GOOD MORNING: James Bond in Legoland? I caught up with Pierce Brosnan, wife Kelly, sons Dylan, 7 and Paris, 3 Monday as they were driving to Legoland. Brosnan and Marine Sgt. Alfonso Villegas Jr., recently returned from duty in Iraq, were readying to pull a switch illuminating a 30-foot Christmas tree built of more than a quarter of a million Lego bricks. While the Brosnans arrived in a conventional car, Santa Claus landed via helicopter from Camp Pendleton. Brosnan admitted to me, “I love Lego, and Dylan has a Ph.D. in Lego!” As with all appearances (including TV), Brosnan accepts a donation — for St. Jude Hospital. Since I had Pierce in his car, it was a good time to talk showbiz. On the future James Bond pix, he said “It would have to come to an end at some time. It’s best to go out this way–on top. They did me a favor. It’s better than being yanked off the stage with a wooden leg. Meanwhile, I’m taking some time off replenishing.” He is also prepping his own banner, Irish Dream Time, “The Thomas Crown Affair II,” “The Perfect Gentleman” and “Lochinvar.” Coming up for a showing at Sundance is “The Matador,” a black comedy in which he’s a hit man who has a nervous breakdown. Greg Kinnear costars. It’s his banner’s fifth film. “We do one at a time when — and where — we think it’s right,” he said.
GEORGE CLOONEY HAD TO CANCEL New York appearances this week for “Ocean’s 12.” He’s being treated for a ruptured disc. It’s expected he’ll have a complete and speedy recovery in time for the L.A. preem Dec. 8. Meanwhile, it’s not determined whether “Ocean’s” wife, Julia Roberts, who welcomed twins (a boy and girl) Sunday, will be able to attend the preem. Jerry Weintraub, in New York tubthumping the pic, said Julia told him of her infanticipating “the first day of shooting.” “And she didn’t ask for any time off or any changes in the script,” he admitted. “And George had a lot of tough scenes and he, too, never asked for any changes” … Following “Ocean’s,” Clooney segued into a regimen to gain 20 pounds for his CIA operative role in “Syriana,” which recently wound. There were a lot of physical scenes for him in this one, reports Viola Davis who played his boss and national security adviser. In one scene he’s tortured (fingernail extracted, beatings, etc.) by his Iranian captors. “George shows he’s a really great character actor,” she volunteers. She has worked with him previously (20 pounds lighter) for “Solaris,” which was “more philosophical than physical.” As for their next together, Clooney told her, “Some day we have to do a musical.” Meanwhile, she received an Ovation Award for her L.A legit appearance in “Intimate Apparel,” and also just wound CBS’ “Stone Cold” with Tom Selleck. And “Running With Scissors,” in which she’ll play Annettte Bening’s lesbian lover. The cast includes Vanessa Redgrave, Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Pitt … Ryan Murphy directs his screenplay based on the life of Augusten Burroughs.
ERNEST THOMPSON’S “On Golden Pond” heads back to B’way April 7 with James L. Jones and Leslie Uggams starring with Linda Powell, daughter of Alma and Colin Powell, in the daughter role. They were raved at the Kennedy Center; Thompson echoes the praise of this cast in his play, which bowed in 1979 on B’way, went on to the bigscreen and most recently CBS with Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer and Glenne Headly with Thompson directing. He next hits the L.A. stage (the Zephyr) with his “White People Christmas” — about a black Santa and white bigots. He’s writing “Ax of Love,” which he promises is darker than “On Golden Pond” … Suzanne and Bob Wright and Lorne Michaels winged to Grand Junction, Colo., Monday to be at the bedside of Dick Ebersole and the other survivors of the weekend plane crash … Karen Sharpe Kramer hosts a lunch Wednesday at Ago honoring Michael Moore. Among those attending (invitation only): Lawrence Bender, Norman Lear, Mike Farrell, Ed Begley Jr., the Dennis Hoppers, Henry Jaglom, Fay Kanin, Roger Mayer, Tommy Schlamme and Christine Lahti, Mark Rydell, Jeremy Kagan … Estelle Reiner is OK after a pneumonia hospital stay in time to release her CD, “Grown-up Songs for Kids” — with pix of her (and Carl’s) five grandchildren on the cover. The evergreens include “Always,” “Oh You Beautiful Doll,” “My Blue Heaven,” etc. And Carl R. is winding his latest novel about a writer — “Nnnnn” … This week, the newly renovated Friars Club of Beverly Hills previews its quarters and restaurant to members with a Champagne Week of lunches and dinners. CEO Darren Schaeffer adds that Larry King continues as Abbot and the club sets out to add young members to the roster … Shirley Jones takes two dates ( Dec. 5-6) off her “Home for the Holidays” tour with Robert Goulet to guest on “Sesame Street,” celebrating its 35th year on the air. She’ll play Mother Goose to the Muppet characters in Baby Bear’s first day of school … Bobby Short, who plays his Café Carlyle through Dec. 31, heads to L.A.’s Catalina Bar & Grill Jan. 11 for six days. He returns to his Carlyle stand in May with no more talk — or even debating — about retiring … Riff Markowitz’s Palm Springs Follies holiday season at the Plaza Theater boasts a first this season: A gospel number complete with choir. And there’ll be two New Year’s Eve shows, beginning with an early bird special at 3:30 p.m. for those stalwart souls who want to get to bed before midnight.