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Ben, Blake, and BBQ

Ben Affleck and Blake Lively (Fame Pictures)
By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
Globe Staff / September 1, 2009

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Yesterday’s clear skies made it easy for Ben Affleck to film a barbecue scene with his costar in “The Town,’’ Blake Lively. Affleck, who is starring in and directing “The Town,’’ was also spotted with his crew getting footage of Fenway Park in the rain on Friday night.

Early Cruise sighting?
It looks like Tom Cruise will be in Boston sooner rather than later. There have been whispers, most recently in the Hollywood Reporter, that the leading man will start shooting his movie here in October, but we’re told cameras roll Sept. 15. The film, which had been called “Wichita’’ but is awaiting a new title, is a spy thriller directed by James Mangold, whose credits include “Walk the Line’’ and “3:10 to Yuma.’’ The movie centers on a lonely woman, played by Cameron Diaz, whose relationship with a spy, played by Cruise, turns her world upside down. Also in the cast is Maggie Grace, best known for her work on “Lost.’’ Grace, who also appeared in “Taken’’ with Liam Neeson, plays Diaz’s sister in Mangold’s big-budget movie.

Call Jones ‘old-school’
Harvard homegirl Rashida Jones had a good time as an undergrad. The actress tells Boston Common magazine that she and her friends would sometimes stay up all night dancing. “I was actually a raver sophomore year,’’ says the daughter of Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton. “The Wonderland Greyhound Park would get rented out for raves, so . . . we’d get 20 people together and dance all weekend.’’ Jones, who grew up in Hollywood, was wowed by Harvard’s history. “I had never been in a building built before 1940,’’ she said. “Even my dorm - I’d never seen anything with that much history. Everyone else was really relaxed about it, but I was tripped out. . . . I’d be like, ‘You guys, T.S. Eliot ate lunch here!’ ’’

The Irish connection
Irish PM Brian Cowen joined US ambassador to Ireland Michael Collins, and former congressman Marty Meehan for lunch at Abe & Louie’s after the funeral for Ted Kennedy. . . . Actor Kevin James, who’s in town shooting “Zookeeper,’’ had lunch at Legal Sea Foods at the Pru the other day. . . . American Express CEO Ken Chenault had dinner at Scampo over the weekend with his family and a few friends. He paid with an AmEx Black, of course.

Getting their groove on
Sox guy Mike Lowell was at the House of Blues on Sunday night to host “Club 25: A Night at the Copa,’’ a casino-themed benefit for his foundation, which supports families dealing with cancer and baseball programs for city youth. The evening included appearances by Lowell’s pals David Ortiz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield, Terry Francona, Brad Mills, Clay Buchholz, and Lowell’s wife, Bertha.

Damon to be honored
Variety reports that Affleck’s pal Matt Damon will get the American Cinematheque Award next spring. Past recipients of the award include Samuel L. Jackson, Ron Howard, Jodie Foster, and Julia Roberts.

Wedding bells
The Fireplace Restaurant in Brookline has been closed for the past few days because owner Jim Solomon has been busy getting married to Rachel Solar, style editor at Rue La La. The couple, who got engaged at Cedar Hill Dairy Joy in Weston, were married Sunday at a restaurant called the Place in Guilford, Conn. . . . In other nuptial news, local actor Thomas Derrah, who has been a regular in productions at the American Repertory Theater, married his partner of eight years, playwright John Kuntz, on Thursday. Derrah said it was a simple ceremony at Cambridge City Hall, and that they told family and friends via Facebook to send out good wishes and to “hug someone they love at 11:15.’’

Hot Stove warmup
Sox GM Theo Epstein last night hosted a scaled-back version of “Hot Stove Cool Music: The Summer Sessions’’ at the Bank of America Pavilion. The VIP party before the Counting Crows show included a performance by Hot Stove stars Peter Gammons and Kay Hanley. Actor Mike O’Malley, who normally MCs “Hot Stove’’ events, was MIA due to work. He just finished shooting “Eat Pray Love,’’ which stars Julia Roberts and Billy Crudup. Above, from left: Gammons, Hanley, and Epstein.

Read the Names blog at www.boston.com/namesblog. Names can be reached at names@globe.com or at 617-929-8253.

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