January 19, 2004 12:00 PM


There have been reports of a falling out between Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Not so. They don’t see each other as much as they once did, but the former roommates remain close. In fact Damon is partly responsible for Affleck’s latest gig, Paycheck. Director John Woo initially approached Damon for the lead, but he passed, not wanting to do another amnesia-themed movie after The Bourne Identity. Damon liked the script so much, however, that he called Affleck and told him to pursue it. Still, he’s probably not looking for a thank-you note: Paycheck tanked with critics and audiences alike.


The Lord of the Rings has made Orlando Bloom a star, but since his dark hair is dyed blond in the trilogy, he can often elude detection. Such was the case recently in the Cayman Islands where Bloom was shooting Haven, a thriller with Bill Paxton. One local who didn’t recognize the actor started chatting him up in a bar and wondered if he’d been “lucky enough” to catch a glimpse of Paxton. Bloom said he had not but would keep an eye out. If his ego was bruised, his girlfriend Kate Bosworth (Blue Crush) was there to help restore his confidence. She visited him for the last week of shooting in December.


Bobby Brown is due in criminal court the week of Jan. 12 to answer battery charges that he allegedly left wife Whitney Houston with a cut lip and a bruised cheek following a Dec. 7 incident at their Alpharetta, Ga., home. Is the tempestuous couple also headed for divorce court? Although Houston spent Christmas and New Year’s at the couple’s New Jersey home while Brown remained behind in Georgia, a rep for the pair denies a split, contending Brown couldn’t leave the state for legal reasons and that Houston wanted to see her mom, Cissy. The R&B singer certainly wasn’t on his best behavior at a New Year’s concert in Atlanta. After he performed one song with his former group, New Edition, theater staff had to escort him off stage. Later at a party, Brown alleged that Houston was the one who struck him. “Totally untrue,” scoffed the rep.


Oscar talk isn’t the only buzz around Lost in Translation’s Scarlett Johansson. The 19-year-old ingenue has been keeping company with Angels in America star Patrick Wilson, 30. A source close to the actors (left), who are both nominated for Golden Globe awards, says “they’re dating, but not exclusively.”


Old pals BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN and TOM HANKS, with their families in tow, met up in Sun Valley, Idaho, to ski together over the holidays….

Blink-182 drummer TRAVIS BARKER asked former Miss USA SHANNA MOAKLER to marry him on Christmas Eve while the couple were inside the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland. Moakler, who also had a ring, proposed right back. They’re planning a Halloween wedding….

CALISTA FLOCKHART and HARRISON FORD vacationed over the holidays at the posh Esperanza Resort near Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where GWYNETH PALTROW and CHRIS MARTIN recently honeymooned.

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