Helmer would like to 'discover' thesp in Spanish

Pedro Almodovar isn’t about to go Hollywood, but he would like to take one American star back to Spain.

“I would like to discover Meryl Streep in Spanish,” the helmer said at Monday’s “The Skin I Live In” junket at Gotham’s Regency Hotel.

Maybe it’s not as unlikely as it seems.

“Yes, Meryl Streep called when I was making ‘Talk to Her’ and she was in ‘The Hours,’ and she said, ‘Any time.’ ”

Obviously, Almodovar is a big Streep fan. “I can’t wait to see her as Margaret Thatcher,” he said. “You know I hate Thatcher but I can’t wait to see her.”

As for directing Streep in Hollywood, probably not.

“For me to be free, independent, crazy — whatever you call it — is more important than to go to Hollywood and make a movie there. It’s not purity, it’s just the way I am. Even the idea of making a lot of money isn’t particularly appealing. I’m doing well,” noted the helmer.

- Stephen Schaefer

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Alec Baldwin is ever unpredictable. Just ask the library volunteer in Central Falls, R.I., who picked up the phone a few days ago to hear the “30 Rock” star tell him: “This is Alec Baldwin. I’d like to give you $10,000.”

Baldwin made the call after reading in the New York Times about how the city’s bankruptcy had forced the closure of its only library over the summer — until a group of volunteers organized an effort to keep it open three days a week. Baldwin’s donation to aid one of the state’s poorest cities drew a shoutout on Twitter last week from Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee.

- Variety Staff

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The ladies who lunch scrambled for position a couple of times on Tuesday at the Christie’s/Melanoma Research Alliance private preview of the Collection of Elizabeth Taylor. On display at MOCA’s pop-up venue at the Pacific Design Center from Oct. 13-16, Dame Liz’s jewels (along with clothes and other movie memorabilia) caused a ruckus.

Her breathtakingly gorgeous pieces had Jami Gertz and Donna Dixon Aykroyd jockeying with the deep-pocketed Nancy Davis and Wendy Stark to get a good look, even though the auction doesn’t take place until December at Christie’s in New York.

The second set of jockeying came during lunch on the PDC’s plaza, while the hot sun beat down. Curiously, shade was at a premium as Debra Black and Maria Arena Bell exhorted everyone to stay out of the sun, pay attention to any suspicious moles and support MRA.

But focus remained on the sparkly bits, as Intrepid Pictures’ Trina Wyatt noted, “Liz Taylor is one of the last movie stars to actually own her jewels. Nowadays all the stars just borrow them, wear them once and give them back.”

- Jenny Peters

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