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LIZ SMITH: On the Hollywood beat ...

On the Hollywood beat, what's up with Raquel, Sofia, Natalie, the other Sofia, and even the Monkees. And of course Madge, the blonde tsunami
by Liz Smith
Friday, May 4, 2012


“I COULDN’T stand that my husband was being unfaithful. I am Raquel Welch — understand?”

That was Miss Welch, way back when she had more illusions about men and her own image. She’s much happier now. She’s single.
Raquel in Myra Breckenridge.
WORD HAS wriggled out of L.A. that Raquel has met with the creators of TV’s big hit Modern Family. She is being wooed to make a few appearances as Sofia Vergara’s mother. Sofia’s hot, sexy mother, needless to say. Raquel is open to the idea, especially as it would offer her juicy comic opportunities — as “Gloria Delgado’s” mama, her character would probably be just as high-octane as the daughter. Cool as a cucumber one minute, flying off the handle the next.

The producers of Modern Family are said to be “ga-ga” over the possibility of Raquel appearing. Especially after her recent stint on CSI: Miami, where she blotted out every other character with her ageless charisma. (Raquel has reversed the usual stellar process. She looks more like a movie star now than she did back in the old Myra Breckenridge/Kansas City Bomber days.)

Oh yes, Sofia Vergara idolizes Welch. That helps.
A new role for Raquel?
SPEAKING OF Sofia, I caught her the other night with Jimmy Fallon. She was gorgeous and amusing as usual. I was particularly taken by her tale of being “so skinny” as a girl that her family worried. She was not living up to the standards of voluptuous Columbian women. She admitted at one point she would wear two pairs of jeans, to give the impression of a more bountiful booty. “Then, it all worked out, suddenly.”
NATALIE PORTMAN won the Oscar for going totally out of her mind in Black Swan. Then she had a baby and dropped a few hints that maybe she would take some time off. She has been working since she was a child, for one thing. But she went ahead and appeared in Thor, is now filming Lawless and has been announced for Knight of Cups and Thor 2. I think retirement thoughts have been retired.

Natalie Portman as Barbarella?
Now we hear that Sofia Coppola, who directed Miss Portman in those TV ads for Dior’s “Cherie” fragrance, wants to make a movie with Portman for Paramount. Not just any movie. For years the idea of a remake of Roger Vadim’s sci-fi camp-fest Barbarella, has been batted around. This was Jane Fonda’s spectacular au revoir to her European sex-kitten years.

Barbarella was originally a French avant garde comic book heroine. Paramount Pictures wants to jump into the comic book genre that has worked so well for Warner Bros. and Disney/Marvel.  

Coppola, turned on to the Barbarella character by French director Michel Gondry, thinks it is time for a Barbarella re-boot. And she thinks Portman is just the girl to go flying into outer space, seducing the galaxies. (Jane’s characterization was rather innocent, despite the famous weightless striptease. Portman might be a less naïve Barbarella.)

Natalie already has sci-fi credit for her appearances in the Star Wars films, and of course as Thor’s love interest.

Just to remind you, Sofia Coppola directed Marie Antoinette back in 2006. She made some daring choices with that one. There was criticism. But guess what? The film looks better with each passing year. It’s not Norma Shearer and Tyrone Power’s Marie Antoinette but — what ever could be?
"I Want Candy" from Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette.
A secne from Marie Antoinette, 1938.
FROM OUR friend, press rep for athletes and 60’s nostalgia historian, Hal Lifson, in L.A. Hal ran into his friend Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees. Dolenz says that just before the untimely passing of Davy Jones, all four of the original group were contemplating a reunion. Yes, even the reclusive (and very rich) Mike Nesmith. It was Nesmith who suffered the most from the band being pigeonholed as a bubblegum pop group who were not allowed to write their own music or play their own instruments. Mike had that punch-a-hole-in-the-wall kind of temper. He wasn’t polite to music industry execs — such delicate creatures.

Dolenz still wants to go on, however. And he told Hal he might try to persuade Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits fame, to stand in for Davy, or just join the remaining Monkees onstage for a 60’s-themed jam fest. The other Monkees — Nesmith and Peter Tork, think nobody could or should “replace” Davy, but that Noone might pay tribute to Davy, in a special number.
Show biz aside, Mickey has enrolled in the volunteer’s sheriff’s program near his home in Bell Canyon, California. He does a lot of this below the radar stuff, works on many children’s projects, and enjoys celebrating his peers. He recently put out a tribute CD to Carole King, titled King for a Day.
MADONNA IS rehearsing her “MDNA” concert like a maniac. She is promising concerned friends that yes, she is taking care of herself and no, she is not losing too much weight. Good luck on that. From what I’ve heard, no Madonna show in recent times has featured such incredible, non-stop dancing. An insider says: “There were moments when I realized I had stopped breathing! And this is just rehearsals.”

When I asked for the show’s general theme, sets, etc, my friend demurred, but did say: “It’s greater, grander, higher, more inspiring than I’ve seen her in years — maybe ever. She’s like this tiny blonde tsunami.” 
Madonna in rehearsal.

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© 2013 David Patrick Columbia & Jeffrey Hirsch/NewYorkSocialDiary.com