Joseph Cross on short list for ‘Justice League of America’

Joseph CrossEver since he landed the lead role in “Running with Scissors,” playing the character of Augusten Burroughs, I’ve been wondering when Cross — a Pelham native and one of our designated up-and-coming stars of 2007 in InTown — was going to get his next big role. Well, it took almost a year, but induction into the superhero hall of justice is just about as big as it gets.

According to EW, “Justice League of America” has been fast-tracked by Warner Bros. to begin shooting next Feb in Australia, thanks in part to a script that’s ready to rock (and a studio eager to get into production before the supposedly imminent screenwriter’s strike). The story is reportedly faithful to the original comic and all seven original members of the Justice League — Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and the Martian Manhunter — will have roles. There’ll be epic battles between Superman and Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, Alien and Predator, Terminator and Predator, and, presumably, Laser Cats and Toonses the Driving Cat.

No word yet on which part Cross is up for, but according to the Hollywood Reporter the director on the project, George Miller, invited him along with other your actors (Adam Brody, D.J. Cotrona, Teresa Palmer, and the rapper Common) to a “marathon casting session.”

Now, I don’t have any strong feelings one way or another about who Cross should play (Aquaman might be a good fit), but I would like to start campaigning for another casting decision.

Four simple words: Common IS Martian Manhunter.

Vanessa Williams scores $20-million deal to fight acne


After her complaints about how high-def TV makes her pores look horrible, Vanessa Williams was just about the last person I would have expected to get a skincare product endorsement deal. Hayden Panettiere, with her supernaturally spotless epidermis, sure. But not Williams.

Well, turns out that Williams, a Chappaqua resident, landed herself a $20 million deal with the Proactiv. Something tells me Neutrogena ain’t paying Hayden anywhere near that much.

Even more remarkable the mega-millions: According to the NY Post, the “Ugly Betty” will be earing even more from pimple product than Jessica Simpson. The reason? An unnamed source says, “She is going to be developing a cosmetics line for the company.”

OK, so who’s up for some Wilhemina Slater Botox?

(photo: ABC/Scott Garfield)

Tim Robbins rocks out at Woodie Guthrie tribute with Pearl Jam guitarist

tim-robbins.jpgNot available in any store: Tim Robbins sings!

Evidently brought to you by the letter “W,” the Wednesday tribute to Woodie Guthrie at Webster Hall featured the Pound Ridge resident not only hosting, but kickin’ out some Guthrie jams with Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard. Rolling Stone reports:


Tim Robbins — who has a surprisingly robust, Eddie Vedder-ish voice — sang some Guthrie tunes with Gossard and also served as the evening’s host, setting a politically charged tone by reading from Guthrie’s anti-war writings between performances.


Could Susan Sarandon’s album of Joan Baez covers be far behind?

(AP Photo/Chris Weeks)

Hayden Panettiere: Suburbarazzo-in-training?

hayden.jpgPalisades native Hayden Panettiere might be on a hit TV show, but maybe — just maybe — she secretly wants to be a contributor to Suburbarazzi.

Before you laugh (too late, I know), check out these photos of Panettiere shopping in Hollywood yesterday for a new singe-lens reflex camera, familiar to star-hunters hoping to get their foot run over by Britney Spears’ car. Perhaps she wants to be on the other side of the lens for once.

Helping her with the selection process was her dad, Skip, who sported an Entertainment Tonight T-shirt. Pffft. He’s gone Hollywood. Someone get that man a Suburbarazzi shirt and remind him of his LoHud ties!

(Photo via

Oscars say Ang Lee’s new Taiwanese film isn’t foreign enough

The Academy Awards just ruled that Ang Lee’s new film ‘Lust, Caution’ can’t enter the race for best foreign language film. And judging by recent reviews, that was probably its best shot at winning a statue.

As good as it’s supposed to be — and winning the Golden Lion award in Venice suggests it’s pretty damn solid — the NC-17 rating pretty much assures that it won’t have a shot at the regular best picture category. At least, not any more than “Tell Me You Love Me” — equally provactive, medium-core fare — has at winning a best drama Emmy (even though I’m totally rooting for it).

The Academy decided that not enough of the key crew members in Lee’s film were from Taiwan. I never realized there was such a cutoff. Sure, Lee himself may live in Larchmont now, and surely he used a lot of his usual Hollywood gang to shoot the film, but isn’t the fact that it was shot in the county, filmed in Mandarin, and used Taiwanese actors enough to qualify it as “foreign”?

According to the BBC, the acting director of the country’s government film department said, “We and Ang Lee are disappointed… this movie was also popular in Taiwan.” Taiwan’s Motion Picture and Drama Association has appealed the decision, but hasn’t heard back yet.

