This is exclusive to this column: Actor George Clooney is planning to host a telethon to raise money for the people of Haiti next Friday on all the MTV channels.
George told me last night at a private reception for his movie “Up in the Air” at the Monkey Bar ‘ hosted by Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter and Paramount’s Brad Grey. Clooney is putting out the call today to all his celebrity friends and performers to participate from both coasts on Friday, January 22nd ‘ and he’s gotten MTV’s Judy McGrath to agree to air the show on MTV, VH-1, etc. That may be one reason McGrath was a guest at last night’s shindig.
Clooney, in a celebratory mood over “Up in the Air,” has gotten producer Joel Gallen, the guy who handled the famous 9-11 telethon on all the networks, to produce the show. At last night’s party he started in by buttonholing Sting ‘ who came to the Monkey Bar with wife Trudie Styler ‘ to participate. Sting merely asked, “Where do I go?” and Clooney was off to the races.
Meanwhile George had more celebrating to do last night. It was his dad’s birthday. George bought Nick ‘ who came into the Monkey Bar late with George’s mom, Nina ‘ a signed first edition of Arthur Miller’s classic “Death of A Salesman.” Just so the gift didn’t seem too ‘heavy,’ George gave his dad a birthday card that he himself illustrated, wishing him a happy 90th. The picture George drew showed an old man on a cane. Nick was not amused, but everyone got a big kick out of it.
And everyone ‘ I mean, everyone ‘ included Michael Douglas, keeping busy while wife Catherine Zeta Jones was doing her nighttime performance of “A little Night Music” on Broadway, plus “Up in the Air” director/writer Jason Reitman, his own dad, Ivan Reitman and’ mom Genevieve, “Up in the Air” co-star Anna Kendrick, Woody Harrelson (in a wide brimmed black hat), Liz Smith, Bob and Lynne Balaban, Albert Maysles, Ronald Perelman, CAA’s Bryan Lourd, Tovah Feldshuh, writer/director Paul Schrader, writer/director Paul Haggis, famed book editor Jerry Howard, and a very tight-lipped Lorne Michaels, who declined very nicely to say a word about the Conan/Jay disaster. Lorraine Bracco, who’s got two pilots cooking for TV, had a reunion with “Sopranos” creator David Chase. We need Dr. Melfi back on the tube!
Spike Lee, who was busy chatting about his upcoming documentary sequel to his “When the Levees Broke,” took Sting aside. “I love that song, Soul Cake,” Lee said, emphasizing the first word. Sting laughed, changing the emphasis. “It’s soul cake,” he said, “not that kind of Soul.” It turns out Spike Lee is a big Sting fan. When he praised Sting’s first solo album, “Dream of the Blue Turtles,” the singer told him he was going to re-release the CD totally remixed. “It’s going to have a lot more punch.” For a while Sting and Vanity Fair writer Christopher Hitchens also discussed God. But that’s another whole story.
Meanwhile, Trudie Styler got very cozy with Maysles, and starting planning a new documentary.
Around the room, there was plenty of talk about some other upcoming Paramount films including Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island.” One exec told me that the postponed film, now set for February release, would simply have been too dark for a Christmas release. “Wait til you see Leonardo DiCaprio,” I was warned. “It’s an Oscar performance.”
Paramount is also gearing up for “Iron Man 2,” “Transformers 3,” with Shia LaBeouf and “Indiana Jones 5,” with Shia LaBeouf, not to mention a J.J. Abrams sequel to “Star Trek.”
But wait ‘ Ivan Reitman, who told this column about a potential “Ghostbusters” film a few weeks ago, is amused by all the subsequent talk, chatter, speculation and blogging. “It just grows and grows,” he laughed. “And nothing new has happened.” Got that?