Daily Insider for March 23, 2004

03/23/2004 AT 12:54 PM EST

March 23, 2004
ASPIRING FOR A FIRING?
Just how popular is The Apprentice? The show hasn't ended yet (the finale is April 15), but already the frenzy is on for Apprentice 2 hopefuls. "We're up to 750,000 applications," star and co-producer Donald Trump tells us. "In Los Angeles, they had four football fields loaded with people coming to apply. ... I think we'll break a million."

CLOWNING AROUND
Jersey Girl doesn't open until Friday, but already 7-year-old Raquel Castro, who plays Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez's daughter, is beginning to get star treatment. At a private party before the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus in New York during the weekend, she was surrounded by juggling clowns and acrobats in bright-yellow spandex outfits – but she seemed more wowed by the array of video games in the lounge. "I've got to go ask my dad for some quarters!" Castro yelled as she ran off to raid her father's pockets. Among the other stars who turned up for the festivities: Christie Brinkley, with her kids; Third Watch star Nia Long, with her son and mom, carrying a giant box of popcorn and treats from the kid-friendly buffet; and Soon-Yi Previn (a.k.a. Mrs. Woody Allen), trying to get away from the clowns. "Her kids were petrified!" says one witness. "They would not stop screaming if the clowns came too close."

CAUGHT IN THE ACT
Recently spotted:
Mandy Moore, strolling along Fifth Avenue in New York's Chelsea neighborhood. She's in town filming John Turturro's Romance & Cigarettes.

Elton John, in a black tracksuit with tinted glasses, dining at Mr. Chow in L.A. with an unidentified woman and gentleman. Elton paid the tab.

Jared Leto and a bearded Mark Wahlberg, at L.A. nightspot Concorde. Also there the same night were Scarlett Johansson, Rachel Hunter, Hugh Hefner and his bevy of blondes, and Michelle Rodriguez.

Lara Flynn Boyle and Billy Baldwin, celebrating a friend's birthday at L.A. restaurant Il Sole. Baldwin played wife Chynna Phillips's new CD at the end of the night.

Reported by: NATASHA STOYNOFF, MARK DAGOSTINO, LUCY MAHER and SEAN DALY

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