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The Insider

May 26, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Producer Tom Fontana tossed a party last week in honor of B.D. Wong, the actor (Law & Order) who proves to be an utterly charming, engaging, inventive and affecting writer in Following Foo: The Electronic Adventures of the Chestnut Man (HarperCollins). It’s a book inspired by the e-mail he wrote to friends and family about his path to parenthood, which produced extraordinary tragedy and triumph.
For a first-time author Mr. Wong makes the act of writing seem so easy that The Insider would have had to talk her inner green monster back into its dark, dank little corner had Mr. Wong’s pleasure in the evening and in his accomplishment not been so apparent and infectious.
At Ruby Foo’s on the Upper West Side, the mezzanine quickly filled with a crowd that included a particularly petite Edie Falco and a particularly attentive Stanley Tucci, Jill Clayburgh, Victor Garber (Alias) and such Wong co-stars as uncharacteristically short-haired Harold Perrineau (Oz), Christopher Meloni (Oz and Law & Order: SVU), and Richard Belzer, Dann Florek and Stephanie March (all SVU). Jason Biggs had a handful of young girls in a nonstop flutter and chatted and posed for photos so winningly that The Insider had to order her inner cynic back into its dark, dank little corner for the night.
But of course the big star was Mr. Wong. “It was liberating,” he said of the writing. He would like to do another book. The Insider suspects a lot of people will second that notion. As John Lithgow puts it in a back-cover blurb: “In his first book, B.D. Wong befriends the world.”
Exit Line for Punch Line
The lightning round of changes to shows picked up for next fall has begun. Though most changes-well, except that chorus line of axes falling on the higher-priced cast members of The Practice-are not yet ready for official comment, The Insider has it on good authority that one of the eyebrow-raising jokes from Back to Kansas is headed for the cutting room floor.
The idea of the sitcom is to milk laughs from presumed regional culture clashes and religious differences. In one scene, star Breckin Meyer’s big-city character is trying to adapt to his new Midwestern in-laws. They are Bible toters, one of whom says: “Now, the Jews, aren’t they the ones who killed our Lord?” To which Mr. Meyer’s character retorts: “He got better. It was just for a weekend. Then he came back.”