Scarlett Johannson: gladiatrix?

Actress goes from blonde to redhead

The Daily Telegraph’s Hilary Alexander characterizes Scarlett Johannson as “the red carpet’s most wanted blonde.” So what happened after Scarlett agreed to become the ideal Dolce & Gabbana woman for their make-up collection launched last week at Milan’s Fashion Week? She went overnight to being a dark-tressed red-head. “For a long time I’ve had really white-blonde hair. I’m naturally blonde — my dad’s Danish — and I was playing up to it. I wanted to act out all those famous blonde icons — Lauren Bacall, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe. Ever since I started on the red carpet, my idea of glamour was the Golden Age of Hollywood… the hair, the makeup, the gown, the diamonds. That to me, is glamour.” Scarlett said, “Perhaps the ‘blonde bombsell’ look is less suitable for a wife.” (She wed actor Ryan Reynolds last September.) So when Scarlett goes on the red carpet again, who’ll she be channeling? Rita Hayworth or Ava Gardner? Although Scarlett says, “I like to be feminine,” she adds: “I love the androgynous look. I love trouser suits, those ones from Yves St. Laurent, the three-piece jacket and trousers with a waistcoat. I also wear a lot of Rag & Bone. I look on, I see the shows, I pull the vintage pieces, shopping for myself. I’d love to see a Dior couture show. I’ve never been to one.”

She is signed for the action drama “The Amazon Warrior” set in 200 B.C. “I think I’m supposed to be a gladiatrix. These film guys are crazy about gladiatrixes. But do I fit into the Amazon mold? I’m a Danish/Jewish girl from New York. I’ve done weapons training. I’ve fired all kinds of guns: 9 mm, semi-automatics, machine-guns, shotguns. I’ve jumped off a 60-foot building. I learned to ride for ‘The Horse Whisperer.’ But I’ve never done a full-on action role. I guess I’m still waiting for my Cirque du Soleil moment. It would be fun.”

TALKED WITH Barbara Walters on her Sirius Radio Show, joined by her TV producer Bill Geddie. Finally I piped up: “Barbara, I’ve known a lot of men who wanted to marry you, and even two who did. But now you never have to marry again because you have Bill Geddie and the two of you fight, spat, quarrel like old married folks.” Geddie laughed: “And, yes, we have the same kind of satisfied sex life that most older partners have!” Barbara pointed out that Bill is married happily to another woman named Barbara “… and she never knows whether he’s complaining at her or at me!” Bill Geddie is Barbara’s smart partner on “The View” and he has the powerful voice that was made for radio. He handles his very big star partner with deft wit and perfect pitch. They are an incredible twosome.

TALK ABOUT surprises! I am going out on a limb here to say that the Jane Fonda starrer on Broadway at the Eugene O’Neill Theater is going to be pronounced a big hit by drama critics after its opening last night. It isn’t nice to review shows before the critics do so I’ll wait to give you my own verdict on “33 Variations.” But my bet is that this incredible play, actually starring Beethoven, staged and written by Moises Kaufman, will be one for the Tony Awards. Everybody in the cast is simply wonderful including the elegant, glamourous and ultimately gallant Miss Fonda! Get in line now!

The other day I was sitting more or less innocently at my desk when two books appeared. One was the advance copy of Candy Spelling’s “Stories From Candy-Land.” (Candy is the widow of TV mogul Aaron Spelling and often held up as the prime example of a certain species of Hollywood wife.) The other book was the paperback version of Tori Spelling’s “sTori Telling.” (Tori is Candy’s sometimes estranged daughter, and is often held up as a prime example of a certain species of Hollywood children.) I didn’t know if I could take reading either book cover to cover. Life’s minutes are precious, after all. So I flipped open Tori’s book and my eye immediately fell to this sentence: “I don’t think my father had to die so soon. Yes, he had a stroke, but for two years before that — years when he could have recovered from throat cancer — he gave up on life. He never saw daylight. He rarely got out of bed … And his wife was going out every night without him.” The “wife” let us make clear, was Tori’s mom, Candy.

Oh-kay! Then I opened up “Stories from Candy-land” and instantly found this: “It’s fine if she (Tori) wants her own reality show or wants to write books about her childhood, I just wish she’d leave me out of it… each of us has our own perception of reality. When Tori says the word mother the focus of my life changes temporarily.”

I did browse through Candy’s book a bit more thoroughly. (We know Tori’s tales — and it’s the paperback, anyway.) “Candy-land” seems really quite a lot of fun. Mrs. Spelling includes recipes (I kid you not) and a lot of stories about her family, growing up, how she loves old movies, hums a lot (that’s how her friends know what she’s thinking) and is a hoarder — as in serious compulsive hoarder.

She also tells about life as a glossy super-confident trophy wife. But she wasn’t confident, or, in her own estimation, Aaron’s trophy. (She was and is glossy, but that’s an L.A. given.) Oh, and she loves Mah-Jongg. Some may call her Medea. I say a woman who includes a recipe for “Peanut Butter Pillows” in her book can’t be all bad.

IT WAS freezing in New York though the big snow had melted in the streets. But not back behind the garden room of Michael’s restaurant; out the windows snow was still pristine and it looked like a winter wonderland. This is where Literacy Partners held its 25th annual cocktail party to announce the May 11 benefit readings at Lincoln Center. An enthusiastic and upscale crowd came crashing in. We had two famous super best-selling authors, Mary Higgins Clark and Barbara Taylor Bradford. These prolific novelists can’t be beat; they are glamorous dames who just keep creating. Two of our authors for the coming night of readings graced the party — big talents Christopher Buckley and Marie Brenner. (Barbara Walters and David Wroblewski will join us in May.) And our honorees were super writer Barbara Goldsmith plus the philanthropic Nina Rennert and Mitchell Davidson. Two of the founders — Lesley Stahl and Joni Evans — graced us with their Wowie presence. I am proud to say that through the years Parker Ladd and Arnold Scaasi and Peter Brown and I have been connected with this charity. Literacy Partners has taught over 25,000 adult New Yorkers to read and write above the fifth grade level.

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