FACTORY GIRL” — the story of Andy Warhol and his first “Superstar” Edie Sedgwick — is the sort of compulsively enjoyable bad movie that Andy himself would have loved. The film is your typical showbiz rise and fall, dangers of substance abuse, the ruin of beauty, and the sometimes terrible price one pays for fame. What lifts the film above its tawdry, overworked genre and inevitable finale (Edie dead of a drug overdose) is a poignant go-for-broke performance by Sienna Miller as the tragic Edie. I spoke with Miller recently when she called from London. Of Edie — socialite, model, actress, celebrity, sacrificial victim — she knew little at first, but “then I read George Plimpton’s book, and that became my Bible. I referred to it all through the shoot. Because one can’t, naturally, include every episode of her life in a film that runs less than two hours, I was frustrated sometimes. I wanted the audience to understand everything about her. But, I followed the script and kept absorbing the book, and hoped it would work out.” Miller has had had her own experiences with intense publicity — her on/off (now quite off) relationship with Jude Law. She did not find any parallels, but says “I think anybody who achieves a name in this business, and suffers through exposure of one’s private life, can relate to aspects of a story like this.” … One of Miller’s five finished films is “Camille” with James Franco and David Carradine, another is “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh” with Peter Sarsgaard, Mena Suvari and Nick Nolte. Miller got herself into a bit of a sticky wicket, when she dissed the city of Pittsburgh to Rolling Stone magazine. “So, Sienna, what are the mysteries of Pittsburgh?” I asked. The actress laughed, “No, no. I’m not going there. It’s absolutely divine.”
AN ANDY WARHOL portrait of Brigitte Bardot, done in 1974, took in almost $10 million the other night at Christie’s in London. It was one of eight of a kind, signed by Andy and bought directly from him by an anonymous seller. Warhol did his Bardot in shades of purple, green and red. He finished it just before she announced that she was retiring from films at age 40. She had made 48 movies as Frances’s premiere sex-kitten, never succumbing to the blandishments of Hollywood. Today, Mlle. Bardot is 72 years old, married, and devotes herself to animal causes. Like Kim Novak, Bardot was the sex-symbol who got out while the getting was good. … The memorial for Robert Altman will be held Tuesday at noon in New York’s Majestic Theater with Kevin Kline, Tim Robbins, Garry Trudeau, Paul Thomas Anderson, Bud Cort, Lily Tomlin, Julianne Moore, Edgar Doctorow, Harry Belafonte, Joan Tewkesbury, Annie Ross and Elvis Costello speaking and performing.
ONE OF my favorites has done it again. Mariah Carey is down in Tennessee appearing in a movie about two brothers on a road trip in search of their estranged dad. Movie includes Bernie Mac, James D’Arcy, and Gregory Peck’s grandson, Ethan Peck. The director is Aaron Woodley and the producer is Lee Daniels. This movie is being made “on a shoestring,” so Mariah was asked to fly down to location in economy class. Those who knew her just about fainted, saying, “She’ll never do that.” Mariah did it. She bought out every seat in economy and flew alone in the economy cabin. … Elton John’s big Oscar night fund-raising party to raise money for his AIDS Foundation will be a joyous occasion as it happens shortly before his 60th birthday on March 25. Elton has reason to celebrate this year. He has bought a fabulous apartment in the distinguished old Sienna Towers in L.A. That famous building is just off Sunset above the “landmarked” Hamburger Hamlet.
(Email Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com)