Cruise Control

On the same day that a judge ordered a persistent suitor to stay away from Nicole Kidman for three years, her estranged husband appeared at a reception in Hollywood honoring the late director Stanley Kubrick.

Whatever is going on in his personal life, Tom Cruise seems to have regained his old grin and swagger, at least in public. He hugged the late director's widow, Christiane Kubrick, then gave us a firm handshake and gazed directly into our eyes, which we promise were not wide shut.

Cruise, accompanied by super-flack Pat Kingsley, was amiably chatty as long as the subject was Kubrick, his "Eyes Wide Shut" director, and not Kidman, his co-star in the film and--until February--in life.

Cruise was still wearing traces of movie makeup, having arrived directly from shooting Steven Spielberg's sci-fi thriller "Minority Report." He recently finished "Vanilla Sky," co-starring Penelope Cruz.

"Ah, well, that's my schedule," he said, laughing and rolling his eyes. Cruise also narrated the documentary tribute "Stanley Kubrick--A Life in Pictures," which was screened Wednesday night at the Directors Guild Theater.

Cruise told us that working on "Eyes Wide Shut," the erotic thriller that was Kubrick's final film, "was very intense because of the nature of the material, and because of the character." He added, "I think the thing people don't realize about Kubrick was how witty he was."

Lakers at Large

With a week to go before their next game, it was party time for some of the Lakers on Wednesday. At Reign, the West Hollywood restaurant owned by Tampa Bay Buccaneer Keyshawn Johnson, we spied forwards Horace Grant and Rick Fox, who's looking shaggy since he's avoiding haircuts for good luck. Also spotted were guardsmen Derek Fisher, Ron Harper, Devean George, Tyronn Lue and Brian Shaw.

A TV at the bar broadcast the Philadelphia 76ers-Milwaukee Bucks game, but none of Western Conference champs were too interested in the Eastern Conference finals. They lounged at a table in the back, sipping pink drinks and flirting with a nearby table of Hollywood types.

Notably absent were Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.

A Deal for Downey?

Although no plea bargain is a sure thing until the judge bangs the gavel, drug-addicted actor Robert Downey Jr. appears to be headed to rehab, rather than prison.

His lawyers, James Epstein and Michael Adelson, confirmed Thursday that a tentative deal has been struck. Downey will plead no contest to a single felony count of cocaine possession and a misdemeanor drug charge when he returns to court in Riverside County next month. Under the plea bargain, Downey avoids prison if he spends up to a year in a drug-treatment center.

"We're coming out of the Dark Ages and realizing that it's not a crime, it's an illness," Epstein said.

Downey, who was released from prison in August, was arrested near Palm Springs on Thanksgiving weekend after an anonymous caller tipped off police. He checked into rehab in April after another drug arrest in Culver City. L.A. County prosecutors declined to file charges because the Riverside case was pending.

His arrests forced "Ally McBeal" to write around his absence and cost him a role in "America's Sweethearts," starring Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Ellen Who?

The word is that Anne Heche is engaged to marry cameraman Coley Laffoon, her significant other since shortly after the breakup last summer of a three-year relationship with Ellen DeGeneres. Laffoon reportedly popped the question on Heche's 32nd birthday.

Sibling Rivalry

Donny Osmond picked up the phone a few days ago. A familiar voice was on the other end of the line. It was his sister, Marie.

"She goes 'na na na na-na!' " Osmond told us. "You made it to No. 16 on the New York Times Bestsellers' list, and I made it to No. 9!"

Both Osmonds have written memoirs. His--"Life Is Just What You Make It: My Story So Far"--was published last year by Hyperion May. Hers--"Behind the Smile: My Journey Out of Postpartum Depression"--was published last month by Warner Books.

Donny has just embarked on his first international concert tour in 11 years. This time, he's not limiting himself to renditions of "Puppy Love." His set list includes Broadway show tunes and classics by Elton John, Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Backed by a full orchestra, Osmond puts on a show Saturday at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa. Meanwhile, Marie is on tour promoting her book.

We razzed Donny about those purple socks, which brightened our wonder years. He feigned annoyance. "If you were here, I'd slap you!" he said. Still, he hasn't totally abandoned fans from his days as a teen heartthrob. Using old film clips, he sings a duet with his younger self. Can Marie top that?

Sightings

Christina Aguilera, grooving in the VIP room at Pantera Sarah's "Shag" party at the Vinyl Club in Hollywood . . . Guy Pearce, buying oranges, organic juices and two bars of chocolate at Whole Foods in West Hollywood . . . Ravi Shankar, getting stuck in a reclining seat aboard a London-bound Virgin Atlantic flight.

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Times staff writers Louise Roug and Gina Piccalo contributed to this report. City of Angles runs Tuesday-Friday. E-mail: angles@latimes.com.

FOR THE RECORD Los Angeles Times Thursday June 7, 2001 Home Edition Part A Part A Page 2 A2 Desk 1 inches; 26 words Type of Material: Correction Ravi Shankar--In Friday's City of Angles column, a photo accompanying an item about musician Ravi Shankar was actually of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living Foundation.
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