Actor-director Vincent Gallo says he’s certain that Sharon Stone won’t remember the time they met, several years ago, at Chasen’s restaurant in Los Angeles because, he said, she was preoccupied, “staring at herself.”
Ms. Stone may soon have a difficult time forgetting Mr. Gallo, however, now that the outspoken New Yorker has branded her a “filthy slut cunt plagiarist.”
Mr. Gallo’s anger and allegations stem from an interview that Ms. Stone conducted with herself that appears in the February issue of Harper’s Bazaar . The actor, who has starred in the films Palookaville and The Funeral and recently wrote, directed and acted in Buffalo 66 , claimed that Ms. Stone filched the concept from his own self-interview that appeared in the pages of the Beastie Boys’ ‘zine Grand Royal in June 1997.
Mr. Gallo is not alleging that Ms. Stone cribbed his word choice. Indeed, the two articles read very differently, with one interesting exception. Both self-interviews take place at the Manhattan restaurant Petrossian. For Mr. Gallo, this is a smoking gun. Though Ms. Stone’s publicist, Cindi Berger, told The Transom that the actress goes to Petrossian “all the time,” Mr. Gallo said that when he’s in town, he’s gone there practically “every day” for the last six years and “I’ve never seen her, ever.” (A source at the restaurant, who requested anonymity, said that he recognized Mr. Gallo’s name from the reservation book and knew that Ms. Stone had visited Petrossian, but said he did not know whether either was a frequent customer.)
Mr. Gallo’s real beef, though, is with what he claims is the theft of his concept. “The only problem,” he said, is that Ms. Stone is “not bright or clever enough to take my concept or my article and make it either more interesting or to appear somewhat original. Instead, she comes on as a direct rip-off in the beginning and then fades away into her own self-glorifying, petty little article.”
In the opening of his piece, Mr. Gallo wrote: ” Grand Royal magazine had asked me to interview Vincent Gallo 10 months ago. Of course I said Yes. As a matter of fact, I think I shit my pants, I was so excited. Imagine, little old me, the great Vincent Gallo, getting to interview him, oh my God, the great Vincent Gallo. However, tracking down the elusive, mysterious, handsome workaholic superstar was not that easy. Neither one of us would make time for the other. We’re both so damn busy. Chicks and stuff, you know. And revenge.”
In her auto-profile, Ms. Stone visited some of the same territory. Instead of exhibiting the hefty attitude of an up-and-comer, however, she took the more public-relations-wise tack of displaying a demure, insecure alter ego beneath her celluloid bitchy sex-goddess persona.
“Will she be difficult? They say she is. I bet she’s just confused,” Ms. Stone wrote in Harper’s Bazaar . “Will she be tall? Thin? Fit? I hate that endless need to be in better shape than every other 40-year-old. She should relax a little, take a load off, slow the ride down, wear flats. Even her shoes have attitude.” Later, Ms. Stone-as-interviewer noted: “Still, there’s something to be said for always getting the best table and the best parking spot. I wonder what it’s like to be Sharon Stone?
“And then I admit the horrible, wonderful fact: I am.”
The two self-interviewers also devote some space to clothes, again as a way of illustrating their personalities. Once again, Ms. Stone’s togs are low-key-“old leather pants, black sweater, black jacket, black boots-still stuck in the 60’s.” Mr. Gallo, on the other hand, sounds like he’s been possessed by the spirit of Huggy Bear in his “light-pink leather suit that had airbrushed flames all over, and engraved into the leather were flowers, hearts and bunnies. He made it himself.”
Mr. Gallo said that there was a definite purpose to interviewing himself. “The purpose was to be able to boldly control the questions and answers of an interview and to make extreme, bold references to people I didn’t like, or who had, in a kind of slighted way, character-assassinated me behind my back.”
Mr. Gallo spent many column inches taking shots at, among others, artist David Salle, whom he calls “the TriBeCa Gimp”; actor Tim Roth, who is slagged as that “filthy no-talent mini-dwarf Brit”; Ann Magnuson, who’s given the title “performance grandmother hag”; Boogie Nights director Paul (“I Can’t Direct But, Boy, Can I Brown-Nose”) Anderson; actress Kelly Lynch, whom he called the “queen member of the lucky club.”
Ms. Lynch may have been dethroned, for Mr. Gallo told The Transom that Ms. Stone is the “blond queen member” of the lucky club.
Mr. Gallo enjoys a reputation for twitting the filmmaking establishment. At this year’s Sundance festival, where Buffalo 66 was screened, he ruffled some feathers when he responded to a remark that directors were being treated like rock stars by saying, “I am a rock star. This festival is a step down for me. I’d rather be in Cannes.”
