MONKEY BUSINESS

Bruce Willis may command $15 million a film, but there was a guest at last week’s New York premiere of Willis’s apocalyptic new film, “12 Monkeys,” who got a much bigger rise out of the crowd. When O.J. Simpson Dream Team attorney Robert Shapiro walked the red carpet outside the Gotham Theater, he received louder cheers than any of the film’s stars, including Willis, Madeline Stowe and Christopher Plummer.
Brad Pitt — who stars as a mentally ill megalomaniac — was missing from the screening and the party following at the Tunnel. But his girlfriend, Gwyneth Paltrow, was on hand. Paltrow said Pitt’s portrayal of a crazed lunatic wasn’t completely foreign to her. “If you catch him on the wrong day,” she reported, “you’d be surprised.”
Although Willis appeared to be in a partying mood at the Tunnel, he offered a fairly grim world view. “I don’t think the film’s vision is that far off,” he said. “I think the world is going to pieces.”
Opera diva Leontyne Price was more upbeat at last week’s White House reception for the Kennedy Center Honors Gala, honoring Sidney Poitier, Neil Simon, Jacques D’Amboise, Marilyn Horne and B.B. King. The singer, pointing to a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, was all gratitude: “I owe everything to him,” Price said.
Actor Nathan Lane wasn’t completely satisfied with the Marine Band’s program.
“Never mind ‘Phantom of the Opera,”‘ he said to playwright Wendy Wasserstein. “What about playing something from ‘Guys and Dolls’?”

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