|by Scott Weinberg
I got to attend three parties while I was at Sundance 2003: two that were promoting festival flicks, and one sponsored by Variety Magazine. The first two afforded me the opportunity to meet a handful of very cool celebrities; the third one had really good food.
I'm not a shy guy by nature, and I don't normally quiver at the sight of a famous face. If I were to run into Bill Cosby at a local deli, I'd most likely just say nothing and not bug the guy. But there's lots of free-flowing alcohol at Sundance, as well as several ever-grinning actors hoping to hawk their latest flick - which means I made the rounds more than once. Here's who was fortunate enough to be within my immediate vicinity for over four minutes:
David Arquette: Told him I thought Eight Legged Freaks deserved a bigger payday. He looked at me for a few seconds - to gauge whether I was sincere or mocking - and said thanks. (He mentioned that it was a movie that he'd normally love to go see, and that's why he chose the project.) Once I realized that he saw me as a non-crackpot, I asked where his wife was. He smirked and said "She's at home, you!"
Illeana Douglas: She's directed a short film called "Devil Talk" and fortunately I'd seen it on a screener tape the night before. When I told her it was the funniest short I'd seen all festival, she was skeptical - as it hadn't been 'officially' shown yet. When I explained that I was a writer, she flashed a massive smile and was all "Hey Thanks!" (Sexy lady, btw.)
Allesandro Nivola - (I didn't recognize him at first!) - Told him (with a cockeyed smile) that I found Face/Off unrealistic solely because he looks nothing like Nicolas Cage. Fortunately for me, he got the joke.
Tim Blake Nelson - (Who is even shorter than he looks onscreen!) - Just shared appreciative banter with him: "Loved your turn in O Brother... Hey, the Coens and Spielberg love ya..." That sorta thing. Seems like a sincerely nice guy.
...and then there was Emily Mortimer, the only one who had me initially tongue-tied. (I pride myself on not going ga-ga for celebrities - at least not in their presence anyway.)
She asked me if I'd seen A Foreign Affair yet, to which I replied "No, there was no press screener available, though I'll be at the screening tomorrow." That's what it sounded like in my brain anyway. I think it came out more like "No yet. Preener umbailable...kreening morrow."
Since I was at the bar ordering a drink, I had a clear reason to sit and talk with her more - which was nice. I mentioned that I'd recently seen Lovely & Amazing, but since Emily strips down to her entire birthday suit in that movie, I was immediately embarrassed that I brought it up. All my feverish brain could recall was her role in The Kid, plus only an imbecile would mumble something like "Hey, I loved you in Scream 3!"
The rest of the exchange was stuff like "Good luck with the movie", "Looking forward to your next role", and "Oh dear sweet Jesus will you marry me", although I think that last one was only in my head.
It was at a different party that I met a celebrity who disproves the "actors are jerks" theory:
Ron Livingston! Now, when one talks to famous people there's generally a "get away from me" vibe - no matter how friendly they are on the surface. Not so with Ron. My friend Erik and I sat and talked with him for a good half hour. The topics should be obvious: Swingers, Office Space, Band of Brothers, and Adaptation. More than once I felt we should walk away and leave the guy in peace, but he kept on talkin' movies so we had a grand old time.
The last actor I got to have an actual talk with is a relatively unknown TV actress named Sabrina Lloyd - and if I weren't already engaged to Emily Mortimer this cutie would have to file a restraining order on me. (TV fans know her from Ed, Sliders, and Sports Night.) She was at the festival promoting a new movie called Dopamine, and I think actors are ordered to be civil to those with press passes. Either way, she came off like a sassy girl-next-door type and was totally down-to-earth.
You'll spot celebrities every 25 feet at Sundance; the first night we were there, Dustin Hoffman was ten feet away while my friends and I drank beer. We considered approaching him, but we had no good reason to - so we didn't. (I really wanted to tell him that I thought Ishtar a very underrated film; my friends were mortified that I'd actually do it.) We saw Harvey Weinstein cavorting around Main Street in jeans and a greasy T-shirt, Natasha Lyonne standing in front of a coffee house (lookin' sexy), Pauly Shore begging strangers to come see his off-festival movie, Katie Holmes in the hotel lobby looking ten times swankier (and taller) than one would ever expect, and a host of other "Hey isn't that...?" situations.
Oh, and I met the woman who penned the screenplay for Disney's upcoming remake of Freaky Friday. She was very pretty and had a cell phone.
link directly to this feature at http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=691
originally posted: 02/12/03 18:38:50
last updated: 12/31/03 08:08:06