Ms. Stone did not follow Mr. Gallo into payback territory in her Harper’s Bazaar piece. However, her spokesman, Ms. Berger, called Mr. Gallo’s claims that the actress copycatted him “ridiculous.” She said that she had spoken to Harper’s Bazaar “ages ago” about this project, at least since “last May.”
A letter from Mr. Gallo reprinted at the top of his Grand Royal piece is dated Feb. 11, 1997. Mr. Gallo said that’s the date he turned in his piece. He said that his self-interview was also reprinted in Arena magazine. Attempts to contact Harper’s Bazaar editor Maggie Buckley by phone went unanswered.
Mr. Gallo said that since the issue of Harper’s came out, “150,000 people have called me about it,” saying, “Oh, Vincent, wait till you see Harper’s Bazaar and the Sharon Stone article.”
“I mean, I’m plagiarized daily by the 10 clowns who are bad imitations of me,” said Mr. Gallo. “My own friends, who can’t even come up with their own phrases.” This, he could allow. But when it comes to Ms. Stone, he added: “There’s something about her self-centered evil.”
Deconstructing Woody’s Documentary
When Woody Allen directs a picture for his longtime producer Jean Doumanian, he gets final cut. When another filmmaker makes a documentary about Mr. Allen for that same producer, things happen a little differently.
Back when Ms. Doumanian and Mr. Allen’s sister Letty Aronson began looking for a director to document Mr. Allen and his jazz band as they toured Europe, they talked with Terry Zwigoff, who had artfully captured on film another eccentric, comic book artist Robert Crumb, in the 1994 documentary, Crumb .
Mr. Zwigoff eventually dropped out of the running, and sources familiar with the situation said that one of the reasons he did was that Mr. Allen’s producer would not give him final cut of the documentary.
Mr. Allen and company eventually settled on Harlan County U.S.A. director Barbara Kopple, but as Ms. Aronson confirmed to The Transom, Ms. Kopple technically did not get final cut, either. “It’s not that we, meaning Jean Doumanian Productions, wanted final cut,” Ms. Aronson explained. “But we, as an entity which raises money [to produce films], don’t give anyone final cut, except for Woody.… We have to answer to investors.”
That said, Ms. Aronson added that Ms. Kopple’s film about Mr. Allen, Wild Man Blues , which Fine Line Pictures plans to release in the spring, is essentially Ms. Kopple’s cut. She said that after Ms. Kopple screened a rough version for her and Ms. Doumanian, “our only suggestions were in terms of places where we thought it was a little slow.” She said that Ms. Kopple did make some changes based on their feedback. Still, she said: “This is truly Barbara’s film.”
Ms. Kopple told The Transom that the question of final cut “was never even discussed.” She said that Mr. Allen told her that “he would just want to look at the music [featured in the documentary]. The talking and the documentary he didn’t care about.” She added that Mr. Allen did make some “minute” adjustments to the music “that were very good.”
Reached for comment, Mr. Zwigoff said only that there were “a number of things that … didn’t make sense to do it.” Mr. Zwigoff said he was most interested in recording the way people around Mr. Allen reacted to his fame. But, he added, “I realized that he’d done things like that in his films … in a much deeper and more subtle and artistic fashion than I’d ever be able to do in a documentary.”
Good Apartment Hunting
Eccentric publishing mogul Owen Lipstein has been rolling snake eyes in the magazine game lately, but if he plays his cards right, he just might be able to pull off a plum real estate deal with a celebrity .
For the last three months, Mr. Lipstein has been renting his Greenwich Village penthouse loft to actor Matt Damon while the Vanity Fair cover boy is in town filming Rounders . In the film, Mr. Damon plays a card shark fending off loan sharks.
Now, though Mr. Lipstein denied it, sources familiar with the situation told The Transom that the former editor at Sussex Publishers Inc.-home to Psychology Today, Mother Earth News and the late Spy magazine-has said that he’s trying to sell the place to the Good Will Hunting star.
Sources who have seen Mr. Lipstein’s loft, at 377 West 11th Street, say that it is “huge” and decorated in an exaggerated Southwestern motif: livestock skulls, cowboy bric-a-brac and “animal rugs which stank like the animals they used to be,” according to one witness who’d sniffed around the place. In comparison, real estate sources said that a similar apartment in the same building (where screenwriter Paul Rudnick and actor Gregory Hines also live) and on the same floor as Mr. Lipstein’s is on the market for $1.3 million.
In August, Mr. Lipstein was forced out of his job. Since then, he’s apparently retreated to his 100-acre upstate estate.
Mr. Damon has told reporters that he plans to hang his Golden Globe in New York (where he and Good Will Hunting co-star Ben Affleck used to share an apartment in Chinatown). Mr. Damon’s press representative said, however, that he was staying on West 11th Street only for the duration of shooting.