Unlucky Messing has scene tanked

After all she went through, Debra Messing‘s mermaid scene got deep-sixed in “Lucky You.”

During filming at the Silverton casino two years ago, the “Will & Grace” co-star needed a hypnotist to help her conquer her phobias of fish and deep water.

She spent 16 hours in a mermaid costume while shooting an aquatic showgirl scene in the Silverton’s 117,000-gallon mermaid tank.

But it was all for naught.

“I was extremely sorry to lose it,” director Curtis Hanson told Review-Journal film critic Carol Cling. “But there was no way to keep in the aquarium thing without the scene that followed it.”

So both scenes were cut.

Messing plays the sister of Drew Barrymore‘s character, a wannabe Vegas lounge singer.

Barrymore had her own challenges, Hanson said; a lack of singing ability almost stopped her from accepting the role.

Hanson, who was nominated for an Oscar for directing “L.A. Confidential,” said he persuaded Barrymore by reassuring her, “All you have to do is be good enough to put the lyrics across as an actress,” because “if you could sing, with your looks, you’d be a huge (music) star.” It was a huge challenge.

“She worked hard to get to the level of Dino’s,” he said, referring to the downtown dive that plays a prominent role in the film.

But Barrymore winds up in heady company on the “Lucky You” soundtrack, singing alongside such music legends as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Kris Kristofferson and George Jones.

TIME CAPSULE TREASURE

Carolyn Schneider of Las Vegas had more than a passing interest in the article about the Sands that appeared in the R-J’s Sunday edition.

She’s been researching the Sands because her uncle, Bing Crosby, was a headlining regular there.

The main photo that accompanied the feature was taken in 1953, she said, the year a time capsule was buried on the hotel grounds for its first anniversary.

“Hotel executive Jack Entratter and Sands headliner Tallulah Bankhead placed the following items in the 12-foot rocket shaped aluminum capsule: a pair of Ray Bolger‘s dancing shoes, a wax impression of Jimmy Durante‘s nose, Sugar Ray Robinson‘s gloves with which he won the middle weight crown, and one of Bing Crosby‘s pipes.”

Buried and forgotten until the late 1970s, the capsule was discovered during a construction job at the Sands.

It was opened at that time, she said, and a few new items were added before reburial.

The Sands was imploded in 1996, and The Venetian was built in its place. No one seems to know whether the time capsule was removed at that time or whether it now lies beneath the Venetian.

If you have any information about the capsule, contact me because Schneider really would like to have the pipe.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

CityLife news editor Matt O’Brien will sign copies of his new book, “Beneath the Neon: Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas,” from 8 to 10 p.m. today at CityLife’s First Friday booth, north of the Funk House. Published by Huntington Press, the book will be sold by Stephens Press (702-387-5260 or www.stephenspress.com) through May. After that it’s available through Huntington Press and in bookstores. Full disclosure: CityLife is owned by Stephens Media LLC, which owns the R-J. …

Tuesday’s item about Michael O’Brian moving over to the morning slot at KKLZ-FM 96.3 had the incorrect dial frequency for KSTJ-FM 102.7.

SIGHTINGS

Joe Piscopo, going into the audience to have Robert Goulet join him for “New York-New York” finale Tuesday night at the Shimmer Cabaret (Hilton). … Yes, that was Gov. Jim Gibbons back at McCormick & Schmick’s seafood restaurant the other day. Once a regular at the eatery, he hadn’t been back since the Oct. 13 visit that created a firestorm when cocktail waitress Chrissy Mazzeo alleged he assaulted her in the parking garage.

THE PUNCH LINE

“The pope is coming to New York City. The city is already doing tests to make sure his hat will fit through the Midtown Tunnel.” — David Letterman

Norm Clarke can be reached at 383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.

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