Thursday, October 30, 2008

Jeff Bridges, you torture me so

This week I'm writing a little bio documentary that will appear on cable. This is relatively fun, with the exception that I'm holed up in my basement. And that is making me come to Jesus on the fact that while for some people, working in your pajamas with no real boss is a dream job, and while I've successfully done that before and for extended periods of time, my natural demeanor requires more human interaction.

The assignment works like this: big studio tells me they want a ~ 3 minute bio thing with photos and movie clips set against voice over about an individual's acting/directing/whatever craft. They tell me who said individual is (in this case, Jeff Bridges) and then which 3-4 of his movies I will use, the idea being that they will run this little 3 minute thing on their cable station before they run one of said movies.

As this is my second of such gigs, I am beginning to get the idea that the movies they select are only the most terrible and most forgotten of any actor's cannon. I am beginning to get the idea that said studio primarily owns only the most terrible and most forgotten projects in filmdom.

As a result, this means that I have to not only watch said terrible movies, but then I have to spend like days with them watching them over and over and selecting clips from them. Yes, I know, a true First World Problem. But anyhow.

The terrible movies in this case are: Thunderbolt & Lightfoot, Rancho Deluxe and Wild Bill. I hadn't heard of them, either. I have now spent several days locked in my basement with these movies and interviews with him about these movies and it is appearing to have an unfortunate effect on my psyche.

I think, however, the thing that depresses me the most is that said studio has a policy of requiring that I do things like comb the internet for YouTube videos of interviews with said actors and whatnot to find out the information I need in lieu of just going right to the horse's mouth. I can't help but think it would be much more efficient to call up said actors' agents and say things like 'Big studio wants some quotes for a thing on their cable station' and hope said agent will go, 'ok' and set it up. Evidently big studio doesn't think so.

Ah well, it's a cherry gig anyhow. What the @#$ am I bitching about?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The delectable Mr. Hawke

Last night I had a dream about Ethan Hawke. I do not know why I dreamt about him, but eventually my psyche was purging the leftovers of the crush I had on him when I was 19 and thick on the throes of my greasy man phase.

I interviewed Mr. Hawke last year when his film adapation of his novel, The Hottest State, came out. I've heard that sometimes he can not be the best interview, but he was quite game and up for it this time--likely because it was an indie that he directed from a book he wrote, so he obviously really cared about the project.

However, while we were waiting for them to set the cameras and all that, I mentioned to him that my grandmother's best friend, Gertrude (of course), was the grandmother of his friend -- the playwright Jonathan Marc Sherman--a friend with whom, amongst other things, did a quick cameo in The Hottest State. When I was in high school, I'd seen (and loved) this play by Sherman called Women and Wallace--fairly autobiographical, about a guy whose mother kills herself when he's a child and the ripple effects it has in his life, his relationships with women, etc. I saw it at Festival (aka The New England High School Drama Festival--a competition for the drama nerds such as myself) and immediatley loved it.

Well, fast forward a couple of years and I discover that Sherman, this playwright I totally revere, is Gertrude's grandson. Gertrude, whom my grandmother had shlepped me and my cousins to visit all the time as kids. What's more, my aunt was actually besties with his mother and was even in her wedding--the very same mother who did kill herself and inspired the play, etc. etc. Oh, how it all comes full circle.

So, I give a very abbreviated version of this to Ethan Hawke. He initially is skeptical, asks me where I'm from (Boston), Gertrude's last name, etc. When I have provided sufficient info, he suddenly realizes I'm legit and goes, 'That's why he's always so into the Red Sox!"

Then we do the interview on camera, he's lovely, blah blah. And when our four minutes are up, he is so psyched to get right back into talking about JMS--gets up out of his chair to keep talking to me, walks me out, tells me how great a playwright JMS is, that he had a bit of a writer's block for a while, but has finally just written something else great the he (Ethan) is going to be directing in the fall, that I should come see it, etc.

In short, it was pretty damn cool. I promptly got my car out of valet and called my best friend from high school and gushed about how nice he was to me. Another one of those days you wish you could package up in a time machine and send back to your angst-ridden teenage self so you know things will work out.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Doogie Howser you're my hero

Even though I've gotten used to doing this, it's still fun when you get to meet someone you watched on TV or in movies a zillion times when you were a kid. Witness: Doogie Howser, with whom I had a 1:1 for Harold & Kumar 2.

The general junket format for this one was roundtables, so we got to talk to the writers (funny), Harold (aka John Cho) whom we barraged with Star Trek questions (he's playing Sulu in the JJ Abrams remake), Neil Patrick Harris (ie Doogie himself) and also Rob Corddry (formerly of The Daily Show).

It wasn't exactly like getting to meet Ewan McGregor or anything (whom I still haven't interviewed, and thus cannot die fulfilled yet), but it is still trippy and fun. Ah, watching Doogie do useful things with himself and then type up his diary on that old dinosaur computer while I was trapped in dull suburbia. Those were the days indeed.

And it's days like the Harold & Kumar 2 junket that make me feel like the world isn't a terrible place, as not only did I get to chat with sir Doogie, but I had an exclusive with him, too. He had a cold, but was doing his best to be game and was very nice and normal. Sadly for me, he wasn't nearly excited enough when I told him I used to stage manage his boyfriend in college (his bf is David Burtka, who was in a couple of my MUSKET shows in college), which is weird because when I told Ethan Hawke that his friend was my grandmother's best friend's grandson, he basically wanted to talk to me about that for an hour. What? Not every celebrity is the same? Shocker.

Aside: I actually saw Rob Corddry a couple of weeks later at a MOTH show in Hollywood that he was judging. I marched up and told him that I'd been at the H&K junket, and he was very nice and happy to chat with me and we stood around small talking over drinks while we waited for the show to begin. This is my insane life.