About 30 students at the Ruskin School of Acting in Santa Monica have been enjoying a rare treat for the last few months as Sir Anthony Hopkins turns up to teach them on weekends. The school's founder, John Ruskin, 40, has been a die-hard Hopkins fan since childhood. When a mutual acquaintance told Hopkins of Ruskin's devotion, the actor called him and wound up volunteering his services. Teaching everything from Shakespeare, Chekhov and Pinter to scenes, theory and monologues, Hopkins often stays long after the three-hour weekly classes to work with students one-on-one. "They're in heaven," Ruskin says. Not only are students encouraged to call him Tony, but I hear that their instructor willingly slips into Hannibal Lecter's voice whenever a student prods him.
As Frodo Baggins in Lord of the Rings, Elijah Wood battles goblins, trolls and some really ugly bad guys to return an evil ring to its place of origin so it can be destroyed. In real life, however, the ring ended up at Wood's L.A. home. Director Peter Jackson gave the plain gold band to the young star as a gift after filming of the trilogy wrapped in December 2000. Wood doesn't dare wear it, but not because he's afraid of turning to the dark side. He's just afraid of losing it, so he keeps it in a pouch inside a small wooden box.
Fans of NBC's Law & Order: SVU should take a close look at the knick-knacks of New York City's finest. On the desk of Det. Benson, played by Mariska Hargitay, sits a framed, black-and-white photo of Hargitay's mother, late Hollywood bombshell Jayne Mansfield, wearing a sombrero and holding three of her beloved Chihuahuas. Det. Munch's desk, meanwhile, is covered with JFK memorabilia from Richard Belzer's own collection.
At the London premiere of Enigma, my spies report that Prince Charles revealed his fondness for stockings and garter belts. The royal, who talked throughout much of the screening to Mick Jagger, one of the film's producers, briefly fell silent when actress Saffron Burrows appeared onscreen in stocking tops. Then, I'm told, Charles boomed to Jagger, "I rue the day those went out of fashion!"