One of the highlights of Ethan Hawke's directorial debut, Chelsea Walls, and its soundtrack is jazz legend Jimmy Scott's performance of John Lennon's "Jealous Guy." When Scott told the actor he wanted to cover the song, Hawke tried to dissuade him, concerned that the rights to the tune, from 1971's Imagine, would cost more than the indie flick's $200,000 budget. But Hawke sent a copy of Scott's cover to Yoko Ono. Delighted by Scott's rendition and impressed with their efforts to make the small-budget film, Ono granted the rights for almost nothing, a generous gesture considering Lennon's widow could have charged as much as she liked.
A few weeks ago Jay Leno gave away $1.5 million of his own money to the Tonight show staff as lOth-anniversary thank-you gifts. Now I hear he spent more than $1 million to buy the home next to his Beverly Hills estate for his mother-in-law, Victoria Nicholson, 88, then paid $100,000 to have it remodeled. Now Mavis Leno doesn't have to make the half-hour drive to her mom's home in the San Fernando Valley. No wonder Jay never does mother-in-law jokes!
Being the child of actors can get confusing. Last year Reese Witherspoon was perfecting her British accent for The Importance of Being Earnest, while her husband, Ryan Phillippe, was working on his Scottish brogue for Gosford Park. Their nearly 2-year-old daughter Ava was quietly absorbing their strange sounds. One day she turned to her mother and said, "Mummy, I need to get into my pushchair," using the British term for stroller. The kid's a natural.
Clint Eastwood threw a wrap party on April 14 for his latest film, Blood-work, at a bowling alley in Tarzana, Calif. Eastwood, who stars as a retired FBI profiler brought back to track a serial killer, bought out the place for the cast and crew. Jimmy Smits, who's not in the thriller, showed up with his longtime companion, Wanda De Jesus, the film's female lead. I'm told Smits tried all night to break 100 but never did. Eastwood also tossed some balls down the lane. Of course, he threw a few strikes, drawing a standing O after each one.