Graydon Carter Passes on Elaine's; Willem Dafoe's Roman Robbery

Plus: Megan Ellison's bright young producing career hits a Schwarzenegger bump

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Welcome to the Smart Set. Every morning we bring you the gossip coverage, filtered. Today:Graydon Carter will not be saving Elaine's, things blow up around The Hobbit, and Willem Dafoe loses his jewels to some crafty second-storymen

  • Graydon Carter won't be swinging in to save venerable Upper East Side institution Elaine's before it closes for good Thursday. The Vanity Fair editor also owns The Waverly Inn and Monkey Bar, restaurants described as "cosmic heirs to Elaine's legacy," and has been mentioned as a possible candidate to save the restaurant and continue the tradition set forth by Elaine Kauffman. This being New York, word spread that Carter was "heavily into a deal for [Elaine's] like-minded restaurateurs-about-town Ken Friedman and Ken Aretsky (his Monkey Bar partner)." Contacted by phone yesterday, Carter dismissed that rumors. "The partners and myself have made no progress," said Carter. "I know for Ken [Friedman] and myself it was really a matter of geography. If you live downtown, 89th and 2nd Avenue is really a serious hike, and ultimately, that was the deciding factor." Elaine's manager Diane Becker says Carter was never really serious about the purchase. "There was never any attempt to buy the place," she explains. "He walked through it once that’s it." [The New York Observer]
  • The probably-cursed production of The Hobbit had another mishap yesterday, when Wellington, New Zealand authorities responded to reports of an "industrial explosion" at Stone Street Studios, co-owned by director Peter Jackson, where he's been shooting much of the new film. Two people were hospitalized "as a precaution" after the blast, which a spokesman from Jackson's Wingnut films quickly pointed out "was in a workshop" and "not on set," as if there's a time and a place for industrial explosions on movie sets, like when the talent is safety in their trailer. [New York Post]
  • Actor Willem Dafoe's was robbed Sunday night by "cat burglars who used ropes and mountain-climbing gear to break into his Rome apartment...[and] lowered themselves from the roof to get into the antique-filled, top-floor pad he shares with his Italian actress wife Giada Colagrande." Dafoe was in New Mexico filming at the time. Afterwards, the thieves got a message about how life isn't one big Willem Dafoe movie--the jewels they boosted from the apartment were valued somewhere between $3,000 and $4,000. Not the stuff of last big heists. [Page Six]
  • Megan Ellison, the 25 year-old daughter of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, was looking like Hollywood's hottest young producer, financing Kathryn Bigelow's Killing Bin Laden feature and P.T. Anderson's Scientology-themed The Master. She even outbid Lionsgate for two back-to-back Terminator sequels starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, paying a reported $20 million for the privilege. How Schwarzenegger's decision to put his comeback "on hold" impacts the deal is unclear.  One veteran producer assumed the deal would include a "'subject to' clause" to bail her out. [New York Post]
  • U2 won't be performing songs from their retooled Julie Taymor-free Spider-Man musical on the season finale of American Idol as rumored. According to a message posted to the band's web site, "U2 are not performing on American Idol this Wednesday. Bono and Edge will appear alongside Reeve Carney, who plays Peter Parker, and cast members from SPIDER-MAN Turn off the Dark which is set to open on Broadway,  June 14." [U2 via Pop & Hiss]
  • Michael Crichton's second posthumous novel since his death in 2008, Micro, is scheduled to arrive in stores this November. Publisher HarperCollins describes the book as "a high concept thriller in the vein of Jurassic Park." That's an improvement over the last time we checked in on the project, when Crichton's agent realized that "other than the general category of technological thriller, she had no idea what the incomplete novel was about." The manuscript was about 30 percent done at the time of Crichton's death. The remaining 70 percent was completed by nonfiction author Richard Preston (The Hot Zone) who says he "turned to the late author's outline, reference materials and notes to complete the book." [USA Today]
  • IMG has secured "licensing and endorsement rights" to legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, though Wooden's been dead for nearly a year. IMG "will begin developing TV, film and other media projects around the coach and his 'Pyramid of Success' formula that helped his teams win 10 NCAA championships in a dozen years." The licensing unit will "represent the coach's name, voice, likeness, image and signature." [Variety]
  • Princess Beatrice's flesh-colored hat from the royal wedding was comedic and unnerving, but you can't argue against the garment's earning potential. It sold yesterday in an eBay auction for $131,341 to an "anonymous, pre-approved bidder," with the proceeds going to two charities. [The Reliable Source]
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.