Golden girl Jessica Marais has flown back into Sydney after a lengthy stint on US mob drama Magic City. She’s been been spotted pounding the pavement to shape up for her new gig as remarkable showgirl Carlotta in the telemovie Carlotta, which begins production in the city on Monday.
While the former Seven sweetheart has said she was never going to let herself get ‘‘sucked into’’ the body-image obsession of LA — and was never in a rush to lose her post-baby curves — she was working up a sweat with her baby girl Scout snuggled in her jogging pram in Centennial Park last week as hubby James Stewart took a break back at the couple’s Sydney rental property in the eastern suburbs. Scout Edie will blow the candles out on her first birthday cake this Thursday.
Marais looks in fine form to tackle the role-of-a-lifetime, as transgender pioneer and iconic Les Girls headliner Carlotta in the ABC1 telemovie written by David Hannam and directed by Samantha Lang.
S can exclusively reveal the real, divine and always effervescent Carlotta — who still dons sequins and faux lashes to perform in her one-woman show around the country at 69 — will fly in from her Queensland base, where she has lived for the past six years, to visit the set next week.
The telemovie tells the story of her life, starting out as a confused teenager named Richard Byron, through to his life in the Cross during the ’60s and ’70s, then his transformation into Carol and ultimately star drag queen Carlotta.
‘‘I’m in town next week and will be on set one day; I’m a story consultant although I’m staying away from it as I want her [Jessica] to do her own thing,’’ Carlotta, or Carol as she is known, told S when we called.
‘‘I’ve helped them in other ways but she [Jessica] has it down pat. We’ve met quite a few times and she’s great and I’m very, very happy with it all. It’s a story about my childhood and there are good people behind it, although I can’t say anything more ... You’ll get me into trouble!’’ she chuckled.
S can also reveal new cast members — joining Caroline O’Connor, Alex Dimitriades, Anita Hegh and Eamon Farren — are Gigi Edgley, Damian de Montemas, Genevieve Lemon and Ryan Johnson.
The ‘‘passion project’’, which was six years in the making, is being touted as a universal one about identity, tolerance and acceptance. Producers Lara Radulovich and Riccardo Pellizzeri call it ‘‘a love story about an exceptional woman’s desire to be ordinary’’.
Erin's big day looms
‘Gone with the Wind fabulous!’’ That’s how friends of model and television presenter Erin McNaught have described the starlet’s dress for her coming wedding to British rapper Example in Byron Bay this month.
The former Neighbours beauty, who will wed in the lush surrounds of the north coast with family and friends flying in from Britain, will wear a stunning white creation with full pouffant skirt created by Paddington couturier Steven Khalil.
McNaught tweeted that Khalil — who had an army of the best-dressed talent at the Logies this year — would be whipping up the fabulous gown for her marriage to the music sensation after their engagement in November, writing this month: ‘‘My wedding dress is honestly the most beautiful creation I’ve ever laid my eyes on. @stevenkhalil is nothing short of a genius. Thank you x.’’
Khalil would not give away any details when S contacted him, preferring to keep his ever-growing celebrity clientele under wraps. This year he has made many a blushing celebrity bride smile on her big day, sewing Rachael Finch, Zoe Foster Blake, Zoe Balbi and Rebecca Breeds, among others, into their big-day creations.
McNaught’s friend told S the gown was ‘‘over-the-top incredible’’ and the bride planned to team it with Giuseppe Zanotti for Kanye West shoes.
Meanwhile, the accident-prone former Miss Australia, who severed the index finger on her right hand while filming a story on riding dirt bikes, is taking everything in her stride, though she has had a few incidents in the lead-up to her wedding. She broke a toe in April as well as spilling a drink on her phone and posting a plea on Instagram for friends to re-send their contact details.
‘‘Not nervous in the slightest,’’ she tweeted. ‘‘Maybe a bit nervous that I’m not nervous ... Haha.’’
Dinner with Gwynnie
She’s had a hectic week, being named the world’s most beautiful woman (People) in the same week she was named most hated celebrity (Star), not to mention admitting she wasn’t wearing knickers underneath her see-through Antonio Berardi dress at the premiere of Iron Man 3.
But things are about to get more heated for Gwyneth Paltrow.
The actress is set to dine with Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O in New York this week after Kyle surprised Jackie last week with news of the long-awaited dinner to meet her ‘‘ultimate idol’’.
Sandilands won Jackie’s dinner at a charity auction organised by Gwynnie on charitybuzz.com to raise money for Hurricane Sandy victims. The only catch is the usually ultra-stylish Jackie (who has a well-documented obsession with Gwynnie) has to wear her sponsored suit (see inset picture) to the dinner with the ever-glam Oscar-winning star.
‘‘I love her intelligence, she’s so beautiful, she’s very smart, she’s a wonderful mother, she’s very witty ... what’s not to love?’’ Jackie says of her idol, who she spoke to on the phone last year on-air for her birthday, but has never met.
Meanwhile, Sandilands admits he told Australia’s Got Talent producers he didn’t want Geri Halliwell as a co-judge because last time they spoke, 10 years ago, she hung up on him.
‘‘You and I didn’t get on well ... so I said no,’’ he confessed on-air last week.
Ginger Spice said on the show she learnt what a true friend Mel B was when Mel phoned her and said: ‘‘You know what darling, I can’t do it, in fact, I want you to go for it, and I’ve spoken to the producers about you and put in a good word.’’
The red-haired singer, who will arrive in the country soon for the AGT audition process, said of her Spice Girl pal: ‘‘Some people can be jealous or greedy; she’s so generous I was like ‘wow ... number one, what a beautiful friend I have; two, I get to come to Australia; and three, I love this program, I love being around talent and finding new talent; and actually four, I get to meet Kyle!’’
Looking super buff and Bond-esque as he emerged from the water at Bondi last week, Andrew O’Keefe joked to S that he keeps fit by running with the dogs for a swim across the bay most days, and manages to squeeze in ‘‘a little extracurricular, here and there’’.
The Weekend Sunrise host laughed that his budgie smugglers should be called ‘‘condor smugglers, if you don’t mind — and on a cold day, sparrow smugglers’’. But he wasn’t so jocular about the paparazzi lenses waiting to snap him, especially when he is with his kids, who he says haven’t chosen to be in the public eye.
‘‘I don’t like it. It takes me out of the moment and my little girl was getting changed and they have their telescopic lenses. Every single one of those guys, I have requested more than once they don’t photograph children, but they ignore you and laugh in your face. They are real bottom feeders. Utter worms. The tapeworms of celebrity. The intestinal worms of the media.’’ Don’t hold back, Andrew!
The paps did show some restraint last week when Lara Bingle was followed back to her Darling Point apartment after a trip to the beach with her new boyfriend, New York-based DJ Nick Cohen. It seems Bingle is still naive, walking on to her balcony starkers to hang out her bikini. But, in good taste, the snappers kept their lens caps on. Clearly she has forgotten the debacle after her last nude balcony incident.
What could Therese Kerr, mum of supermodel and businesswoman Miranda, have meant when she posted a cartoon on her Instagram account, which has almost 9000 followers?
The mother and KORA Organics event manager and ambassador — who stood down from her position as general manager and chief executive of the global skincare brand in February — posted a cryptic image of a mother hen pointing at a baby chick with the words: ‘‘I sat on you and brought you into this world and I can sit on you and take you out.’’
With 270 likes, it certainly is making a very public statement.