Insider

UPDATED 05/29/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 05/29/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT

Filming on the Charlie's Angels movie was running late on location north of Malibu on May 9, and co-star Drew Barrymore was due to receive Blockbuster's award for favorite actress in a romance or comedy that night. What's a movie star to do? Hop a helicopter, of course. The award show's producers forked over $3,000 to rent the bird and scrambled to get permits to allow it to land at the Shrine Auditorium in L.A. The trip that would have taken two hours by car took only 15 minutes in the chopper. Not one to put on airs, Barrymore took a car home—not the copter—after the show, scheduled to air June 20.

Actress Connie Nielsen gave costar Russell Crowe a ring before they started filming the hit flick Gladiator. Newcomer Nielsen, who has the plum role of Lucilla, the emperor's sister in the epic, was browsing around antique stores in England looking for Roman antiquities to give her an intimate connection with her character, when she came across two period rings. Nielsen bought one with a dolphin-and-trident design for herself and the other, with an eagle on it, for Crowe, who wears it in the movie.

Fresh off his wedding and honeymoon near Santa Barbara, Calif., ER star Noah Wyle traveled to Vancouver, B.C., to film a guest-starring role on his favorite TV show, Beggars and Choosers, Showtime's series about a struggling TV network. His role as a prolific, successful producer came about after Wyle saw someone wearing a Beggars and Choosers hat one day while having lunch in the commissary at Warner Bros., where ER is shot. After he told the person how much he liked the show, word got back to the producers, who then contacted Wyle's agent. "Write a good part and he'll do it," they were told. The show will air in July.

For her FOX TV prime-time special on June 7, Britney Spears taped a concert on Honolulu's Waikiki Beach in late April. You will see her make a surprise visit to an 11-year-old fan who shares Britney's birth date and lives on a Hawaiian military base. Armed with posters and CDs, Spears tells the lucky girl that she has 30 minutes to call as many friends as possible for a party. Her friends don't believe her, so Spears gets on the phone and does a lot of convincing.

We thought CBS News had a policy against their staffers turning up in movies. So what's Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes doing in Woody Allen's latest flick, Small Time Crooks? Well, it turns out that the president of CBS News, Andrew Heyward, looks at each case individually. He decided Kroft's part as a TV reporter was okay because he was appearing in a comedy and no one would confuse it with a real CBS newscast.

Fast take: The latest Hollywood status symbol is the new digital Motorola V. cell phone, partly because it's so tiny and partly because it's not on the market yet. (The projected cost is $300 to $500.) One of Madonna's partners at Maverick Records, Guy Oseary, managed to grab a few, though, and gave them away to his Passover seder guests, who included Madonna, Ben Stiller and Rob Lowe.

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