What a month for Diahann Carroll, with USA’s “White Collar” starting its second season amid strong ratings and critical kudos — even as she launches her “The Lady…The Music…The Legend.” PBS special with its debut airing set for July 31 on Los Angeles’ station KCET. And the ever-glamorous Diahann turns 75 on Saturday (7/17).
Her diamond birthday celebration “will be small, but special,” she says.
Diahann tells us she’ll be traveling to support of some of the PBS pledge drives to which her “The Lady…” one-woman show is being attached this summer (check local listings), but doesn’t know her itinerary as of yet.
“The hardest part was just surviving it, putting it on its feet,” she says, referring to the special, filmed live this past Spring as a benefit for the Annenberg Theater at The Palm Springs Art Museum. “We misjudged and didn’t feel that it was going to be as large a project as it became. I’ve never taken so many trips back and forth to Palm Springs in so short a time.”
Diahann has just returned from a trip to New York, where she filmed two episodes of “White Collar” as June — a.k.a. she who has the handsome ex-con Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) staying at her swanky Manhattan pad in the USA hit.
“I’ll go back in New York in August to shoot maybe two more,” says the Tony-winning Broadway veteran, who loves to take in shows whenever she visits her old stamping grounds. She does not, however, see herself returning to the Great White Way.
“It would be great fun. I admire Angela Lansbury, but I don’t look forward to eight performances a week. I guess it’s all those years of performing in Vegas, Tahoe and Reno doing two shows a night – some hotels have three shows a night. That really takes a toll on the body, and you feel it later. My last dangerous hurrah was doing ‘Sunset Boulevard’ in Canada, when I broke my fibula. I’m absolutely fine now, but it took a long time to heal and I’m in no mood to face anything like that again.”
This year, “While I was recuperating from the rigors of doing the show in Palm Springs, I was reading ‘White Collar’ scripts. I think my horizon at the moment is perfect.” Happy Birthday, Diahann.
THE BIG SCREEN SCENE: Sean Astin reports he’s now looking at a November production start for his and wife Christine Harrell’s labor of love movie project, “Number the Stars.” They wrote the screenplay based on Lois Lowry’s beloved Newbery-winning young readers’ book about two 10-year-old girls who are best friends – one Jewish and one Lutheran – in 1943 Denmark, when Danes launched a massive flotilla to evacuate Jews ahead of the Nazis.
Sean, who continues to act while pressing forward with the movie, admits, “We wanted to be shooting in August, but that’s not going to be possible. We’re doing it — like Frank Sinatra said — we’re doing it ‘My Way.’ We may never get it done, but we’re not getting it done my way,” adds Sean with a laugh.
He’s been speaking to potential investors at every opportunity, including his recent trek to Las Vegas to participate in a charity poker tourney. When it comes to financing, he’s found, “Building a movie is like building a company.”
MEDICATION CAN WORK WONDERS: It looks like about the only way for Mel Gibson to get back in the public’s and industry’s good graces at this point – not to mention surmounting law enforcement issues — would be for him to turn up in treatment. Serious treatment. His out-of-control, racist, anti-Semitic-misogynistic rants could certainly pass for those of someone afflicted with a mental disorder. In fact, he sounds like someone who needs help.
CASTING CORNER: While “Grey Gardens” director Michael Sucsy fine tunes the script for his “The Vow” feature that rolls in August, casting is underway for the family members of Rachel McAdams’ character in the drawn-from-real-life drama. McAdams and Channing Tatum play the madly-in-love newlyweds whose world is torn apart when they get into a horrific car crash that leaves her with amnesia. She can remember her mother, father, brother, sister, etc., but not her husband – and finds it more comfortable to be back with her conservative, conformist clan than this stranger with whom she seems to have nothing in common. Why did she leave home in the first place? Will her soulmate manage to reconnect with her? We’ll have to wait until next year to find out.