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Hugh and Ladylove Play It Cool

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Sexy couple Hugh Grant and heiress Jemima Khan continued their game of hide-and-seek with the press at CNN’s Election 2004 party at London’s National Portrait Gallery on Tuesday night. The couple, dating for several months, arrived at the steps of the gallery, spotted photographers and quickly split up so as not to appear in the same frame. When they arrived in one of the main rooms, they mingled individually. “They had mutual friends, but they never interacted,” says a spy. “They were never ever closer than a meter together. They played it very cool. There were no loving glances across the room. They even walked out separately.” For his part, Grant chatted with his fellow Bridget Jones star Renee Zellweger and legendary BBC interviewer Sir David Frost. Neither Grant nor Khan (daughter of the late French-British billionaire entrepreneur Sir James Goldsmith) seemed too concerned about the election results playing on the TV screens scattered about the room, but Zellweger, who attended with her parents, visibly perked up when it seemed Sen. John Kerry was doing well and even watched some of the coverage in a special “quiet” room.

Election, Part II
On the Canadian set of New Line’s film A History of Violence (due next year), the cast and crew refused to miss out on Election Day fanfare just because they were north of the border. Viggo Mortensen helped set up a mock voting booth, while producer Chris Bender lent his dog, Rosie, to act as the “official” guard to secure it. “Viggo even turned his trailer into campaign headquarters,” says assistant producer Neal Flaherty. The turnout of the mock ballots, not surprisingly, didn’t quite line up with the rest of the country, according to an on-set source, who reveals that Kerry took the popular vote in a landslide with the write-in candidate, Rosie (yep, the dog), pulling up second place.

Free Association
We asked Less Than Perfect star Sara Rue for her quick takes on a few hot topics:
President Bush in a second term: “Deep sigh and tears. I couldn’t believe it. Quite honestly, I couldn’t believe the popular vote. I had such high hopes for a fresh start.”
The O.C.’s new season: “The what? All I know is that they’re young and they’re hot, but after watching every season of (Beverly Hills) 90210 I don’t need to watch The O.C.
Martha Stewart at Camp Cupcake: “I feel bad for Martha Stewart – of all people to be in prison! It just seems so wrong. I know what a fashionista she is, and to have to wear the same outfit every day must be killing her.”
Pregnant Julia Roberts on bed rest: “I love Julia Roberts! I’m so excited that she’s going to be a mom. I’m sure she’ll be fine – she was the busiest woman in Hollywood for awhile, I’m sure she could use the downtime.”
Lip-synching on Saturday Night Live: “This is what happens when you try to make a singer and a celebrity out of someone who probably shouldn’t be one.”
Right now I’m reading …:Enduring Love (by Ian McEwan). It’s wonderful!”
Favorite TV show:Less Than Perfect, of course! Oh, that I’m not in? Survivor.
Rue will appear next year with Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph in an as-yet-unnamed comedy by writer-actor-director Mike Judge (Office Space).

With Honors
Iranian actress Shohreh Aghdashloo (House of Sand and Fog) took time off from filming the FOX series 24 in Los Angeles to honor fellow countrywoman Mehrangiz Kar at the recent Human Rights First annual dinner in Manhattan. “I love my work on 24 so much,” Aghdashloo tells us. “I was afraid my bosses wouldn’t let me take off time to attend the dinner. But then I thought, ‘I’m sure they have a heart.’ ” Aghdashloo, who left Iran in 1979 as Ayatollah Khomeini came to power and eventually settled in L.A., has long admired Kar, a writer and lawyer imprisoned by the Islamic government in 2000 for advocating change. “She is a true believer in justice for all,” Aghdashloo said of Kar as she presented her with the award. “Although she was persecuted in Iran, she never gave up defending women’s rights.”