N.Y. moves on to ‘Next Best Thing’

Rushdie crashes party

The very best thing about the preem and party for Paramount’s “The Next Best Thing” was easily mother Madonna and her unflappable co-star Rupert Everett alongside the likes of “Satanic Verses” scribe Salman Rushdie.

No one was quite sure why Rushdie was making an appearance (though he’s been spotted at several parties of late) and no one noticed any Arab gunmen determined to make good on the Rushdie death sentence fatwa from the Ayatollah Khomeini. But fatwa fireworks aside, he and all the others seemed to enjoy the festivity.

Par topper Sherry Lansing made the trip from the West Coast, along with execs Rob Friedman and Jonathan Dolgen.

“Isn’t he fabulous?” Lansing cried over Everett.

To which Everett merely smiled and smirked in his silk shirt.

The preem played at the newly opened Loews E-Walk on 42nd Street. Guests trekked three blocks through the formerly dismal and now refurbished Times Square to head for Saci, a flashy nightclub in between the Metro Cigarette and Candy Wholesaler and Psychic Readings by Mrs. Nicole.

Paramount brass was in full swing at the party, with Friedman deigning to go down from the A-list party perch for discussions on the dance floor.

Lansing and Dolgen were happily sequestered in the private party with cast members Madonna, Everett, Benjamin Bratt and Malcolm Stumpf alongside director John Schlesinger, producers Tom Rosenberg and Linne Radmin, exec producer Ted Tannenbaum and screenwriter Tom Ropelewski.

Guests included Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow, Isabella Rossellini, Anjelica Huston, Kellie Martin, Beverly D’Angelo, Steven Weber, Amber Valetta, Ricki Lake, Billie Meyers, Sean “Puffy” Combs, Ingrid Casares, producer Donald DeLine and Madonna’s producing partner at Maverick, Guy Oseary.

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