OH, NO! We talk all the time about Lindsay Lohan. There's going to be none of that. He's gonna stay normal."
That's what Sharon Art, the strikingly attractive mother of 8-year-old actor Nicholas Art, said while watching her adorable boy sign autographs at Swifty's on Monday night. She added, "We'd rather he become George Clooney."
Nicholas is the child who steals Scarlett Johansson's heart in the film version of The Nanny Diaries based on Emma Mclaughlin and Nicola Kraus' best-seller, about the harrowing experience of an Upper East Side nanny.
Harvey Weinstein, whose company is releasing the film, hosted a screening and presided over a smallish dinner afterward. Harvey told the select audience that Miss Johansson was filming her latest Woody Allen opus in Madrid. But the actress sent word that her Nanny directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini were "her favorites." Harvey wisecracked, "That's gonna get her in trouble with Woody!" (Not likely. Scarlett is Woody's beloved new muse. He adores her.)
Other Nanny cast members were on hand, including Laura Linney who plays the employer from hell, Alicia Keys as Scarlett's best friend and Donna Murphy, who plays Scarlett's mom, appalled that her intelligent daughter is nannying. But young Mr. Art got the lion's share of attention.
And what of the movie? Well, it's one of those New York-based films that make you fall in love with the city all over again. If you've read the book, you know the plot - it's The Devil Wears Prada with kids. And it is more than a little formulaic. But the performances make it work in spades.
Miss Johansson is almost too convincing as a young woman who feels she can't live up to what is expected of her, and falls into her situation, caring for a neglected child. She is so repressed and inarticulate you want to reach right into the screen, slap her and shout, "Snap out of it!" No sex-bomb here, Scarlett communicates a drab insecurity that is startling.
Linney as the fearsome "Mrs. X" is luminous. This great undersung actor does what few others could do - she gives striking humanity to a character who on paper is simply a monster of selfishness. Paul Giamatti is appropriately loathsome as her ruthlessly unfaithful, emotionally distant husband.
The party was studded with tony celebs and eager press - but I found myself chatting up a delightful semi-unknown. She is former big-time fashion model, now aspiring actress, Emily Sandberg. Emily looks like a cross between Sigourney Weaver and Charlotte Rampling. She arrived alone, and though she said she was nervous, you'd never have known it. She was full of fun, and has a great sense of humor.
Emily is married to Gary Gold, a musician and producer. (He is working with Smoky Robinson right now.) I said, "You know, Emily Gold sounds good, and that 'Emily Gold' would be great in all those Variety headlines. 'Emily's Gold at the Box-Office,' 'Gold-en Girl on the Rise' and 'Gold Glitters.'"
She laughed raucously: "Yeah, but what about the downside: 'Gold Loses Luster,' 'Gold Standard Down' and 'No Karats in This Gold.'"
Emily Gold. Remember the name.
Tribune Media Services