By Tom Cunneff
September 02, 2002 12:00 PM

On Aug. 16 Madonna and her director husband, Guy Ritchie, threw a party at their L.A. home to celebrate her 44th birthday. The theme for the soiree: geisha-a-go-go. Despite having dressed up as a Japanese courtesan for her 1999 video “Nothing Really Matters,” Madonna still didn’t have the right outfit for the bash and had a local designer custom-make a new geisha gown. The birthday girl cut into a macrobiotic cake and then treated her guests, including Demi Moore, to a screening of Swept Away, Ritchie’s new film that stars Madonna and opens Oct. 11. Afterward the whole gang danced late into the night.

You’d think that when Bruce Springsteen checks into a hotel, all he’d have to do is sign in as the Boss. However, I hear that when the rocker goes on the road, he registers as Dirk Diggler. Diggler, as you’ll recall, was the name of the well-endowed porn star played by Mark Wahlberg in 1997’s Boogie Nights. As it so happens, Wahlberg was at Springsteen’s Aug. 18 Las Vegas concert. “I’ve heard a lot of celebrities use that name,” Wahlberg told me at the Hard Rock Hotel’s pre-concert party. He pointed out, however, that he isn’t one of them.

Think of Blue Crush and you think of rowdy surfer girls tackling big waves. But, ironically, the surfer seen in the film’s climactic surfing competition scene is actually a man. Pro Noah Johnson had to fill in for Crush star Kate Bosworth (see story, p. 78) after her original double, Rochelle Ballard, got hurt during filming. Johnson had to wear a wig and bikini and shave his legs for the shots. (The wig ended up becoming the most painful accessory. Every time Johnson went underwater, the wig’s pins yanked his hair.) Don’t look too hard for Johnson in the movie, though: Filmmakers decided to digitally replace him with Bosworth, and all that’s left in the final print are his feet.

During the making of Bringing Down the House, a recently wrapped comedy about an uptight lawyer, Steve Martin kept the cast and crew entertained in between shots by playing the banjo. So, at the wrap party, his costar Queen Latifah presented him with a $5,000 Gibson banjo. Deadpans Martin: “In return I gave her a chintzy silver frame with our picture in it. But I also wrote her a nice note that might do well on eBay.”

Clint Eastwood may be 72, but he’s still got young reflexes. During the filming of Blood Work, Eastwood’s new thriller, he and costar Jeff Daniels were driving through the California desert while a cameraman sat in the back setting up a shot. But when Daniels, who was at the wheel, began adjusting the rearview mirror, the car drifted into the wrong lane. Eastwood reached over and grabbed the wheel, steering them out of the way of an oncoming 18-wheeler. The typically laconic Eastwood’s comment afterward: “That was close.”