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October 17, 2017

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Strip Scribbles: Stars descend on Strip, downtown casinos to make movie magic


Golden Gate

Mark Ruffalo and dancing dealers during “Now You See Me” filming at Golden Gate on Tuesday, April 10, 2012.

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  • Check out Robin Leach's for more celebrity and A&E coverage.

'Now You See Me' at Golden Gate

Mark Ruffalo during Launch slideshow »

Gazillionaire, Tony Hsieh and Golden Shoes

The Gazillionaire presents golden alligator shoes to Tony Hsieh. Launch slideshow »

Jeff Trachta

Lingerie Bowl VIII

Marirose Roach, left, of the Philadelphia Passion puts the pressure on quarterback Ashley Salerno of the Los Angeles Temptation during the Lingerie Bowl VIII at the Thomas & Mack Center Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011. The event was a pay-per-view show that could be ordered at half-time of Super Bowl XLV. The Las Vegas Sin, an expansion team, will join the Lingerie Football League this fall. Launch slideshow »

First it was Steve Carell and Jim Carrey in “Burt Wonderstone” filmed at Planet Hollywood and Bally’s. Now it’s Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher and Dave Franco at Aria filming scenes on the casino floor and at the main porte cochere for the upcoming “Now You See Me.”

The action-thriller, which also filmed at Golden Gate on Tuesday, pits an elite FBI squad in a game of cat-and-mouse against “The Four Horsemen,” a super-team of the world’s greatest illusionists who pull off a series of heists against corrupt business leaders during their performances and showers the stolen profits on audiences while staying one step ahead of the law. The movie also features Mark Ruffalo, Melanie Laurent, Common and Academy Award winners Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman.

“Burt Wonderstone” features Jim as a hot, rising magician with a love of dangerous stunts (Criss Angel, anybody?). He steals the spotlight from fading veteran Strip headliner Steve. The film, directed by Don Scardino, also stars Steve Buscemi and James Gandolfini as the billionaire owner of a casino where the magicians perform.

The cast researched their roles before filming began here in January with Criss, Nathan Burton, Mirage President Felix Rappaport and philanthropist Larry Ruvo, who gave James a tour of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Comedians Brad Garrett and Jay Mohr also appear in the film, as does David Copperfield playing himself.

Filming included the Steves inside a see-through suspended box. The movie wrapped in March and is due for a late-summer release. Meantime on Tuesday,

Mark Ruffalo and Chris Browning were at Golden Gate filming scenes for “Now You See Me.” Cast and crew worked into the early morning filming a chase scene through the vintage casino floor and spilling out onto Fremont Street. Golden Gate co-owner Derek Stevens was even recruited as an extra.


Are three very well heeled individuals and companies interested suitors in a Strip hotel casino property? I’m reliably told that one eligible lady has been seen there kicking the tires several times anonymously in recent weeks. The first two candidates for the reality TV series “Power Players” to be filmed here in place of “The Real Housewives of Las Vegas” are yogurt mogul Dina Mitchell and Debra Root, wife of Libertarian vice presidential candidate Wayne Root.

An offer is out to former Miss Oklahoma Jill Barnhardt, who runs Red Rock Reality. The casting and talent agents at Evolution Media promise that the new docu-series will explore the power elite’s glitzy life and air on a cable network not yet named.

They are still searching for casino and hotel moguls, nightclub owners, executive chefs, producers and headliners and other high rollers. I’m hearing that Adrienne Maloof will be on the show in some capacity while still continuing “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” produced by Evolution. One hotel owner and his wife and one show producer and his wife have nixed participating.

The Gazillionaire from “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace swears that the golden alligator shoes he had made for mogul Tony Hsieh are beyond priceless and can’t be duplicated. The eccentric showman said he had the one-of-a-kind footwear made. Gaz and his crazy circus cast recently donated his Bar Vendome to First Friday.

Gaz says Tony’s reaction has persuaded him to start a Golden Shoe Club, an exclusive award for the richest and most elite people of Las Vegas. Tony’s shoes were personalized with a stack of poker chips, dice and -- for some inexplicable reason -- a sculptured head of Al Capone! Gaz boasts the shoes will only be presented to the stars and not kept by them. He plans a museum to put them all on show.

NEW PALMS IMPRESSIONIST: Comedy impressionist Jeff Tracta has landed a run at the Pearl in the Palms, and here’s a video of his unique act. I swear Jeff plays every character you see here, and he’ll dance and sing in different voices when he performs at the Palms. It’s a new electronic twist on impressions and impersonations.

Jeff will be here for four nights May 17-20. Jeff, who won raves when he recently opened for Liza Minnelli at the former Las Vegas Hilton, appeared for years on “The Bold and the Beautiful.” The Palms is hoping that he’ll be such a success there, too, that his show will become a regular residency several times a year to fill the theater mid-week.

8/7/10 Project Dinner Table: El Cortez Walkway and Emergency Arts

Project Dinner Table at El Cortez Walkway and the Emergency Arts Building on Aug. 7, 2010. Launch slideshow »

Mike Tyson to Star in 'Undisputed Truth'

Mike Tyson. Launch slideshow »

ALL-TIME QUARTERBACKS: In its first three seasons, the Lingerie Football League headquartered here has become the fastest-growing sports league in the U.S. per Business Week, and now LFL Films is presenting its Top Five all-time quarterbacks. Our Nikki Johnson of the Las Vegas Sin was ranked second behind Ashley Salerno of the Los Angeles Temptation, who have won the last two Lingerie Bowl championships.

LFL Chairman and founder Mitch Mortaza told me, “The success or failure of a franchise largely rests on the performance of one person -- the quarterback. No other position affects the game’s outcome more. They dazzle fans with 40-yard bombs and rip their hearts out when they make a mind-boggling mistake. … We look at them as football royalty -- the gorgeous generals of the gridiron.”

CHEFS LINEUP: Project Dinner Table has selected its summer lineup of chefs. It begins Saturday with French culinary king Michel Richard and Todd Harrington from Central at Caesars Palace atop the downtown Molasky building. This year’s lineup includes Royden Ellamar from Sensi at the Bellagio; Edmund Wong of the Bellagio; Jeff Walter of the Cosmopolitan; Phillip Norsetter of Red Rock Resort; Gina Gavan, PDT founder; Geno Bernardo of Nove Italiano at the Palms; and Brian Howard of Comme Ca at the Cosmopolitan.


The mobile John Lennon Educational Tour Bus complete with a recording studio to showcase video and audio production, rolls up to the front entryway of the Mirage for a four-day teaching visit, and punk rock reigns supreme with Zeds Dead, AraabMuzik, Omar Linx and XI on the Living Dead Tour at Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip.


Our candid and explosive interview with boxing legend and Las Vegas resident Mike Tyson just 24 hours before curtain up on his one-man show “Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth -- Live on Stage” opening at MGM Grand on Friday. Plus, previews of the CBS special “ACM Presents: Lionel Richie & Friends” and “Dancing With the Stars: Live in Las Vegas” fox-trotting to the start of its 12-week run at the Tropicana.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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