When Nicole Kidman starts filming on "Cold Mountain" in Romania next month, she may be using a dressing room that has a bit of history to it -- a bus used by former communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
Ceausescu, described as a party boss of uncommon cruelty, was executed in the late '80s after the fall of Communism in Romania. He used the bus on occasional tours of the country he ruled.
The bus was remodeled after Ceausescu's downfall, and now sports such luxuries as a telephone switchboard with six phone lines and a power generator. It has been used in the recent past as a dressing room for other actors on other film projects shot in the region. Adrian Paul used it in 1999 when he was playing Duncan MacLeod, the mythical 400-year-old hero of "Highlander."
Kidman might not even use the bus with the eerie connection to the former dictator. Some people associated with the production said that was the plan, but Miramax Films -- which is producing the movie version of Charles Frazier's best-selling Civil War novel -- said it wasn't a sure thing that Kidman would set up housekeeping in the bus.
The cast of "Cold Mountain" also includes Jude Law ("Road to Perdition"), Renée Zellweger ("Bridget Jones's Diary"), Natalie Portman ("Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones") and Philip Seymour Hoffman ("The Talented Mr. Ripley").
VIVICA A. FOX WEIGHS IN ON 'MONSTER'S BALL' ROLE
Bassett said she turned down an offer to play the character -- a black woman who falls in love with the white man who executes her husband on Death Row -- because it was demoralizing to black women. Fox told "Access Hollywood" she doesn't have a problem with Berry's choice.
"Halle saw it as ... an opportunity to shine," said Fox. "All other actresses might not agree, but everyone is entitled to their opinion. It worked for her, I'm proud of her and we congratulate her."
Fox congratulated Berry for sharing her success with other black actresses.
"What's wonderful is, when she won for doing a role a lot of people had a problem with, she brought other sisters on stage with her," said Fox, "and that showed class and showed dignity. Don't be trippin' on Halle. Halle got it down. Okay, don't hate. Congratulate Halle."
For the record, a publicist for Bassett said her client does not want her criticism to be misunderstood.
"Angela loves Halle and supports Halle," said the publicist, "but the role just wasn't right for her."
BACK FOR SECONDS
According to The Hollywood Reporter, plans are under way for a remake of "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" -- director Stanley Kramer's 1967 paean to racial equality -- but with a racial role-reversal.
Comic actor Bernie Mac is reportedly in talks to star as the father of a young black woman who brings home a white boyfriend. In the original movie, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn played a couple whose liberal values were put to the test when their daughter (Katharine Houghton) announced her whirlwind romance and engagement to a young black professional, played by Sidney Poitier.
THE TROUBLE WITH 'INDY 4'
Producer George Lucas, director Steven Spielberg and actor Harrison Ford are all on board for another whack at the "Indiana Jones" legend, but according to gossip columnist Liz Smith, Ford said it wasn't easy to arrange.
"It's like getting the Supremes back together," said Ford. "There are three players, George, Steven and myself, whose expectations have to be met. But we have a date and an idea."
AND SHE SINGS TOO!
According to the New York Daily News, Jenna Elfman ("Dharma & Greg") has been taking voice lessons with Cy Coleman, possibly preparing to star in a revival of the composer's 1966 musical "Sweet Charity."
Plans calls for a road version of the show later this year, followed by a Broadway production next spring if all goes well.