OLIVER STONE sent me a note, and a copy of his new DVD cut of his much-maligned epic, “Alexander.” Oliver says this is his “best and final effort.” The movie has been “restructured” and 40 minutes have been added. These minutes include more battles, more about Alexander’s love affair with Bagoas, the eunuch, an expansion of his relationship with his Persian wife (Rosario Dawson) and of course, more about Alexander’s wacky, ambitious mother, played vividly by Angelina Jolie. (With her sinister worship of snakes, she was the best and most authentic thing about the movie.) I still say that history be damned, “Alexander” would have had a better reception if Colin Farrell — who gives it his all — had played Alexander the Great with his own dark hair. Colin just couldn’t carry off blond. … TONIGHT, Howard Stringer will be honored at the Museum of Television & Radio gala at the Waldorf-Astoria. Carly Simon will get up and sing. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
THE NEW Hearst building is the dynamite place to lunch, providing you know anybody who can get you past the enduring security at the indoor waterfall. Fascinating to observe Harper’s Bazaar editor Glenda Bailey in her glass office with its white leather furniture and the layout shelf behind her desk. Here, every planned editorial and fashion page is displayed in easy-to-see or change sequence. … The White House has requested a print of Guillermo del Toro’s magnificent “Pan’s Labyrinth.” It’s a surprising choice for George W. Bush. Then again, it’s a fantasy. … Never say never. Eddie Murphy swears he is going to “retire” soon. Murphy, who’ll next be seen in “Norbit,” says by the time he reaches 50, in five years, he’ll have had 30 years under his belt as a movie star and that is quite enough, thank you. “I’ve played everything from an old lady to a donkey.”
ROLLING STONE’S evaluation of Al Gore as the possible “dark horse” in the 2008 presidential race is fascinating. Gore always introduces himself like this — “I used to be the next president of the United States.” Just musing — if Gore’s documentary, the now seemingly confirmed ecological warning, “An Inconvenient Truth” wins the Oscar for best of its kind Feb. 25, and if Gore should run again and win in 2008, he’d be the first president of the United States with an Oscar. This would beat the record of all those actors who have gone into politics — Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronald Reagan and George Murphy. None of these former screen stars ever won an Academy Award.
ON FEB. 26, one day after the Oscars, the beautiful Isabella Rossellini will be appearing in Los Angeles with writer Charlotte Chandler at UCLA’s big book event. Then, on Feb. 28, the actress and the author join again at the new Billy Wilder Theater in L.A. where they will talk about Isabella’s immortal parents — Ingrid Bergman and director Roberto Rossellini. Ms. Chandler will be at home in this setting, for she wrote the 2002 biography of the late Billy Wilder, titled “Nobody’s Perfect.” Her new work, on Ingrid Bergman is being published by Simon & Schuster on Feb. 20. Isabella tells Charlotte: “I like to see my mother young in her Hollywood pictures, before I knew her. I can admire her as an actress, and I can appreciate her beauty… I like to drink coffee from ‘Casablanca’ mugs with her picture. But the truth of it is, at the same time she doesn’t seem like she really belongs to me. She is Ingrid Bergman. The films that show mother as she was — the way I remember her — those make me feel sad. They are the films of Mama.”
(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com)