Would-be ‘Apprentice’ Stephen Baldwin demoted to hot dog duty on NYC streets

baldwin.jpgIt shouldn’t surprise anyone that reality-TV regular Stephen Baldwin would leap at the chance to star in Donald Trump’s new “celebrity” version of “The Apprentic.” But watching the Upper Grandview resident try to sell weiners on a New York street — one of the show’s elimination challenges — with fellow contestants Lennox Lewis, Gene Simmons, and Vincent “Big Pussy” Pastore was … well, kind of sad.

Then again, if Rosie had somehow signed on for this wackiness, it might have become truly transcendent.

Watch video of the hot dog challenge over at TMZ. (NBC’s thugs try to block the footage initially, but watch long enough and you’ll see Baldwin, et al, giving their all at the hot dog cart.)

(photo: Gwynne Johnson/Rockland Magazine)

Tom Cruise, paparazzi come to Pelham


The only thing weirder than Tom Cruise coming to Pelham? Exiting the Pelham Picture House, after the event — a screening of his movie “Lions for Lambs,” directed by Robert Redford and also starring Meryl Streep — to find a swarm of fans and paparazzi shreiking uncontrollably. For about a half hour.

The movie itself was a thought-provoking, if slightly depressing, take on the current war on terror. In it, Cruise plays a Machiavellian senator trying to persuade a journalist (Streep) that his new military strategy will yield better results; Redford is a college professor attempting to motivate a lazy student to take a more pro-active stance on what he believe in; and two soldiers (Michael Pena and Derek Luke), who turn out to be former students of Redford’s professor, fight on the front lines of Afghanistan.

After the credits, the flood lights came on and Travers took the stage. “We have two people here to talk to us tonight,” he said. “First is a young actor looking to get his big break: Tom Cruise.â€?

jayackermanphoto-tcruise_0015.JPGThe thunderous applause almost drowned out the second introduction, for the film’s screenwriter, Matthew Carnahan (who also penned the recent No. 1 hit, “The Kingdomâ€?). Carnahan and Cruise walked up the aisle together, but it all eyes were on Jerry Maguire. The actor wore a blue blazer, blue jeans, and boyish Prince Valiant haircut (presumably from his new WWII Nazi film, “Valkyrieâ€?). Surveying the scene, Cruise remarked — without a hint of irony — “What a beautiful theater.â€?

To which Travis replied: “You don’t want to say it’s too beautiful, Tom, because we’re really trying to change it.�

The rest of the evening had its share of witty banter, and a few heartfelt responses to the movie’s two central themes — guilt over not doing anything to challenge the war, and apathy towards the state of political discourse in our country these days. If you’re interested in listening, here’s a full recording of the evening:


More photos of the event, courtesy of Jay Ackerman and the Picture House, are after the break.

UPDATE: Check out my extended article on the Cruise visit in this Sunday’s Journal News.

Still want more of Tom in Pelham? Extra has video of Cruise outside the Picture House.


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Sextortionist cuts off court-ordered anklet — and gets brand new, shiny arrest warrant

6972ba2032.jpgAnd here I thought Jessica Wolcott wasn’t due to come back on our radar screen until her next court date of November 15. But apparently she just couldn’t wait that long.

Famous for trying to extort Pepsi executive Gary Wandschneider for $125,000—and threatening to expose his online sugar-daddy life to his wife—Wolcott pled guilty to extortion last year. Since then, she’s caused more trouble by threatening her ex-husband Kyle Strait (after he talked with us about how she cheated on and stole from him), angering the bitter smartmob of investors at, and getting into a bar fight in Seneca Falls.

Now the latest: After being ordered to wear an electronic tracking bracelet and restrict her travel, Wolcott apparently cut off the anklet. What’s more, even though she had been explicitly instructed to stay away from the booze (especially given her bar-brawling ways), she began conducting winery tours and officers found a number of empty beer and wine bottles in her apartment. The police explained to our colleagues at The Journal News that Wolcott removed her tracking device because “she had spilled hot wax on it.”

Thanks to these shenanigans, U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth M. Karas went ahead and issued an arrest warrant for Wolcott. All of which begs the question: Is this girl DMX’s soul mate?

Yes, I know he’s married, but it’s not like that ever stopped her before.

Phil Amicone, the new mayor of Tuckahoe?


At least, that’s what you’d think after seeing last night’s episode of “Kitchen Nightmares.” I’ll explain …

The show centered on Tuckahoe’s Olde Stone Mill — an establishment on the verge of collapse because of few patrons and abysmal promotion — and Gordon Ramsay’s attempt to save the spot by reinventing it as a steakhouse. The village featured prominently in the show’s opening setup, and throughout the episode you see Ramsay scouting out the competition, visiting a local butcher, and riding around town on his motorcycle. When he finally convinces Dean Marrazzo — the Mill’s temperamental, hotheaded owner — to reopen with a new steak-based menu, a slew of patrons show up for the grand reopening. Among those diners is Yonkers mayor Phil Amicone.

