Byline: Lisa Lockwood / With contributions from Peter Braunstein / Jacob Bernstein, New York / Samantha Conti, London / Miles Socha, Paris
KMART GOES ARTSY: Kmart: The Movie? No, it’s not another business disaster thriller. Instead the retailer, currently in Chapter 11, has retained Creative Artists Agency, the talent and literary firm that also represents Coca-Cola, Motorola and Boeing, to help it develop entertainment-related marketing strategies and brand-building programs. Kmart hopes to capitalize on projects in film, TV, music and video games as they relate to its existing marketing efforts and exclusive core brands. A Kmart spokesman said the opportunities could include product placements, sponsorships, co-branding opportunities and giveaways, and any other ways to promote all its brands, including Martha Stewart and Joe Boxer. Maybe the launch of the Blue Light Band or a video game where customers try to actually find Martha Stewart merchandise on Kmart shelves? The CAA deal is the retailer’s second link with Hollywood. Kmart recently launched a new brand positioning campaign, including commercials directed by Spike Lee. The commercials, featuring the tag line, “Kmart. the Stuff of Life,” focus on its brands, convenience and value.
K.O. FOR IN STYLE U.K.? Is U.K. In Style leaving or staying? Media insiders in London say it may be replaced by its bigger, more successful sister publication U.S. In Style, but a spokeswoman at parent company IPC Southbank insisted that the British version is alive and well. As reported last week, launch editor Dee Nolan left U.K. In Style to become an editor at large at Time Inc., in New York, arousing suspicion things were amiss. In the meantime, U.K. In Style publisher Katy Egan has been promoted to business development manager across the entire IPC Southbank portfolio. IPC Southbank is a division of the London-based IPC Media, owned by Time. While IPC has not yet named a replacement for Egan, it has hired the creative agency Walsh Trott Chick Smith to help give the title — which has a monthly circulation of 151,159 — a marketing boost.
TOBY YOUNG, CASTING DIRECTOR: Hugh Grant may have passed on the leading role in the big-screen version of Toby Young’s “How To Lose Friends and Alienate People,” but that doesn’t bother Young. The author, who’s currently working on the screenplay version of his memoirs for Britain’s Film Four, outlined in an interview his dream cast for the movie, “since I do have the right to what is called ‘meaningful consultation’ over casting. I think the perfect person to play me would be Bruce Willis of the “Moonlighting” era when he still had a little hair. He’s the perfect charismatic anti-hero.” What if he isn’t willing or available? “Maybe Jack Black or Philip Seymour Hoffman. In a worst-cast scenario, I guess we could go with Ewan McGregor, who’s undoubtedly available.”
Then there’s the question of supporting cast members for such meaty roles as Young’s drinking buddy Anthony Haden-Guest, his Vanity Fair chaperone Elizabeth Saltzman, Toby’s wife Caroline and friend Candace Bushnell. As for Caroline: “There’s an interesting story to that, actually,” said Young. “Before Film Four picked up the ball, Joe Roth’s Revolution Films was considering making the movie, and for a brief time earlier this year, Julia Roberts was actually attached to play my wife. That fell through when Hugh Grant passed on the role. But, truthfully, I’d rather have Cameron Diaz play Caroline — since, given that I’m associate producer on the film, she’d have to sleep with me. As an absolutely, positively last resort, I guess we could go with Gwyneth Paltrow — at least she can nail an English accent.”
The rest of Young’s list: Parker Posey or Selma Blair as Saltzman; Bushnell as herself, or otherwise Carrie Fisher or Reese Witherspoon, and Sir Anthony Hopkins as Anthony Haden-Guest.”He’d be good as ‘the Beast,’ considering his experience playing Hannibal Lecter.”
But the big question: who will play Graydon Carter? “I think Gary Shandling would be perfect: he combines the right amount of monstrous egotism and human vulnerability.” Young emphasized that the film version will be a fictionalized account of his troubled tenure at Vanity Fair, “for legal reasons, primarily.” He plans to complete the screenplay by the end of June, just around the time the American version of his book will be published by Da Capo Press. “I’d say we’re looking at a late 2003/early 2004 release date,” he speculated. “I’m hoping for a $35-[million]- to $40-million-dollar budget for the film, especially since I’m entitled to a percentage of it. That still won’t be enough to get us Hopkins, though, unless he’ll work for scale.”
