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Filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson and actor Philip Seymour Hoffman arrived at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Monday night to have a lively, expletive-peppered chat with a sold-out audience about Anderson’s 2002 film "Punch-Drunk Love."

The film, which stars Adam Sandler and Emily Watson in an unlikely romance, features Hoffman in the villainous role of Dean Trumbell, a mattress salesman cum shakedown guy who masterminds a plot to blackmail Sandler after his character calls a phone sex line.

"I was working from a place of anger," Anderson said wryly about writing the script. "I was not seeing anything good in romance movies. I said, ’I’ll f--- show you how it’s done.’" Anderson won Best Director at the Cannes Film Fest for his black comedy.

Among the members of their posse in attendance at the Q&A was "Saturday Night Live" cast member Maya Rudolph, a scream when impersonating Donatella Versace or the angst-filled teen Megan on "Wake up Wakefield." (Anderson’s film also features a cameo by Robert Smigel, of SNL’s "TV Funhouse" cartoons and "Triumph the Insult Comic Dog" fame, in the role of Sandler’s brother-in-law.)

Anderson has cast Hoffman in all of his feature-length films to date: "Magnolia" (1999), "Boogie Nights" (1997) and "Hard Eight" (1997). Anderson said he first noticed Hoffman and wanted to work with him when he saw the actor in 1992’s "Scent of a Woman." The admiration appears to be mutual, as Hoffman said he wanted to know more about Anderson after seeing his 1993 short film, "Cigarettes and Coffee," at Sundance.

"We’re more friends than anything," said Hoffman. "As much as I hate it, there’s a knowledge of me [Anderson] put there [in the role of Dean]."

Both Hoffman and Anderson agreed that the film was larger than life, more along the lines of a fairytale - albeit a comical Grimms fairytale.

"[Sandler’s character]’s got to face his dark side, and I’m that," said Hoffman. "I’m more of a mythical character. I’m part of him. I understood that I stand for something. If you confront me, I go away. It’s a powerful moment."

Anderson said he had also been wanting to work with Sandler, although he described himself as "not a big ’Waterboy’ fan."

Other inside scoops: after Sandler punches up a restaurant bathroom, his bloody knuckles read "L-O-V-E."

"It was for continuity, so the cuts would look the same in every shot," explained Anderson. "Then I realized it was in ’Night of the Hunter’ and ’Do the Right Thing.’ I hoped it was cool, but in case it was corny, we make it go by really fast."

The "Punch-Drunk Love" DVD, which includes two deleted scenes, arrives in stores this week.


Doctors are in

Television host extraordinaire Regis Philbin ("Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" and "Live with Regis and Kelly") was honored at the annual Joe DiMaggio Award Dinner on June 10 at the Marriott Marquis in Manhattan.

The dinner raised $400,000 for Xaverian High School’s Joe DiMaggio Scholarship Fund and the Bay Ridge school’s Reach Education Achievement (REACH) program for college-bound students with learning disabilities.

Philbin, accompanied by his wife, Joy Philbin, marveled at the number of doctors, some of them his own, on the dais and their support for Xaverian.

"Dr. Andrew Weiland is my elbow man," Philbin told GO Brooklyn, gesturing to the professor of orthopedics and plastic surgery at New York Presbyterian Hospital. "I’m so impressed."

Philbin recalled growing up in the Bronx and bonding with his father over baseball.

"For a nickel, you could take the train," said Philbin. "The Yankees came out of the dugout and my father said, ’Watch DiMaggio.’ It was the most graceful thing you ever saw [DiMaggio] had a big influence on my life and how he handled his success. He had a lot of class."

Baseball Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda, former manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, presented a crystal baseball bat to Philbin along with a kiss on the cheek. The garrulous Lasorda also offered the crowd a stand-up routine of surprisingly well received jokes poking fun at all things Catholic.

The audience was happy to have Jim Ryan, anchor of FOX-5’s "Good Day New York," back as master of ceremonies. Ryan apologized for missing last year’s event due to a heart ailment. He introduced his cardiologist, Dr. Jeffrey Borer, co-chairman of the gala, and his heart surgeon, Dr. Wayne Isom, of Weill Cornell Medical Center, who, he said, made him "an official member of the zipper club."

Among the 700 gala-goers were Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca; Steve Harrison, class of ’66, and chairman of Community Board 10 in Bay Ridge, who is also a Xaverian trustee; artist Igor Babailov who presented Philbin with a portrait he painted of him (and the Brooklyn Bridge); podiatrist-to-the-stars Rock Positano (Class of ’76); state Sen. Marty Golden; Rabbi Joseph Potasnik; Daily News cartoonist Bill Gallo; Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta; restaurateur Angelo Vivolo; "French Connection" inspiration Sonny Grosso (Roy Scheider’s part was based on him); Brooklyn’s own Tony Lo Bianco ("The French Connection," "The Seven-Ups"); Roseanne Colletti of WNBC-TV news; and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

The late Yankee Clipper was introduced to the all-boys Catholic high school by Positano, who met DiMaggio in 1989 when the retired baseball great sought medical attention for his chronic heel ailment. Positano was again chairman of this year’s fourth annual event, and told the crowd that Philbin "did have pretty feet."

Morris Engelberg, executor of the Joe DiMaggio estate, kept the sports hero’s legacy alive by recalling his own personal anecdotes.

"His only love was Marilyn [Monroe], and his only weakness was children," said Engelberg. "I knew him for 16 years, and I held him in my arms when he died." Engelberg also shared with the mostly male audience the intimate detail that the Yankee Clipper held both of his sons for their circumcisions.

He also gave a cancelled check to Philbin, pointing out DiMaggio’s signature on it.


Summer soiree

Co-chairs Emma Bloomberg and Vogue Fashion Editor Sally Singer are inviting 20- and 30-somethings to Summer Soiree, a Junior League benefit for the Campaign for Prospect Park 2001-2005, which has the ambitious goal of trying to raise $116 million to support all of the park’s programs, capital projects and maintenance needs over five years.

The Soiree, to be held at the park’s boathouse on July 24, will offer young park enthusiasts an opportunity to mix and mingle, dance to the tunes of DJs from Park Slope’s Southpaw nightclub on the patio overlooking the Lullwater, enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, and enjoy leisurely rides on the canopied electric boat, The Independence.

Tickets are $35 and up. For information call Amanda Eisen at (718) 965-7712 or Jessie Betts at (718) 965-8988.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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