Dennis Rodman’s praise of Kim Jong Un called ‘inexcusable’
By Bill Zwecker March 5, 2013 8:30PM
Updated: April 7, 2013 6:03AM
From what I’m told by a source close to Dennis Rodman — who is working with the ex-Bulls star on Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” — it’s obvious that the self-appointed new BFF of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is clueless about how foolish he looks.
“Dennis is furious about how the media is out to make him look like an idiot,” said the source, who quickly stressed he thinks Rodman’s complimentary remarks about Kim were “very, very ill-advised,” considering North Korea’s record of inhumanity toward its people — a policy this new dictator appears to be continuing, as did his father and grandfather.
“Dennis is all about using basketball to bring our countries [the U.S. and North Korea] together. ... He has this completely childlike notion, based on how well he was treated during his visit. It’s really crazy. ... He just should have kept his mouth shut when he got back. But that’s not Dennis’ way.
“And look what happened. ... That interview with [George] Stephanopoulos on ABC Sunday was a disaster.
“Fortunately, Dennis’ team finally realized what a monster this had become and canceled his other appearances.”
† A prominent former top U.S. diplomat requested anonymity when talking about all this Tuesday, “because this is such a ridiculous and totally embarrassing incident with which I do not want to be associated — even as a commentator.”
After making that perfectly clear, the source went on to say that “the meddling by unsanctioned individuals in highly sensitive international affairs usually do more harm — sometimes a lot more harm — than good.
“It was fine that Rodman went to North Korea, and it was even OK he met Kim Jong Un and attended a couple of basketball games with him.
“But for him to come back to home and proceed to laud one of the world’s most repressive dictators as a good friend for life — that was inexcusable.”
GIGI GETS STEWART: There’s a big Chicago connection to Jon Stewart’s film directing debut. Local producer Gigi Pritzker (“Drive,” “The Wedding Planner”) and her Odd Lot company are producing “Rosewater,” an adaptation of the book “Then They Came For Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity and Survival.” Noted filmmaker Scott Rudin also is producing along with Stewart himself.
The Comedy Central mainstay will take a 12-week hiatus from hosting “The Daily Show” to direct the film, based on his own script.
While Stewart obviously is known for his comedy, this will be a drama. It’s about BBC journalist Maziar Bahari’s journey to cover the June 2009 Iranian presidential elections — leaving his pregnant fiancée behind for what he thought would be a one-week assignment.
Instead, he spent the next 118 days captive in an Iranian prison, brutally interrogated by a man he knew only by his aroma of rosewater.
In Stewart’s absence this summer, “Daily Show” regular John Oliver will be guest host for eight weeks of fresh shows.
REALITY RELIEF: With Adrienne Maloof tweeting about her exit from “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” (something my Bravo sources tell me makes them happy!) — plus Camille Grammer’s likely departure and Dayna Devon reportedly negotiating to be Taylor Armstrong’s replacement — the show is very much in flux after its third season.
I’m hearing Bravo is looking to give the show a new, younger thrust and has some very exciting new twists in the works.
† Things may take an interesting new twist on “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” as Brody Jenner — occasionally joined by brother Brandon — becomes a regular on the famous clan’s main series. Jenner, who is the son of Bruce Jenner and Linda Thompson and therefore the half-brother of Bruce’s kids with Kris Jenner (and the stepbrother of Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian), of course first hit the world of so-called reality television as a mainstay on “The Hills.” His love life and other antics have been celebrity gossip fodder for ages — due to his former romances with Lauren Conrad, Kristin Cavallari and Avril Lavigne.
According to a good Kardashian source, “We expect there to be a lot of drama, but also a lot of very funny moments, with Brody on the scene.”
SPORTS SHORT: Part of the new Fox Sports 1 network lineup being launched this August will be a show hosted by none other than veteran sports fan and noted Notre Dame alum Regis Philbin.
Back when Reege departed his daily gig on “Live with Regis & Kelly,” the 81-year-old Energizer bunny told this column — along with others — “I am not retiring, just moving on from ‘Live.’ ”
DOWNHILL SLIDE: Hollywood friends of Edward Furlong are increasingly worried about the professional and personal lives of the 35-year-old actor, who was sentenced Tuesday to 180 days in jail for probation violations, according to TMZ. He once seemed to have the promise of making it to major stardom thanks to films like his debut, “Terminator 2,” and more importantly “American History X.”
While Furlong continued to get work — and has a number of projects in the works — his well-documented struggles with drugs and alcohol, and his self-admitted nearly three-pack-daily cigarette habit have prematurely aged the once-boyish looking actor.
“It’s such a shame. Edward looks years older than he is,” said a top Hollywood casting agent.
BINGO & BILL: Now that Bill Kurtis has left CBS-2, his 6 p.m. weekday hour is open — meaning he’s free to team up with noted rock star Billy Corgan. The broadcasting legend will host the monthly “Celebrity Bingo Night” this coming Monday at Madame Zuzu’s, the Highland Park tea shop owned by Corgan.
Along with calling out bingo numbers, Kurtis will perform selections from what he calls, “American Songbook — the Art of the Spoken Lyric.”
The longtime TV anchor, known for that famous voice of his, says, “You really receive the message of the lyrics, the words, in a different way when they are spoken — when the melody is stripped down.”