People Staff
June 04, 2004 06:00 AM

While making the Richard Linklater film A Scanner Darkly, a bearded Keanu Reeves has been busily taking in Austin’s nightlife. One favorite haunt has proved to be local eatery La Traviata, where he dined Tuesday night on a spicy shrimp and pasta dish and champagne before sharing a lemon tart with his female companion. (After dinner he laid out a platinum American Express card, though they split the tab.) The Matrix star, 39, apparently loves this pasta dish – he’s ordered it several times at the cozy bistro, we’re told. Recently, a group of teenage girls celebrating a friend’s birthday there tried not to stare at Reeves – but the soft-spoken star stopped by their table anyway on his way out and congratulated the guest of honor. Unfortunately, the locals weren’t so hospitable on a different night at the popular Dog & Duck Pub – Reeves got up and left when an inebriated patron began heckling him.

Acting: The Dogg Method
Apparently rapper Snoop Dogg isn’t satisfied with the mostly supporting roles he’s had in more than 15 movies. “I want to be the star – I don’t want to be the costar. I’m trying to become the black Tom Cruise,” says Snoop, 32, currently starring in Soul Plane. “Tom Cruise don’t sit back and ask. He just tells the (studios) what he wants and they get it done.” A fair point. As far as what he’ll do for his craft, Snoop has his limits: “I’d gain weight, but I’d never cut my hair, because James Brown told me, ‘Snoopy, your hair is your strength.’ ” Would you argue with James Brown? Neither would we.

Idol Worship
As challenging as life can be for American Idol-ers, they know they can count on at least one person for support. No, not Simon. “They’re getting ready to launch their tour, so I’ll be going out and visiting them on the road,” perky panelist Paula Abdul tells us. “I always stay in touch with the Idol kids, and they always know that in me they have someone that is there to be their friend and help them through the tough times.” The tour, which features Season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino, runner-up Diana DeGarmo and finalists La Toya London, Jon Peter Lewis, Jennifer Hudson, among others, kicks off July 14 in Salt Lake City.

Caught in the Act
Spotted recently:
Johnny Knoxville, Scott Speedman, Aimee Osbourne, Oliver Hudson and The O.C.’s Samaire Armstrong, at L.A. club Guy’s, celebrating an unidentified friend’s birthday.

• Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky and his wife, actress Janet Jones, at The Coffee Bean in Malibu.

Pamela Anderson, tooling around L.A. in a brand-new red Ferrari.


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