updated 01/12/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 01/12/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST
It could be a great romantic epic, the story of two free spirits, a sensuous beauty and a wild Irishman on the windswept dunes of the desert. It could be...Angelina in Love.
Tongues are wagging in Egypt after Angelina Jolie and Colin Farrell, who have been filming Oliver Stone's Alexander the Great in Morocco, spent Christmas Day visiting the great pyramids with Jolie's 2-year-old son Maddox. The pair took camel rides side by side and strolled with their arms around each other, at times with Jolie's head nestled against Farrell's shoulder, looking like oh so much more than just costars. Local reports said the couple stayed at the Four Seasons hotel in Giza under false names, and Nile FM radio claimed they had slept outdoors in a tent on Christmas Eve, as do many tourists.
Last month in London, the couple dined together at The Ivy; partied at Annabel's, a private club; and later danced at the hot spot Elysium. Asked if they were involved, Farrell replied: "Angelina and I work together. Do you go out with people you work with?" Perhaps that's a yes.
For some women, the only reason to sit through all three installments of The Lord of the Rings is the virilest elf of all, Orlando Bloom. So it may come as a shock that, when he was but a lad, the now 26-year-old actor suffered from low elf-esteem. The problem was that Orlando bloomed. Big time. By his own estimation, "I was a porker," Bloom tells Scoop. At 9 "I broke my leg when I was skiing, and I had to wear a cast for a year," he says. "I sat at home really depressed because I couldn't play. I was eating biscuits and chocolate bars." And packing on the pounds. "I never really got back to my speed with sports [until the age of 16]," he says. And he had other problems. "I am dyslexic. I was teased about that because I couldn't spell quite properly."
Now that Bloom is a matinee idol, who stays in shape by snow-boarding and surfing, he still comes in for teasing—this time about his pretty-boy looks. "The hobbits kill me. Everyone does. My best mates rip at me all the time."
JENNIFER'S ART OF GIVING
What do you get for a guy who has everything—including Jennifer Aniston? If you're the Jennifer in question, and the guy is Brad Pitt, who turned 40 Dec. 18, you get him a silk screen of a film favorite, actor Steve McQueen. Aniston paid $5,000 for the 4 ft. by 12 ft. work by celebrity artist Russell Young based on a 1972 mug shot of McQueen. (Young, a former music video director, has also sold to Rosanna Arquette.) Aniston's Christmas gift to her husband was equally thoughtful: She ordered a custom-made watchband with a Rolex face from Red Monkey, a line popular with celebs.
Not that other high-profile spouses stinted on their holiday purchases. Nick Lachey presented Jessica Simpson with a Jacob & Co. 8-carat diamond bracelet. And David Beckham, the European soccer star, gave his wife, Victoria—the former Posh Spice—an unusual stocking stuffer: a $25,000 belly-button ring.
Life with father will certainly be interesting for Russell Crowe's new baby boy, Charles Spencer Crowe. He'll spend his first months at home in Australia in a nursery decorated by Dad and Mom, Danielle Spencer, 33, with a mural depicting fantasy characters from the Enid Blyton children's book The Folk of the Faraway Tree. "The nursery is insane; it's either going to scare the [expletive] out of him or intrigue him," Crowe told a BBC interviewer. The baby, born the evening of Dec. 21, arrived a few weeks early, weighing 6 lbs. 2 oz. The day after, Crowe, 39, rode his Harley Davidson, flanked by two limos, to buy gifts including scented candles and a picture frame.
Kate Winslet, 28, and director Sam Mendes, 38—like Crowe an Academy Award winner—welcomed 7 lbs. 13 oz. Joe Mendes into the brood Dec. 22 in New York City. Winslet also has a daughter, Mia, 3, by her first husband.
Rarely have the words "bad dog" seemed more appropriate than during a holiday visit by Britain's Princess Anne to her mother, Queen Elizabeth. No sooner had the doors to the Queen's Norfolk estate opened than one of Anne's English bull terriers charged at Pharos, one of the Queen's six beloved corgis, and chomped down hard on a hind leg, breaking it in three places. Pharos was put down the next day. "It's an upsetting incident," says a spokeswoman for the Queen, whom the press reported to be absolutely devastated. Last year the Princess was fined $885 after her dog Dotty bit two children in a Windsor park. Dotty received the initial blame for this latest incident, but seems to have won a reprieve when British papers reported on Dec. 30 that another of Anne's terriers, Florence, was actually the culprit. A formal complaint has not yet been filed against the terrier.
Taos the Season
The Taos Pueblo in New Mexico got a special visitor on Christmas Eve. In keeping with local tradition, Julia Roberts and husband Danny Moder, who live in the area, visited a friend's home in the historic adobe village. Roberts, says one local, brought a gift of homemade soap to her hostess.
Emma Thompson, recently seen in Love Actually and HBO's Angels in America, is fighting to save another project. Imagining Argentina, set in the '70s, when as many as 30,000 people were kidnapped and murdered by a military dictatorship, has not yet found a distributor. Thompson chatted with Scoop about the film.
We're sorry to hear you're a little under the weather.
I got the same thing [a sinus infection] last year doing Angels in America because I was hanging in the rafters [playing a suspended angel], and there was all this dust. It must have enjoyed its tenure in my sinuses.
What is it about Imagining Argentina that makes you want to fight for it?
I feel as though there's a conspiracy of silence about those years. I felt it was important to get into a dialogue about it and present the film in different arenas. We really ought to take a look at why, when innocent people were being dragged from their homes, there wasn't more fuss made.
Angelina Jolie's Beyond Borders didn't do well at the box office. Are studios hesitant to release a message movie?
I totally understand that. That's why I think it's important for the artist involved to take as much responsibility as they can.
Switching gears to Love Actually, would a British prime minister ever confront an American President the way Hugh Grant did with Billy Bob Thornton?
No, because the relationship with America is of great importance to this country. I know there is an awful lot of screeching about it lately, but that was mostly to do with the war in Iraq—which I oppose passionately.
You're in the next Harry Potter film, playing Professor Sibyll Trelawney. It must be a thrill for your 4-year-old daughter Gaia.
She's not old enough to see the film. But I knew that when she was old enough, if she found out I'd turned it down, she'd disown me as a mother. She'd say, "I can't believe you did that, and I'm never going to speak with you again."
ON THE BLOCK
BILLY'S BY THE BAY
PRICE: $4.9 million
PLACE: Shelter Island, N.Y.
SPECS: Billy Joel is movin' out of his Tudor-style home on Peconic Bay. Joel, 54, who bought the property two years ago to be near his boat-building business, found the location too isolated in the off-season and preferred the $22 million house he owns in Centre Island, not too far away.