THE FALL CAMPAIGNS: After two years shooting Balenciaga’s campaigns, Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin will take a break from Nicolas Ghesquiere next season. Insiders say “it was just time for a change.” Shooting his fall campaign is David Sims, who has previously done campaigns for Calvin Klein and Jil Sander. Also in campaign news: Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot have again photographed Louis Vuitton; Steven Klein has done Alexander McQueen’s new campaign, and Christian Dior’s ads have again been shot by Nick Knight.
VANITY TV: Perhaps it was Marie Brenner’s article on the whistle-blower Jeffrey Wigand that got turned into “The Insider.” Or maybe it was the the executive producer credit Graydon Carter got on the CBS documentary “9/11,” but the peripatetic Dominick Dunne is now also using the Vanity Fair platform to venture into entertainment. Starting in June, he’ll host a 13-episode series on Court TV. “It’s called ‘Dominick Dunne’s Power of Privilege and Justice,”‘ he says proudly. “I’m the host narrator, it has to do with high-class crimes and people who get away with things. They’re not necessarily based on cases I’ve covered, although some of them will be.” But how does Carter feel about his star reporter’s new gig? After a long silence, Dunne says, “He knows. He’s _ you know, it’s good publicity for the magazine.”
Meanwhile, Vogue is said to be looking to get more involved in TV. According to sources, Tom Florio, vice president and publisher of Vogue, wants to expand the magazine’s presence on TV, beyond the VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards.
“We’ve been approached with other TV projects, but it has nothing to do with VH1,” said Florio, through a spokeswoman. Florio was en route to Los Angeles to visit clients. “As the plans become formalized, he’ll talk about it,” she said.
SKIN ISN’T IN: Photographer Matthias Vriens, famous for his sexually charged images, initially planned a pornographic theme for his first solo show, slated to open during fashion week Sept. 8 at The Project gallery in New York. “I’m going to do something even more shocking, which is fashion,” he said. “I’m personally a little tired of [porno-chic].” Still, the Vriens exhibit is bound to cause a stir. He said the photos will be “sexy” and “daring” and include a recently scrapped The Face cover of Eminem in a tank top Vriens Photoshopped to appear pink. “For me, that photo is the perfect metaphor for what fashion is,” he said. “It’s a game of what you can do and what you can’t.”
FASHION WEB: The nominees for the Webby Awards came out Monday, with nominations going to Style.com, Lumiere.com, Sowear.com, Zoozoom.com and Hintmag.com, last year’s winner, which has been nominated four years in a row. “We’re thrilled to have been nominated again, but still, the toughest thing is finding something to wear,’ said Horacio Silva, Hintmag’s executive editor. “Maybe I’ll call Nicolas Ghesquiere and get him to whip me up another one of his couture interpretations.”
Meanwhile, sources say Fashion Wire Daily plans more layoffs in the coming weeks. When asked of this, new editor in chief Godfrey Deeny acknowledged that “there will be changes,” but he also said there would be “a number of writers” hired. The latest hire is Jessica Athanafiou, named the site’s photo editor, replacing photo director Jennifer Graylock, who left.
BREAKING THE RULES: The British glossies just can’t get enough of the soccer superhero and husband of Posh Spice, David Beckham. The much-revered captain of England’s national team will be the first-ever man to grace the cover of British Marie Claire when he appears in the magazine’s June issue. The June issue of GQ will also feature Beckham on its cover, in a photo by David LaChapelle. Beckham — famous for regularly changing his look and hairstyles — is wearing black nail polish and his torso is greased with baby oil for GQ. Marie Claire’s editor in chief Marie O’Riordan said: “When it came to putting a man on Marie Claire’s cover, there was only one candidate: David Beckham. He represents something for every woman: father, husband, footballer, icon. In a word, he’s the ultimate hero.”
MITCHELL’S NEW ROLE: Allyson Mitchell has been named special projects editor at Lucky. She reports to editor in chief Kim France and will be responsible for creating and implementing edit-based events. Since 2000, Mitchell has consulted with numerous non-profit organizations including Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Earlier, she was vice president of Harrison & Shriftman.
TEEN PEOPLE PICKS: As if we didn’t already know enough about the young actors out there, there’s yet another TV special coming up. Teen People’s fifth annual “25 Hottest Stars Under 25” issue that hits newsstands Friday, will tie in with a one-hour special TV show on MTV on Saturday night. Called “MTV Presents: Teen People’s 25 Hottest Stars Under 25,” the show will take a “close” look at the stars’ lives and is hosted by MTV veejays Quddus and Hillarie. Those named to the list include Kirsten Dunst, Ludacris, Usher, Alicia Keys, Julia Stiles, Josh Hartnett, Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman. The TV show is sponsored by Neutrogena.