Every once in a while I get to hang out with the “beautiful people” – the actors and directors and various other filmmakers who churn out Hollywood entertainment.
They don’t do it for fun; they do it to promote their new movies, during two- or three- day events called junkets. My job is to interview them, then produce a puff piece in advance of the movie’s release that’s supposed to get people interested in seeing it, no matter what the critics say.
I’m sitting in the lounge at the Four Seasons, sipping a Manhattan, reading about “Source Code,” which stars Jake Gyllenhaal, when Jake Gyllenhaal walks by with a stunningly beautiful woman at his side. Weird moment, because I couldn’t figure out who to look at: the beauty or the star.
Ten minutes later, Robert Duvall sauntered in and sat down, as, I was later told, he does almost every weekend.
On another day there was more than just star gazing. I watched “Arthur,” took part in an interview session with Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, and others from the film, then headed back toward my hotel room. I got on the elevator, and Mirren walked on right after me. Truth be told, I was a bit star struck, having had a crush on her since 1973. But I immediately built up my nerve.
“Excuse me, Miss Mirren,” I said. “I thought you’d like to know I recently hosted a screening of ‘O Lucky Man!’ at my home” – referring to the 1973 movie she was in that started that crush.
“Oh, that was a wonderful film,” she said, smiling, apparently surprised that anyone remembered it. “It was so far ahead of its time, and still stands up. Well, maybe except for the outfits.”
We spoke about it from the 15th floor down to the first. She was gracious, engaging and, at 65, looking great. And my crush is stronger than ever.
*Weirdest quote of the junket – Russell Brand, talking about a scene in “Arthur” where he got to put on the actual Batman outfit George Clooney wore in “Batman & Robin” “I enjoyed wearing the suit because it had Clooney musk in it. It had the aroma, the pheromones of George Clooney, and I like to think that I may have absorbed them.”
Ed Symkus is a longtime West Roxbury resident and a freelance writer who covers the film industry.