Only, the Yonkers part is conveniently left out. Amicone is referred to repeatedly as “the mayor.” When he sits down, Ramsay talks to the camera about how important it is for “the mayor” to have a great dining experience. The GM fumbles his presentation of meats to “the mayor.” Thanks to the dozens of references to Tuckahoe throughout the first half hour, Amicone thus comes off as the mayor of Tuckahoe.

What’s more, the editors repeatedly cut back to “the mayor” — the designated VIP of the night — to ratchet up the tension. Ramsay ducks outside to speak the camera: “The mayor still hasn’t been served. This is not good.” Marrazzo yells at the chef that the mayor has been waiting 45 minutes. Ramsay points out at the one-hour mark that the mayor still hasn’t been served. Finally, at long last, the mayor gets his steak. “It’s good,” he says. The mayor is happy.

The only slight hiccup in the narrative comes in the wrap-up at the end, when we see a shot of Amicone presenting Marrazzo with what he calls “the key to the city of Yonkers.” Oops.

Still, all in all, great show. And whether he’s the mayor of Yonkers, Tuckahoe, or Uktamuka, Amicone gets props for supporting the local restaurant scene.


(Olde Stone Mill: Stephen Schmitt/The Journal New; Amicone: Angela Gaul / The Journal News; Ramsay and Amicone with plaque: Eric Leibowitz/FOX)

Lessons on Lubing from Barbara Walters

rosie-odonnell.jpgIn Rosie O’Donnell’s increasingly erratic publicity tour for her new book, “Celebrity Detox,” she decided to join Roseanne Barr on stage at a comedy club recently. When she took the stage, the South Nyack resident began with a bombshell: “When I was fired by Barbara Walters …”

No mention of leaving early or departing by mutual consent. The big O went on to rip into her former mentor, even going so far as to say that Walters recommended the use of Astroglide spermicidal jelly.

She later backed off Babwa and even tried to get in a nice word about her former colleague — “But she paved the way for women. She interviewed Presidents … ” — at which point Barr jumped in: “Like Abraham Lincoln!”

“Barbara Walters Fired Me From the View” [Daily News]

(Rosie at the opening reception for her art exhibition “Solace” at The Gallery at New World Stages on Oct. 9: AP Photo/Gary He)

DMX Update: Cocaine, pit bull autoposy = more trouble


Earl Simmons is still MIA, but the latest lab tests on his pit bulls have come back and things don’t bode well for the Mount Kisco homeowner.

According to the preliminary necropsy report (see the full PDF of the police report here) the medical examiner found extensive evidence of severe abuse to the dead dogs (at least, on the ones that weren’t already too decomposed). The findings included blunt force trauma to the right shoulder of one pup, trauma to the left caudal chest and left cranial abdomen, and bite wounds on various dogs’ radius, humerus, and shoulder blade bones. There were also burns so intense that a dog’s sex was indeterminable.

Oh, yeah, and there was also cocaine. The police confirmed that the powdery substance they found at DMX’s home was indeed nose candy.

For some inexplicable reason, the Maricopa County Sheriff still hasn’t issued any arrest warrants for the rapper, though he’s still obviously wanted for questioning. While the evidence of dog abuse is pretty damning, they’re still trying to determine whether the pit bulls were used in dog fighting, a felony offense. The bite wounds seem to suggest that possibility, though they might not be enough evidence to convict. Of course, the Arizona officials could always take a cue from their law-enforcement counterparts in Westchester: Issue arrest warrants now, ask questions later.

Find a whole collection of photos of the raid and the rescued dogs after the break.

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Tom Cruise to arrive in Pelham tonight

tomcruise.jpegSay wha?! Tom Cruise in Westchester? Believe it, man.

As Kevin Canfield reported on LoHud last week, Cruise is coming to screen his new wartime suspense tale “Lions for Lambs” at the Pelham Picture House at 7 p.m. How on earth did that come to pass? Well, as with the recent visits from Sean Penn (screening “Into the Wild”) and Richard Gere (“The Hunting Party”), we have Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers to thank. As a member of the Picture House’s film advisory board, the Mamaroneck resident has been corralling movie star after movie star to make the trek up the Hutch for special advance screenings and Q&A sessions.

Still no word on whether Katie will be there — and we’ve already been told that interviews with Cruise are a no-go — but I’m planning to attend the event tonight and will share all the details tomorrow.

Got any questions you’d love to hear Cruise answer? Post ’em here and I’ll do my best to wave my arms uncontrollably during the Q&A and be your mouthpiece.

(AP Photo)