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Curiosity killed the cat -- but for humans, it's the most important quality of all, just ask Brian Grazer

Liz Smith

"I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious," said Albert Einstein.

Simon and Schuster is bringing out, in April, a little book for young people who adore movies and want to work in making them. Or for anybody of any age who is still ambitious; it's not just for young adults. (I find that most people have a movie inside them and will talk endlessly about it if you just let them. They invariably want to cast a star in their imagined movie before they even have a screenplay.)

THIS book is by film producer Brian Grazer, with help from Charles Fishman, titled "A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life."

Brian Grazer is the man who brought us "Splash," "A Beautiful Mind," "Apollo 13," "Arrested Development" -- too many accomplishments to mention all of them. He is professionally partnered with the equally important Ron Howard. What's more, Grazer is the guy with the funny, gelled, stand-up-straight hair. You can instantly identify him!

His book doesn't pretend to be anything it isn't. Brian tells us in the first pages why curiosity is the central ingredient in a successful life, or in any story-telling. (And movies are just story tellers.) He sets out very simply to give us great examples. He opens with the tale of himself -- a young nobody -- overhearing a conversation of no apparent import, but his curiosity compelled him to follow up. This then, made him a success, when combined with ambition, imagination, drive, luck, etc.

The book is straightforward and full of great advice for anyone trying to rise and shine. You don't have to try to become a movie producer. In its own way, the book could be a guide for anyone with ambition, nerve and common sense. But first comes curiosity.

Brian's story is of how he rose via looking, asking and delivering packages and screenplays, etc., in the show biz world. He thus, became one of movie-dom's big success stories. It's a tale of curiosity leading the way. His chapter on running into important people and forcing them to listen to his questions is priceless. He endured some mighty "put downs," but he kept his curiosity.

This is an easy-to-read unpretentious highly professional memoir. And, there's the hair.

Yes. Well, aren't you curious about his hairdo? If that doesn't pique your curiosity -- what does?

Even in these days of changing the way movies are made, or getting them to the public, or getting them to not be stolen, or whatever else ensues that signifies big changes in the way we see the films we do ... well, curiosity is the priceless ingredient. I thoroughly enjoyed this book about how to succeed. Most of us already know too much about how to fail!

You can't keep me from loving movies and the Academy Awards that promote them.

I think in 2014 we were served up a lot of films, actors, screenwriters and directors that were first rate!

I went to the Kips Bay Theater on 2nd Avenue and 32nd Street, to see "Paddington," with an audience full of "other" children. The coming attractions that would appeal and be suitable for children ran first and I was startled by the volume, noise and implied violence and destruction. These snippets were presented so unrealistically fast that they disillusioned me. (It seems most children's fare these days has gotten more downright frightening than I knew.)

But happily, the main feature was Studio Canal's "Paddington." And it's not just for kids! This film about a Peruvian bear that ends up in London is just totally adorable and for anybody of any age.

Its human star, Hugh Bonneville, is the familiar aristocratic father from "Downton Abbey." How they did the bear himself is a miracle, partly because of his human facial characteristics and his voice, supplied by Ben Whishaw. (He is the actor from the last few James Bond films, playing Q.)

Everything about "Paddington" is splendid upscale entertainment, especially Nicole Kidman as a blonde villain. (This actress will attempt anything!)

I just can't rave enough for "Paddington's" unusual talents.

Suffice it to say, it is great -- for young, old, nice, naughty and crotchety. The audience of babies, many under three, that I saw it with, sat transfixed through the entire movie.

It's highly recommended for the entire family.

TONIGHT! At 54 Below in Manhattan. The great Sally Kellerman, Oscar nominated for "M-A-S-H" and a welcome screen presence always, will perform her new cabaret offering, "A Little Jazz, a Little Blues, a Little Rock and Roll." In case you don't know it, Sally was a singer before she was an actress, signing her first recording contract with Verve at age 18. But movie success somewhat sidetracked her warbling, though music has always played a major part in her life.

Kellerman is busy! She's up for an Emmy, for the IFC series "Maron," and she has been so effective recently on daytime's "The Young and Restless," that the producers are trying to figure out how to bring her back from the dead! (Her character was dying, and then did indeed pass beyond this vale of tears. But in the soap opera world, death is nothing more than an evil twin, a hospital body switch, or somebody's fantasy. On soaps, nobody goes quietly into that good night. Generally, they come back, quite annoyed.)

Call 646-476-3551 for info about Sally's appearance at 54 Below.

SPEAKING of music, I called my friend Liz Rosenberg, who has long repped the likes of Stevie Nicks, Cher, Michael Buble and, but of course, Madonna. So, what will The Big M sing on the upcoming Grammy telecast?

Liz could not reveal, but she did say: "Madonna just shot a video for the first single from her 'Rebel Heart' album. It's 'Living for Love' and we did it in Brooklyn. Lots of gorgeous men and incredible dancing and she looked very sexy. But I think the most important thing was how much fun she was having!" (Liz R. and I agree that Madonna needs more fun. Really. The woman never relaxes!) "Living for Love" will be released February 12. The album lands in March.

Off the beaten path of Liz R.'s music repping, she has a new client, hockey star P.K. Subban. "He's a great guy, and it's something exciting and different."

(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com.)

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