All over ‘Town’

Blake Lively and Ben Affleck display their team spirit on the set. Blake Lively and Ben Affleck display their team spirit on the set. (Fame Pictures)
By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
Globe Staff / September 2, 2009

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Slaine is trying to join the likes of Ludacris, Ice Cube, and Snoop Dogg in making the leap from music to movies. The Boston-bred rapper has landed a plum role in “The Town,’’ Ben Affleck’s big-screen adaptation of Chuck Hogan’s novel “Prince of Thieves.’’ “Yeah, it’s a pretty good part for me,’’ says Slaine, who plays one of four bank robbers in the film. (Affleck, Jeremy Renner, and newcomer Owen Burke are the others.) Though he had a role in Ben’s fine directorial debut, “Gone Baby Gone,’’ Slaine is not really an actor. He’s better known for his work with the hip-hop group La Coka Nostra, whose collaborators have included the likes of Snoop Dogg and Cypress Hill. “Music is my bread and butter, but acting is, like, a natural next step,’’ says Slaine, 31, a Dorchester native who lives in Roslindale these days. “I appreciate this opportunity. Ben’s obviously a great writer, an excellent director, and an established actor. I’m grateful to him for giving me a shot - twice.’’ Yesterday Affleck and his costar, “Gossip Girl’’ Blake Lively, were decked out in Sox gear and goofing around between takes.

A ‘Leap’ for Dukakis
Olympia Dukakis was in Lenox the other night to read William Coe Bigelow’s play “Leap Year’’ as part of a benefit for Shakespeare & Company. Before the performance, Dukakis, who was born in Lowell and went to BU, told us that she likes to take part in such readings. Why? “There’s very little time for a director to tell you what to do. The details haven’t been worked out,’’ said the “Moonstruck’’ star. “Decisions haven’t been made. And that, of course, creates excitement. It could create disaster.’’ Dukakis said she’s in the Hub as frequently as possible because of her many relatives, including cousin Michael Dukakis. She said her plans for the next year include teaching at Columbia University and adapting “The Tempest’’ with a female lead she’s calling Prospera.

Cruise thriller readying for rollout
Sounds like there will be some serious stunts in the Tom Cruise spy thriller that’s set to start shooting here. In one action sequence, we’re told, an 18-wheeler will flip over on the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge. Director James Mangold begins filming Cruise and costar Cameron Diaz this month, while the stunt team gets rolling in early October. The untitled movie, formerly called “Wichita,’’ will be the biggest-budget film ever shot in the Bay State.

Can you sing?
NBC is casting a wide net for a cappella groups to hum and howl on the network’s new reality show “The Sing-Off.’’ Based on an idea shopped around by Newton director Sam Weisman, the show won’t air until December, but the auditions are taking place this month. (There’s no New England date, but wannabes can audition Sept. 12 in New York, Sept. 14 in Chicago, Sept. 16 in Atlanta, or Sept. 19 in LA.) Weisman, who’s executive producing the show along with Joel Gallen of MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew’’ fame, and Deb Newmyer, said more than 200 groups have already signed up, and they run the gamut from buskers to full-blown professionals. “There are some extraordinarily talented people,’’ he said. So far, only one judge has been lined up, and that’s Ben Folds.

Bruins Milan Lucic and Tim Thomas took part yesterday in the “Swing Like Happy Gilmore Long Drive Contest’’ at Golf Country in Middleton. The event, sponsored by the Boston Bruins Foundation, gave fans three attempts to hit the ball as far as possible using an unorthodox swing like Adam Sandler’s cinematic alter ego Happy Gilmore. The fan with the longest drive got two tickets to the foundation’s upcoming golf tourney.

A Maui gig, eventually
The band’s long-term viability is very much in doubt, but Aerosmith will honor a commitment to play a free concert in Maui. The band’s Hawaii-based attorney, Jay Handlin, says Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton, and Joey Kramer will honor a court settlement to perform the show, though the date is uncertain. The show stems from a class-action suit filed by fans after Aerosmith canceled a Maui concert in September 2007 to play a show in Chicago and a lucrative private gig for Toyota on Oahu. Ever since Tyler fell off a stage in South Dakota and broke his shoulder, the status of the makeup gig, not to mention the band itself, has been up in the air. Handlin told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin: “The band will honor the commitment as soon as reasonably possible.’’

Award for Pats’ Faulk
Congrats to Pats running back Kevin Faulk , who received the Ron Burton Community Service Award at the Patriots Kickoff Gala the other night. (The award is given annually to a player for his philanthropic efforts.) The whole team, including QB Tom Brady, showed up at the event, which was held at Gillette Stadium. . . . We’re told photographer Susan Mikula, girlfriend of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, will be exhibiting her work next month at the TJ Walton Gallery in Provincetown. Two years ago, Mikula, who lives with Maddow in Western Mass., displayed her collection of oversize Polaroids at the State House. . . . Bruce Springsteen and his wife, Patti Scialfa, had dinner at Davio’s Monday with J. Geils singer Peter Wolf. The Boss and his missus were in town to bring son, Evan, back to Boston College.

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