Thursday, August 21, 2008

Luke Wilson, the best antidote

Right after my Christian Bale debacle with Rescue Dawn, I got to cover The Wendell Baker Story featuring all the Wilson boys. This was back when the company was still letting me cover indie movies with impunity and do TV interviews - those were the days.

Anyway, I figured Luke Wilson would be just the thing to pick me up after Christian Bale's 'tude, and thankfully I was right. I had an on-camera interview with him and his lesser-known brother, Andrew (he of the giant beard who is also in Idiocracy). Luke, it seems, is one of those people who is even more ridiculously gorgeous in person; I think a halo of light was actually emanating from behind his unearthly square jaw and sparkly eyes. Either that, or it was just the camera lighting.

They were chill in their chairs, laid back, and pleasant--likely because they are pleasant people and also because they like each other and it's nice to get to hang out with your brother all day if you're going to have to do trapped in a room doing interviews. We talked dog--always one of my favorite subjects--because it was Luke's dog in the movie and they warmed up especially.

In short, they restored my faith in celeb-humanity. So poo on you, Batman. That's what I say.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Clash of the Titans

Being the girl at my office, last summer I was assigned the big summer musical, i.e., Hairspray. The studio gave us roundtables, which was great. It also gave us nearly every person who ever thought about being in the movie, which was less great.

For the better part of an afternoon, we were locked in a small hotel room wherein we were to interview no less than the following:

Queen Latifah (Motormouth Maybelle), Christopher Walken (Wilbur Turnblad), James Marsden (Corny Collins), Elijah Kelley (Seaweed), Michelle Pfeiffer (Velma Von Tussel), Adam Shankman (Director, Choreographer), Craig Zadan & Neil Meron Producers), John Travolta (Edna Turnblad), Nikki Blonsky (Tracy Turnblad), Zac Efron (Link Larkin), Brittany Snow (Amber Von Tussel), Amanda Bynes (Penny Pingleton), Allison Janney (Mrs. Pingleton), Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman (Lyricists/Producers), and Leslie Dixon (Writer).

At least they took pity on us and paired a few of them up. Still, it was a looong day.
I will not, however, not repeat the same horror to you. Instead, let's just give you the Reader's Digest version, shall we?

James Marsden was: sick.
Elijah Kelley was: really, really tiny.
All the producers were: entirely forgettable and I have no idea why they trotted them out.
Allison Janney was: nice, and not entirely sure why she was there since she had such a small part in the movie
Leslie Dixon was: sporting a face so wrought with plastic surgery that it was literally all I could do not to have my mouth hanging agape in horror.
Zac Efron was: possibly wearing make up, seemed like a little surfer boy.
Brittany Snow & Amanda Bynes were both: pretty, nice, not snotty like the stereotypical 'pretty girls' in high school they play
Queen Latifah was: nice, pretty, not secretly enormously butch despite what her persona life may be.
Nikki Blonsky was: a no-show with 'food poisoning'. Foreshadowing her recent airport brawling and rumors of diva-ness? Possibly. I cannot confirm or deny. I did walk by her at the valet a couple of days later and she smiled nicely, so that obviously speaks volumes about her character.
Adam Shankman was: so flamingly gay it was hilarious. And also delightfully self-deprecating. He made a joke about his 'opus' Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and it made me love him. Admitting you took it for the paycheck? Wonderful.
Christopher Walken was: terrifying. I mean, he was nice enough, but he is still one of the only actors I saw people address by his full name ('So, Mr. Walken...') and everyone was on serious good behavior and clearly very reverential. He, on the other hand, wasn't full of himself at all; if anything, the opposite. He made some jokes about himself. But he's just definitely an oddball, so he was scary. He was also wearing a weirdly funky suit and has, as I said in my official write up, more hair than any human should be in possession of, let alone one his age.
Michelle Pfeiffer was: absolutely lovely, happy, funny, down to earth, game, joking and still unbelievably gorgeous. Either she has perfect genes or else an amazingly subtle plastic surgeon. Probably some of both, and that being the case, I really, really want to know who the plastic surgeon is.
and finally...
John Travolta was: insane. By that I don't mean he was actually crazy so much as he was totally un-self-aware. He was a nice enough guy, actually. Happy to be there. Answered all the questions. But definitely is not in touch with how he is perceived, and clearly thinks he is very much an 'actor.' We got lots and lots of him talking about how he needed to perfect Edna's look and how he got every single iron from that era and tried them out to see exactly which one she would use. Evidently he never got the memo that he is kind of a joke and that when you're playing a woman in a camp musical, maybe saying you made some poor PA search the far ends of the earth for every single possible iron you might conceivably use makes you come off as a self-important jerk.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hep old cats

