Tom Cunneff
June 24, 2002 12:00 PM

When was the last time Winona Ryder costarred in a movie without appearing on any of the promotional posters? Never, according to her rep. That changed with her latest project, Mr. Deeds, the comedy starring Adam Sandler opening June 28. Given the beating her image has taken in the wake of shoplifting charges, it seems likely that she’s purposely missing from the poster, but a Columbia Pictures spokeswoman says the artwork was created before her arrest last December. “While that may be true, I hear that the studio wished she had just pleaded guilty and put the ordeal behind her instead of dragging it on. In an ironic coda, John Turturro, who plays Sandler’s butler, isn’t featured on the poster, either. Columbia took him off because they felt he looked too young and replaced him with an older, more distinguished-looking man who doesn’t appear in the movie at all.

Jeff Bridges and his wife, Sue, celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on June 5 with a four-day stay at the Ventana Inn & Spa, a secluded spot on the Big Sur Coast near Carmel that’s a favorite with celebs. The couple, who have three girls and live in Santa Barbara, are a Hollywood rarity. “We’re more in love than ever and looking forward to the next 25,” Bridges tells me.

A kiss between Sarah Michelle Gellar and Linda Cardellini was cut from the big-screen version of Scooby-Doo, opening June 14. Actually there’s nothing unusual about Gellar, who plays Daphne to Cardellini’s Velma, sharing a same-sex smooch: She won Best Kiss at the 2000 MTV Movie Awards for her lip lock with Selma Blair in Cruel Intentions. But the filmmakers felt the scene was out of place in a family flick even though the kiss had no romantic meaning and is done to get their souls back from each other. The in-joke, of course, has always been that Velma is gay, but Gellar thought the buss should have stayed. “This wasn’t Velma coming out of the closet,” she tells us.

Greg Kinnear just returned from his first African safari although the only thing he shot was a camera. The actor was there to tape an appearance on the premiere episode of The New American Sportsman, which makes its debut on ESPN in September. It’s an updated version of the original series that aired on ABC from 1965-84. While his wife, Helen, stayed home to attend a friend’s 40th-birthday parry, Kinnear and a college buddy spent five days at the Phinda game reserve in South Africa. The show’s producer Bud Morgan tells me Kinnear came within 10 feet of a cheetah and 30 yards of a herd of volatile Cape buffalo. He also helped a veterinarian dart and tag a rhinoceros. He didn’t have to rough it, though, by camping in the bush. Kinnear stayed at an upscale Phinda lodge. An armed guard did have to escort him to his room each night, however.

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