In the new drama John Q., Denzel Washington and Kimberly Elise portray the parents of a 9-year-old boy (played by Daniel E. Smith) who is denied an emergency heart transplant. To bond as a family before filming began in Toronto last year, the threesome piled into a pickup truck for a day-trip to Niagara Falls. Apparently the actress took her role to heart. When they were cruising the falls in a boat, Smith asked Elise for his jacket. She jokingly told him, “Ask your dad,” confusing some Denzel fans within earshot, not to mention the man himself. When Washington, the longtime-married father of four, shot her a look, she said, “Okay, I won’t say that again!”

Washington’s costar in John Q., the very pregnant Anne Heche, turned up at the film’s L.A. premiere with husband Coley Laffoon. Heche, who is due any day now, told me that Laffoon’s mother and aunt threw her a baby shower “with the most incredible overflow of gifts.” About 35 close friends and family attended. Her favorite gift was a blue blanket and cap crocheted by a neighbor. Blue? Realizing she just might have revealed the baby’s sex, Heche gave a wide-eyed look to Laffoon before adding quickly, “Girls like blue too.”

Neighbors have seen a lot of activity lately at Michael Jordan’s $5.1 million, 25,000-sq.-ft. estate in Highland Park, outside Chicago. Maybe the superstar is planning to spend more time at his suburban digs now that he and his wife, Juanita, are attempting to reconcile. A building permit application reveals that Jordan is building an underground basketball court at a cost of $2.3 million. I wonder what that does to the home’s resale value?

In other real estate news involving Chicago icons, Oprah Winfrey recently spent some quiet time at her $50 million, 42-acre retreat in Montecito, Calif., but she didn’t go unnoticed. When two local women spotted her antique shopping at Christine Schell Fine Objects (co-owned by English funnyman John Cleese), they rushed into the store and invited the talk show host to the next reading at their book club. Winfrey politely declined, informing them that she doesn’t spend a lot of time in Montecito. Besides, doesn’t she have her own book club?

David Letterman had Cabin Boy. Jay Leno had American Hot Wax. For Craig Kilborn, it’s Old School. The host of CBS’s Late Late Show is currently shooting his five-scene role as a philandering boyfriend in the upcoming comedy, which stars Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell and Luke Wilson. Kilborn, who has never acted before, tells me he didn’t prepare for the part because he “didn’t want to steal any scenes from the high-priced talent.” He might even be a guest on his own show when the film comes out later this year, interviewing himself via a split screen. The question the single Kilborn most wants to ask is, “Why did they think you were so right for the part?”

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