For my birthday last year, I covered the junket for Feast of Love, yet another in a series of underwhelming indies. But it starred Greg Kinnear, and I figured you could do worse things with your birthday than chat with Greg Kinnear, which is perfectly logical reasoning--until he drops out of the junket.

But I'd already signed up, so junket I did. It was roundtables, and we talked to a few people, including the writer Allison Burnett (who, surprisingly, is a man, but not surprisingly has written several other piles of shit), the director - the rather legendary Robert Benton (who wrote The Ice Harvest and Kramer vs Kramer, amongst other things, and is now, sadly, leaning a little towards the doddering side), and actress Radha Mitchell who spends a good portion of the movie--as all females in this movie did--rather naked.

Then came the piece de resistance: our current friend who is recuperating from a car accident, Morgan Freeman. I'd heard that he was a terrible interview, so I was scared, and then surprised when he came in seeming as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as all get out. Not only does the man seem a good 20 years younger than I think he is, but I'm pretty sure he's cooler than me and probably more fun to party with.

Morgan sat down. He had a bottle of water, but had lost the cap for it, and was worried he'd spill the water and fry all the fancy tape recorders in front of him. I offered him the cap from my water (same type, obviously), and he tried to say no, but I informed him that he had no choice and had to accept it because it was my birthday and he had to do what I said.

This evidently was fascinating, and he started asking me questions like what my name was (we got very personal as you can tell), and then started singing Happy Birthday to me. But not the normal Happy Birthday song, some special, jazzy Morgan Freeman version of the Happy Birthday song. It was very surreal.

Then we segued into the standard junket stuff, at which point I discovered that by 'terrible interview,' my friend had meant that he was actually lovely and funny, but very skilled at evading answering anything. In addition to this, a fellow junketeer whom I didn't recognize but who was sitting next to me starting acting up. By this I mean the following:
1. I still, a year later, cannot decide what gender this person was
2. S/he smelled horrible
3. S/he had cartoonishly bucked teeth
4. S/he was obviously beside itself at getting to speak to Morgan Freeman and asked several questions (normally, we don't quite hog so much), including one 'question' which was instead informing Morgan Freeman that s/he knew his best friend, 'Dennis.' Freeman responded, 'I have a best friend Dennis?' S/he confirmed to him that indeed he did, but this did not seem to jog Freeman's memory. It was, how do you say, awkward.

Then the publicist came in to let Freeman off the hook, but before he left he room, he said, 'I forgot to ask how you all like the movie.' We all lied politely and said 'hrmrmamrm yes' because really, what kind of asshole is actually going to say, 'it sucked my ass and i wanted to kill myself in the screening room?' He seemed to pick up on the less than amazing response, however, and made a comment about how there were 10 people in the room and only 5 answered or something. Oh well.

So Morgan, hope you're recovering well. And if you need a good anesthesiologist in Memphis, let me know. I've got the hook up.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

New Zealanders invade

Last year I had a TV spot for Eagle vs Shark, a little New Zealand indie by some of the same crew as the Flight of the Conchords folk. Unfortunately, I have virtually nothing exciting to say about it.

I interviewed the writer/director Taika Waititi (who, for reasons I don't quite understand, also goes by Taika Cohen - is he an aboriginal Jew?) and star Lauren Horsley (whom, if I recall correctly, might be dating him). They were completely normal and very nice. Jemaine Clement wasn't there.

So, instead, I give you this, my favorite little Flight of the Conchords shtick: