Idol Chatter

Are Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes going to be married before they get to the altar? The couple has booked a romantic, 15th-century castle north of Rome, and international singing star Andrea Bocelli will sing. Katie’s dad has even overcome his misgivings and wishes for a Catholic wedding and agreed to give Katie away.

But unless the Italian government is working from a special rulebook for celebrities, the religious ceremony–a Scientologist minister will officiate–will have to be preceded by a civil marriage. “A religious marriage is not so easy for non-Italians,” says a website that arranges dream weddings in Italy, especially if you are not Catholic. “If you wish to marry in a non-Catholic church,” says, “it is almost impossible to do so without first obtaining a civil marriage license.”

Because of Italy’s strong historic association with the Roman church, even mainstream Protestant clergy are not automatically licensed to marry in Italy, much less Scientologist ministers. Insiders dismiss reports that the wedding won’t be legal, saying the couple has done “all the necessary paperwork.” But that phrase, associated on most wedding-in-Italy sites with registering your civil bond, only lends support to the idea that a civil bond will unite the pair before Scientology pronounces them man and wife.

The “Bachelor: Rome” has taken a page out of “The Real World’s” playbook, and it may result in a fairy tale ending. The producers upped the ante this year by finding an actual prince, Prince Lorenzo Borghese–ancestor of Pope Paul V and heir to the Borghese cosmetics fortune–for the ladies to fight over. But unlike previous season–which featured the Woman Who Just Wants to Be Married clones–the producers have cobbled together an exacting group of women who fit the reality-TV world stereotypes: The Bitchy Rich Girl, The Crazy Party Girl, the Virgin. One would think they’ve been watching a bit too much MTV.

But, luckily for viewers, several of the women rise above these stereotypes, especially Sadie, The Virgin. A perky, blonde publicist from California, Sadie “came out” as saving herself for marriage early on in the competition, even though she felt it might be detrimental to her chances of receiving a rose. It turns out that it was anything but detrimental, and audiences cheered when Lorenzo, who could be dubbed Prince Valiant, let it be known that he respected her and her decision–and he has rewarded her by selecting her as one of the top three finalists.

But, as all faithful viewers of the show know, the final three ladies are taken on extravagant dates and are offered a night with the Bachelor in the “Fantasy Suite,” where cameras cannot go. While the ladies usually start salivating over the offer from minute-one of the date, Sadie expresses her discomfort: “I am saving myself for marriage, and I don’t want Lorenzo to get the wrong idea…. I really want Lorenzo to know that I’m a classy, conservative woman.”

But Lorezo comes through again when she broaches the topic with him, saying that he doesn’t want to make her uncomfortable, that he’ll respect her decision, and that he likes “classy, conservative women.” She accepts his invitation, they spend the night talking, and she makes it to the final two.

But, wait… isn’t “classy conservative women” the exact same phrase that Sadie used during one of her confessionals; a confessional that Lorenzo isn’t supposed to have heard? Is there a chance the producers are passing notes and manufacturing this whole thing–the idyllic story of a Prince who marries a Virgin? Let’s hope not, because for once, I’m rooting for one of the Bachelorettes instead of against one.

Their names are wedded for all eternity, and now the world waits with baited breath to see if TomKat–Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes–will finally tie the knot this weekend in Itlay. Speculation is rife that the “Mission Impossible” star and the “Dawson’s Creek” ingenue will wed in a traditional Scientology ceremony this weekend at Odescalchi Castle near Lake Bracciano. However, an Italian newspaper reported last week that Cruise wants to have a Catholic ceremony, apprently in deference to Holmes’ Catholic parents. But, according to news reports, the priest with jurisdiction over the 15th-century castle says his parish won’t marry Cruise because he is twice divorced, and others note that a Scientology marriage most likely would not be recognized by the Italian State.

While the nature of the ceremony may be as secret as Ethan Hunt’s true identity, the guest list is no state secret. And, as shocking as it may seem, Oprah hasn’t been invited to the big day.

While I understand why so many critics gush about the talent of writer/producer Aaron Sorkin, last night’s episode of “Studio 60” was a blatant reminder to me that this show is quite possibly more about Sorkin working out his personal issues than it is about examining a culture war.

In the second part of a two-part storyline that has centered around Harriet’s comments to the media about gay marriage, Harriet is suddenly asked by exec Jordan McDeere to cancel some singing engagements with a fictitious conservative Christian group entitled “Women United” because of the media firestorm that will ensue. Harriet is ambivalent about such a decision because she knows that there are many young girls who admire her as one of the few not-so-crazy Christians in the Hollywood limelight and who also attend these events.

What is interesting to me about this storyline is the behind-the scenes cause for this episode. Once again, Sorkin has shamelessly exploited his ex-girlfriend–Broadway diva and outspoken Christian celeb Kristin Chenoweth–by lifting events out of her life and putting them on the air, albeit with his own snarky twist.

Last fall Chenoweth was to sing at a series of conferences sponsored by an conservative Christian organization called “Women of Faith.” Her concerts were canceled after Chenoweth made comments in the media regarding gays. (For the record, Chenoweth is more outspoken about gay rights than Harriet is in the show.) In fact, Chenoweth even commented in a recent interview–jokingly it seems–that she is beginning to wonder when she will start getting some money from the show as compensation for the use of her likeness.

Well, Kristin, all I can say is, let’s wait and see how long it takes before that comment makes it into a future “Studio 60” episode.