Madonna's arrival sure to be a sideshow at circuslike Cannes

May 21, 2008|By LIZ SMITH | LIZ SMITH,Tribune Media Serivces

OH, WHAT a circus! Oh, what a show! ... we've all gone crazy!"

So go the Tim Rice lyrics for one of Evita's rousing songs (music by Andrew Lloyd Webber).

Appropriate words as Cannes awaits the arrival of Madonna. The Hard Candy pop empress will join AmfAR's activist deluxe Sharon Stone for Harvey Weinstein's annual Cinema Against AIDS gala tomorrow night.

The anticipatory hysteria and nerves around the convergence of the two blondes is so thick you can cut it with a needle full of collagen. Yeah, sure, it's all for charity. But nobody's put a halo on either lady yet. Nor do these legends of the erotic ask only for a grass mat and a bowl of rice before performing their duties for the poor and sick in luxurious Cannes.

(Oh, OK. Madonna has roughed it in Africa, and both women have raised millions in good-deed-doing. I'm being a little witchy here because I say so many nice things about Madonna and Sharon. I still get the random, "Are you on their payroll?" wisecrack. So, truth be told, they are big divas with big hearts.)

For those who care -- and I assume that means all of you reading this! -- Madonna and her husband, director Guy Ritchie, seem determined to present a united front, despite rumors of discord. Guy will attend his wife on various red carpets (Madonna's powerful documentary about AIDS in Africa, I Am Because We Are, screens at the festival), also at the AmfAR dinner and auction, and all other events involving La Ciccone. I'm sure he'll also be discussing his own coming Gerard Butler-Jeremy Piven movie RocknRolla. Sean Penn, Madonna's first husband is also in Cannes. Local paparazzi have been praying for a Guy/Sean/M photo-op.

A little more film fest

Received a brief e-mail from a wealthy friend who is enjoying the carnival of souls but blessedly does not have to work the festival: "So many crazy people walking down the street. Fantastic in the sickest way. Looks like a low-budget film that didn't have enough money to pay for extras. The surgery! Tiny perfect bodies on 90-year-old women in Danskin."

My pal bumped into Sean Combs ("Not the slightest bit of magnetism"), Christian Slater ("yawn"), Graydon Carter ("always windblown"), Star Jones ("very tiny in sequins") and Barry Diller ("looking mean and scary").

And commenting on one vaunted yacht party thrown by a fabulously wealthy New Yorker: "No energy or buzz. The lobby of the Carlton was way more interesting."

Smith Jerrod returns

Fans of Sex and the City the TV show always hoped that if the adventures of four New York City women was ever made into a movie, Jason Lewis, who played Kim Cattrall's studly but loving boy toy, would be part of the big-screen adventure, along with Chris Noth's Mr. Big. (Noth was Sarah Jessica Parker's longtime, usually unavailable heartache.)

Anyway, Jason made the cut, and he will reprise his role as Smith Jerrod. It seems that romping with a slightly older woman is no great leap for the actor. He tells Elle's Andrew Goldman he hooked up at age 20 with a woman in her early 40s; they met on an airplane. He describes the experience as "overwhelming."

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