to make sure every word my character says in that film is accurate, otherwise I shall spew.” Ekland is not happy with the biography by Roger Lewis that the film is based on, nor is she jumping up and down with joy about the casting of Charlize. “This actress is 6 feet tall, I am 5 foot 5. She is 27, I was 20 at the time. It is nonsense.” True, Charlize doesn’t look a thing like Britt, but isn’t that where acting comes in? She didn’t look like the serial killer she played in “Monster,” either.

This story first appeared in the February 4, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Can you believe Britney Spears has her sights set on Broadway and is considering the role of Eliza Doolittle in a revival of “My Fair Lady?” The pop-star will have to work with a dialect coach in order to rid herself of her southern accent and replace it with a cockney one, which will then have to be replaced with a proper English speech pattern. Britney is also hoping to follow in the footsteps of her dear pal Madonna and Halle Berry and become a Bond girl. She is aiming for the next one, probably Pierce Brosnan’s last turn as 007, due in 2005. She’s even having meetings with Bond producer Barbara Broccoli trying to convince her that she should play the sexy villain. Of course, there are those who think it will never work out. But she could wind up singing the theme song, couldn’t she?

Nicole Kidman is taking her Oscar snub in stride and looking forward as usual. She’s busy taking cello lessons for her next movie, “The Interpreter,” co-starring Sean Penn. The film, to be directed by Sydney Pollack, is a political thriller set in the United Nations community. Nicole plays an interpreter — who also plays the cello, the dear girl — caught up in the intrigue surrounding an assassination plot she accidentally discovers. You see, Nicole only wants to play intelligent women — “I don’t want to be running around in a bikini carrying a gun. I like to play women who are capable and smart.” No one ever said that she wasn’t both — so take that Mr. Bond.

Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be there tonight at the grand opening of the Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle. It will literally be a circus when Cirque du Soleil flies into action in the great hall, kicking things into high gear. Larry King and Paula Zahn are the extravaganza’s Masters of Ceremonies. Jewel will perform and — listen to this — a surprise guest performer will be Latin sensation Marc Anthony, who is not as responsible for as many new babies coming into the world as you may have heard.

The gala evening is a benefit for Lincoln Center, thanks to a generous donation being given by The Related Companies that built the center. Overseeing all the wildly created details is David Monn, and a cast of thousands will sample the fares of Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Thomas Keller, Gray Kunz, and Masa Takayama, who are all opening restaurants in the building. Renée Fleming and Beverly Sills are on the stellar committee and among those who have promised to nip in and out are Anne Bass, Samantha Boardman, Deborah Norville, Sydney Pollack, Nina Griscom, Evelyn and Leonard Lauder, Lauren Veronis, Carolyn Roehm, Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick. The night is being hosted by Time Warner’s ceo Dick Parsons, Kenneth Himmel, William Mack and The Related Companies ceo Steve Ross, whose wife, Kara, will wear a black vintage Balenciaga with orange sapphire-and-diamond cuff bracelets of her own design. Whoop-dee-doo.

Gwyneth Paltrow has asked Steven Spielberg and his wife, Kate Capshaw, to have special places in hers and Chris Martin’s baby’s life. They are great friends and were among the only people Paltrow told she was going to get married. Spielberg gave Paltrow one of her big breaks in movies in 1991 when she was 19, giving her the part of young Wendy in his Peter Pan story, “Hook.” The director and his wife will be guests of honor at the baby’s christening next summer at St. Catherine’s church in Exeter, England, where Martin is from. Gwyneth and Chris want Steven and Kate to be surrogate grandparents but are still deciding who will be the baby’s godparents.

Josh Duhamel, star of the hit series “Vegas” and the just-out movie, “Win a Date with Tad Hamilton,” posed with nothing on at all a few years back and the photos — taken for a book by photographer Greg Gorman — are being faxed and e-mailed all over this lovely, lovely world we live in.

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