When we heard Madonna was going to show up at a party for Ashton and Demi at L.A. hotspot Dolce on Tuesday night, and that she might even sing a special song for them, we hightailed it right on over there, expecting some high-wattage celebrity revelry. Wouldn’t you? Well, no such luck. Oh, they were there all right, but the mood behind the glass walls of the “private room” where they gathered for dinner with a group at 10:30 was decidedly somber. “Everyone looked serious and intense,” said an observer. “It didn’t feel like a party at all.” Though one bartender told us it was a birthday party, another intimated that the gathering was about Kabbalah. When we asked for more info, he said, “Well, Kabbalah is a Hollywood religion. It’s sort of like Scientology meets Judaism.”
He plays the thieving, murderous owner of a sleazy New Jersey strip joint, but somehow Steven Van Zandt’s Sopranos character, Silvio Dante, still seemed kind of, well, lovable, until he whacked Mob moll Adriana (played by Drea de Matteo) last week. And believe us – he is feeling it from his previously adoring public. At a recent staff meeting at Sirius Satellite Radio (where Van Zandt records music show Little Steven’s Underground Garage and a new talk program called The Wiseguy Show, featuring past and present Sopranos cast members), “We all booed him,” says Sirius rep Elise Brown. “He said, ‘I know, I know, I’m the most hated guy on the planet.’ Nobody had to say a word. No one had to say ‘Adriana.’ No one had to say Sopranos. We just booed him and he knew immediately what we were referring to.”
So, how tough was it to perform said whacking? “Very difficult,” Van Zandt told us after wrapping a Wiseguy Show taping last week. “If I continue acting and do a hundred movies, I don’t think I’ll do anything more difficult than that scene. The subtleties that went on in the car, and to actually put your hands on a girl and manhandle a girl like that, is extremely difficult for me. That’s why you call it acting. You gotta be in that character’s frame of mind and in that moment and just do it. Extremely difficult.”
To help relieve the tension, the Sopranos cast has a, um, post-whacking tradition, says Steve Schirripa, who plays Bobby “Bacala” on the hit show. “We usually have a dinner on Mulberry Street (in New York’s Little Italy neighborhood), (but) we haven’t had (de Matteo’s) yet,” Schirripa tells us. “What happened is that we had a bunch of the killing dinners down there and the press got wind of it and we had to stop, because they knew someone was going to get killed. So now we do it after the show airs. So now we’ll have her dinner at Il Cortile (on Mulberry Street).” The Sopranos’ season finale airs Sunday night on HBO.
Caught in the Act
• Sarah Michelle Gellar, walking with an unidentified woman in midtown Manhattan on Wednesday afternoon.
• Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn and Christopher Walken, leaving the Tidewater Inn in Easton, Md., before the Memorial Day eve party they threw for the cast and crew of their movie, The Wedding Crashers, got off the ground. Though the stars left, citing early wake-up calls, many of the 150 cast and crew stuck around, treating hotel employees to dinner and dancing before eventually throwing one another in the pool.
• So was it really an early call that sent Vaughn and Wilson home, or were they tired from the night before? Vaughn had hosted “The Cork,” a comedy fund-raiser at Dewey Beach hotspot Bottle & Cork, to benefit Army Emergency Relief. He flew in comedians Ahmed Ahmed, Sebastian and Brett Ernst, and even got onstage himself for a couple of skits with fellow Swingers star Jon Favreau. After the show, Vaughn, Favreau and Wilson made the rounds of the local bars, according to Bottle & Cork owner Alexander Pires.
• Mariah Carey, partying in Cancun at All-Star Fiesta with basketball phenom Lebron James and record producer (and Janet Jackson fiancé) Jermaine Dupri. The weekend of rap at the beach included acts Bonecrusher, Lil’ John & the Eastside Boyz and YoungBloodz. “It’s partying, partying all the time here,” said Dupri, who attended without Janet and co-hosted the affair with LL Cool J.
• By ZORIANNA KIT, DIANE HERBST, SERENA KAPPES, LISA INGRASSIA and JOHN MOODY