You wouldn’t think it would be too much of a stretch for one gorgeous actress to play another, but one challenge that Kate Beckinsale faced portraying screen goddess Ava Gardner in The Aviator (opening Dec. 17) is the change in body image from Gardner’s era to now. “I think that the female body is definitely served up in a different way in the ’40s,” Beckinsale said recently. “It’s a different kind of sexuality. There’s not as much of their skin on show, that’s for sure.” Luckily, she had some help getting into it. “One of the things that was so great was that the costume designer was so attentive to the detail, down to the pantyhose and the underwear and the girdle and the pointy bra and every single thing that could possibly be authentic,” said Beckinsale. Still, for the preternaturally slim star, Gardner’s curves felt alien. “I had to gain some weight for this as well,” she said. “In the costumes I felt sort of great. On the weekends I felt like a fat Kate.”
Jamie Foxx and Jamie Lee Curtis share more than just their first names – both are also advocates for adoption, Foxx because he was adopted and Curtis because she is “the very privileged adopted mother of two children.” So it’s no wonder that both stars – along with Bruce Willis and Rene Russo – were on hand to host CBS’s A Home for the Holidays special (airing Dec. 22). The Ray star performed for the audience of adopted children and their families, as did Rod Stewart, Black Eyed Peas, Train, Kenny G and Chaka Khan, while Curtis, Russo and Willis told inspirational stories about adoption. As for the upcoming holidays, Curtis says she spends months picking out the perfect gifts. “I really try to get you exactly what you want, so I’m shattered (if) that thing that I crawled through glass to get didn’t elicit the ‘wow’ moment.” As for Curtis herself, she doesn’t have much on her wish list. “To quote Sinead O’Connor, ‘I do not want what I have not got,’ ” she said. “I have every material thing that I could ever want in the universe, and I have every emotional link that I’ve ever wanted, so I’m done. You can buy me the new Gwen Stefani CD, which I already have, or a new book or a piece of art, but I have been blessed way beyond what should be.”
Certainly fans of Ellen DeGeneres who are dedicated enough to see her daytime talk show in person are not going to miss a day – and those in her studio audience Monday are guaranteed to catch it every day from now on. That’s because as part of her “Twelve Days of Giveaways” holiday special, today’s audience members will be getting a TiVo DVR device and a lifetime membership to the service. And, just to make sure they’ll never miss another Ellen, they’ll also get a combo DVD/VHS system from Toshiba. Grand total in value: about $800. With 12 days of giveaways, 250 sets per day, DeGeneres will be giving away more than $2.5 million to guests (watch out, Oprah?). Not for nothing, though: Guests on the show are asked to bring something to contribute to the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots collection.
Caught in the Act
• Britney Spears, hubby Kevin Federline and mom Lynne Spears, at Cirque du Soleil’s new production KA at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Also at the show on a different night: Gloria Estefan with a group of eight, including her husband, Emilio Estefan. Estefan graciously signed autographs for fans in the lobby before the show.
• Brooke Shields, throwing the switch at the Broadway Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony in Times Square. Shields, who had 19-month-old daughter Rowan with her, is currently starring in the musical Wonderful Town.
• By NICK WHITE, AMY LONGSDORF, KIMBERLY LANSING and BRIANA HAAS