Weaving a Tangled Web

Is Tobey Maguire getting too big for his unitard? The $4 million he got for "Spider-Man" looked good at the time. But when the film made $404 million, the Gersh Agency, which has repped him for years, demanded $25 million against 10 percent of the gross for the sequel. A source close to the negotiations thinks Maguire had been listening to his actor buddies, who include Leonardo DiCaprio. "You can picture all those guys sitting around telling him, 'Man, you only got x for that? Don't be such a fag'." Columbia Pictures offered $17 million with bonuses; Maguire said yes. But he'd slimmed down to jockey size to play Red Pollard in the upcoming "Seabiscuit." He'd also hurt his back and had a list of what he could and couldn't do--even how many steps he'd climb. Columbia said it would explore other casting options--like Jake Gyllenhaal, who's dating Kirsten Dunst, Maguire's "Spider-Man" costar. The back got better.

So. A happy ending--except for Gersh. Maguire has announced that he's looking for a new agency. Gersh is a small shop, specializing in breaking little-known talent--which Maguire used to be. He now plans to take meetings with the big boys: CAA, ICM, William Morris, Endeavor, UTA. Who's got the inside track? Not a clue--but Maguire's girlfriend is Jennifer Meyer, whose dad, Ron Meyer, now head of Universal Studios, cofounded CAA.

Julie Andrews

If there really was lots of chocolate for us to eat, if the hills were alive with the sound of music, if it did take just a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down, if we never had to say "So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen" for good... oh, forget it. Even Julie Andrews herself doesn't live in the world her name evokes. But at 67, she's still a graceful and gracious presence--and a hard worker. This Sunday, in the ABC movie "Eloise at the Plaza," she plays (yep) the nanny. Last week she gave a lesson in comportment to NEWSWEEK's Jac Chebatoris.

How do you handle the awe that you seem to inspire?

[Laughs] Well, I was going to say why?

Here's an example. Have you seen the Web site called the Julie Andrews Obsession Page? It's dedicated to "the most talented person on earth."

[Gasps] No! Oh my God, that's scary. I mean, that's a lot to live up to in terms of PR. I don't believe it for a minute.

Then there's the standing ovation you got at this year's Oscars. How did that feel?

Extraordinary. Deeply touching. I mean, I didn't quite understand it. The evening wasn't about me, and I couldn't have been more touched and surprised. But it was very, very loving and generous of people.

I've heard you have an autobiography coming out?

It's commissioned, but it's a little behindhand because I have a wonderful imprint of children's books and I've been very busy getting the first four ready for its debut in the fall.

It's been about five years since the operation on your vocal cords went wrong and left you unable to sing. How have you been able to handle that?

It was a tremendous setback. But I'm one of those people who see the glass as half full rather than half empty. And in truth, it seems I've never been busier. I don't sing anymore, but I do all these other things, and I'm not sure I would have embraced them as wholeheartedly.

Julie, thank you so much.

You're welcome, my dear. I hope you have a happy weekend.

So long, farewell.

See you soon, I hope!