Daily Insider for March 2, 2004

02/27/2004 12:00PM

March 2, 2004
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
What was one of the biggest challenges for actress Scarlett Johansson while filming Lost in Translation: Creating chemistry with the much older Bill Murray? Following Sofia Coppola's ethereal direction? Nope, it was the food. Shooting in Japan, Johansson quickly got sick of raw fish. "I ate a lot of these big noodles, so I was bloated all the time," she recalls. "You just can't eat sushi all day, so I would go in between the udon (noodles) and McDonalds." When she's not traveling or on a set, native New Yorker Johansson admits, "I am eating a lot of pizza."

SWEET BABY JAMES
Sarah Jessica Parker and hubby Matthew Broderick's son is 16 months old, but they still differ on what they call him. "We're not totally settled on that," Broderick tells us. "Usually (Sarah) calls him James Wilkie. Sometimes it's James. Sometimes it's Jimmy." But the tot, whose middle name is in honor of writer Wilkie Collins, is certain about at least one thing: "He likes the Wiggles – these Australian guys who wear Star Trek uniforms and sing and walk around in a computer world," says Broderick. "It's a TV show. And he loves it."

Speaking of Sarah Jessica's son, he has picked up at least one habit from Cynthia Nixon's 16-month-old, Charlie. "My baby is a real thumb-sucker," admits Nixon, "and James wasn't so much at the beginning. And they were playing one day when they were little. Charlie was sucking his thumb and James was kind of fascinated. So he pulled Charlie's thumb out of his mouth and put it in his own mouth. And Sarah said after that James realized, 'Wow, this is an option.' "

PLAYING A NEW ROLE
Actor Joe Pantoliano may have lost his head – literally – as Ralph Cifaretto on The Sopranos last season, but he's got his head on straight when it comes to producing. He recently sold Second Best, in which he starred as well as produced, to independent film company Dream Entertainment. Costarring Jennifer Tilly (Pantoliano's castmate in 1996's Bound), Peter Gerety, Bronson Pinchot and Paulina Porizkova, the film, which debuted at Sundance in January, tells the tale of a group of "regular guys" in a New Jersey neighborhood who are jealous of their pal, a successful Hollywood producer. "I've associate-produced and executive-produced before. This is the first thing where I've got a full producer credit," Pantoliano tells us. "I like producing. When you're a part of the management team, then your opinion has a little bit more value. Otherwise, depending on who you're working with, you're just an a--hole actor with an opinion."

Reported by: REBECCA PALEY, NATASHA STOYNOFF and MARK DAGOSTINO

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