Catwoman Casting News - Frances McDormand

The Chicago Sun Times reported that

Star power comes with price tag attached at high-fashion shows

(The Catwoman news byte is highlighted at the at the bottom.)

Ever wonder why certain high-profile types show up to be seated in the front row of those high-fashion couture shows in New York, Paris and Milan? It seems some are paid to be there. Though designer Gianfranco Ferre denies it, the New York Post says Beyonce Knowles and the ex-Mr. J. Lo, Cris Judd, were paid up to $25,000 to attend the Ferre show last weekend.

While front-row sightings of certain fashion-savvy stars such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna make sense, it always has seemed a bit odd to see George Clooney or Brad Pitt or Sean Penn sighted at such events.

According to the Post, designers go to some lengths -- shelling out as much as $150,000 in cash and/or fancy trips and gifts -- to snare a star they think is important.

A contract inking Ricky Martin to a deal to appear at a Giorgio Armani show two years ago reportedly ran 23 pages!

AFFLECK AFFLICTION? Among the raft of reasons being floated for the supposed Jennifer Lopez-Ben Affleck split is J. Lo's concern about Ben's high-stakes gambling habits. Much of this is being fueled by the Affleck sighting at Hustler magazine publisher (and California gubernatorial candidate) Larry Flynt's L.A. area card room over the weekend. According to several sources, Lopez worried that Ben, who's a recovering alcoholic, is substituting one habit for another.

*Timing of the split also was crucial. After the messy ''Ben and the Stripper'' incident in Vancouver, British Columbia, Affleck (who already wanted out of the engagement, according to reports) didn't want to appear as a philandering jerk, so he went ahead with the wedding plans to put some distance behind him and those embarrassing tabloid headlines -- which, by the way, he continues to vehemently deny.

FIELD'S FODDER: Chicago fans of ''Good Morning America'' may drop by Marshall Field's State Street store from 6 to 8 a.m. Thursday as the ABC-TV show broadcasts live from outside the retailing legend -- celebrating the store's recent massive renovation. Morning crowds will get a sneak preview of the country's first-ever ''Vertical Fashion Show'' (with models walking down the Field's facade), and mini-performances by pop sensation Monica and the sassy all-female classical quartet bond. Also, Poi Dog Pondering will give a free concert at 6 p.m. Thursday at Block 37 as part of all the festivities, but concertgoers will need a wristband -- available at Block 37, beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday. E! Entertainment's Brooke Burke hosts the Vertical Fashion Show finale, beginning at 7 p.m. ... Speaking of bond, Tania Davis, a member of the group, was joined by celebrity wedding planner David Beahm in the Field's bridal salon earlier to pick out the gown for her upcoming nuptials. Beahm, by the by, is the guy responsible for Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas' big marriage bash.

CUSACK'S TEAM? Chicago's own Joan Cusack is a lifelong North Sider, but now that she's the very visible spokeswoman for U.S. Cellular in all those TV commercials, has the former Oscar nominee become a Sox fan? ''I see no reason we can't be for BOTH teams,'' Cusack diplomatically told me Saturday in Los Angeles with a wide wink. ''I'm for both of them winning. What's wrong with that?''

While many people call the former Comiskey ''The Cell,'' I asked Cusack if she knew that some South Siders have come to call the Sox's home ''The Joan,'' in honor of all her TV spots.

''I had heard that once before, but best of all, my dad [Dick Cusack] heard that just before he died, and he loved it. He thought that was hilarious.''

NO CROWE 'CRISIS': Word has it Russell Crowe passed up a $24 million paycheck -- all because his pregnant wife, Danielle, put the kibosh on a proposal to re-team Crowe with Meg Ryan in a film called ''Midlife Crisis.'' Clearly the new Mrs. Crowe didn't want to risk the reigniting of the passion between her hubby and Ryan -- first enflamed when the two co-starred in ''Proof of Life.''

CATNIP: Word has it, Oscar winner Frances McDormand is being wooed to join the ''Catwoman'' cast -- teaming with Halle Berry (in the title role) and Sharon Stone as a newly minted villain for the upcoming flick.
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