Vaughn, Stone identified as stars who are difficult to deal with

The Baltimore Sun

TELEVISION has brought back murder into the home - where it belongs," said filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock.

Speaking of murder, an informal panel of publishers, editors and public relations pawns voted recently on who the most impossible persons are in show business. This probably won't be printed anywhere but here, as these pros all have to stay in business.

But Numero Uno, at the top of the list, is the rather newish star, Vince Vaughn, he of the current Fred Claus. (This so-called comedy is about as funny as a lump of coal in one's stocking.) Insiders call the guy who emerged triumphant from The Wedding Crashers and from a failed romance with Jennifer Aniston "the most egotistical, the most difficult, the kind of person who calls at 3 a.m. to demand different things."

And who is his female equivalent? I was a tiny bit surprised when in unison came this reply - "Sharon Stone." Since she raises so much money for AIDS, I am reluctant to add her here, but I will - in case her detractors have a point.

No surprise

Why is everyone so surprised that the Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep, Robert Redford Lions for Lambs has tanked at the box office? We are bombarded 24/7 these days with similar political, international, terrorist-dominated, ethical arguments from newsprint and talk shows. We go to the movies these days to be mindless and entertained.

'Power struggle'

The writers' strike is one we can sympathize with providing we aren't show-biz management. But wasn't it ill-timed? TV is especially going to be hurt by it because audiences were fleeing already.

Here's Variety chief Peter Bart: "A behind-the-scenes power struggle rages over every form of our pop culture. The writers have more muscle in the theater, and directors in film, but it's unclear which talent constituency will win hegemony on the Web. The writers sense they're in danger of losing creative control (as they did in movies) and also finding themselves marginalized economically. Their fear is instinctual, subliminal and probably realistic."

He asks himself this final question: "Who will win?" Answer: "No one. What else is new?"

Here's a question from me. The Academy Awards are supposed to happen on Feb. 24. But how can they hold the Oscars if there are no writers? No self-respecting, or self-protective, actor would cross the inevitable picket line - not even to pick up an Oscar.

Maybe people will just settle down without show biz and start reading books again! Or maybe they'll come to some solution so that at least we can see the blooming Oscars and the ever-lasting absurdity - the red carpet.

Spotting 'Dexter'

Spotted at the still exclusive Waverly Inn - Michael C. Hall of Showtime's bloody, funny and intense show Dexter. He was dining with that network's honcho Matt Blank. If you haven't tuned in to Dexter, check it out.

Hall became well-known on Six Feet Under and now he plays a serial killer whose victims are others like him - a bad boy doing good deeds in a twisted way. This TV show is very hot with Hollywood stars.

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