THE BLOG
10/08/2013 10:32 am ET Updated Dec 08, 2013

Lunching With Blue Jasmine (Cate Blanchett to You All!)

"Politics is the art of preventing people from busying themselves with what is their own business," said Paul Valery.

But we are not talking politics today. Indeed, I find very few people talking politics, Washington or disaster because they are so very weary and tired of it!

So, how about being invited to a lunch at the charming Le Cirque's newly decorated upper room with its orange overtones. There, to find oneself seated between Cate Blanchette, the great Australian actress, and Philip Seymour Hoffman, the great American actor.

We had the estimable George Stevens of the Kennedy Center honors right across from us, coping all alone as media's Joe Armstrong had stolen away George's wife Liz to sit elsewhere. (I suppose I should have slipped the energetic public relations person , one Peggy Siegal, a twenty for the seating. But then, Peggy now makes more money than any journalist or actor.)

It was all exposure for the sake of Cate's perhaps winning a future Oscar for her magnificent playing in Woody Allen's latest, "Blue Jasmine." I also got to sit part-time with Cate's co-star Bobby Cannavale one of the most talented actors around and somebody who everybody seems to adore. (I concur--and if you hate him, I'll be shocked to hear from you.) He does a fabulous turn in"Blue Jasmine" as a nicer, weepier and friendlier Marlon Brando type in this interesting film.

(Hey, we weren't specifically talking about Woody Allen either. He wasn't even mentioned. Everybody had heard enough about Vanity Fair's current story on Woody-Mia-Sinatra, etc. by Maureen Orth is just a killer! So I'm not going to touch that today.)

• When I had a chance to talk to the best show biz reporter in the entire world - Roger Friedman - he insisted on not telling me anything but making a date instead. Ok...life goes on. It's hard to get anything new out of Roger; he has already reported it.

• I had a wonderful time chatting with Cate and Philip. I had known them both in what are now called "the beginnings" of their amazing careers - accomplished not through publicity, but through their own incredible talents. Cate is one of the civilized people of the world, beautiful in a pale blonde manner as if she has never stepped out into the sun and a wonderfully interested conversationalist. We had fun speaking of our former hero, Katharine Hepburn ,whom Cate played to an Oscar win in the Leonardo Di Caprio movie "The Aviator."

Cate was interested in what has happened to Hepburn's family home in Fenwick, Connecticut and I was able to tell her that the old house had been boosted about five feet above ground to avoid rising water and beautifully re-done by developer Frank Sciame. It boasts beautiful photographs of Kate in almost every room. This fateful place in Fenwick overlooking Long Island Sound was on the market from Sotheby's for approximately $30 million this past summer. There are adjoining grounds and it is a stunning place. Mr.Sciame pulled it off the market in July and says he'll use it as a summer home.

Cate wanted to know if I remembered the photo of Kate making a dash out of ice and snow into her house in winter and I was able to report that this famous picture of the intrepid Miss Hepburn was taken by my old college chum John Bryson who is now also gone to his reward.

My guy, Seymour-Hoffman and I, mostly joined in sentimental missing of our mutual friend, the director Sidney Lumet. Philip always refers to me as someone who had to do with his early fame although he doesn't believe this for a minute. I did do his first interview but from there on, he did it himself!

Had a good meet with literary screenwriter David Bar Katz who told me all about his film project on the man who is already in prison and still pretends to be a Rockefeller. I told David he should act; he appears as a perfect interesting villain. He said, "You and my mother! She thinks I should be an actor as well. She doesn't care a whit about my writing."

Cate said her companion for the day was supposed to be her 11-year-old son who had decided he didn't need a lunch with a lot of grownup bores but had gone New York sightseeing. Smart kid.

And anyway I finally figured out why I got such a great seat...I was inadvertently wearing an orange and yellow checked shirt which made me part of the décor. It is from J. McLaughlin and no wonder I looked like I belonged.

• Le Cirque has bigger better plans for its empire than just doing over the upper dining room.

The super-human men who run Le Cirque, Circo and Sirio in New York are at it again.

Sirio, Marco, Mauro and Mario Maccioni and their head lady, Egidiana, plus partner Carlo Mantica, will take Tuscan cuisine to the Middle East.

They will open Circo Abu Dhabi at the Intercontinental Abu Dhabi early in 2014. It will connect with the family's other places in New York, Las Vegas at the Bellagio and La Cana in the Dominican Republic. And they might even include Mumbai.

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