Well folks, I'm off to sleep, I'm headed down to San Antonio to visit my grandparents who I've neglected for too long. I'll be back to update later this evening (aka Wednesday morning) but before I leave... I have one last bit for you to gnaw and chew on. MORIARTY'S wrapup of SHOWEST... I really think he has done a fantastic job these past couple of weeks, and I think it shows from the talk backs he's received. Well... here he goes...
Hey, Head Geek...
I left off my press conference coverage last time with a couple of particularly wry cracks from Bill Macy and Sean Connery. Let me assure you, faithful readers, their tongues were firmly in cheek when they were answering. Overall, there was a teasing, almost silly quality to the whole event.
To refresh your memories (I know it's been a few days since part one ran), let's review the seating on the dais. From my point of view, from left to right, it was Heather Graham, Giovanni Ribisi, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Sean Connery, John Madden, Meg Ryan, Will Smith, Jerry Bruckheimer, William H. Macy, Adam Sandler, and Peter and Bobby Farrelly. I was front row, right on the center aisle, where I could see and hear everyone.
As soon as Macy and Connery finished answering, I threw my hand up just like the other reporters. This time, though, Jim Kozak (press director for NATO and the man responsible for AICN being there) pointed at me, and I suddenly found a mic jammed in my face. I realized I was on deck. After all my eye rolling at the other questions, I felt the pressure. I had three pages of possibilities, questions for every member of the panel. Would this be my one shot for the evening? If so, I decided to make it count.
"This question is for Heather," I said, and suddenly I was the focus of those million-watt baby blues. My nerves relaxed and I gave her the Moriarty grin, turned all the way up. In a calm, clear voice, I asked, "Will you marry me?"
Or at least that's what I meant to ask. Listening to my taped playback of the press conference, it sounded more like I said, "In this summer's BOFINGER and AUSTIN POWERS, you're costarring with Eddie Murphy, Steve Martin, and Mike Myers. Do you feel pressure to be funny in these films, or did your costars make it easier for you?" This would explain her answer, which seemed odd to me at the time.
"Well, those scripts are both great, and that's what realy makes it easy." It may have been the pressure of the week and my extreme lack of sleep, but I'm fairly sure she then silently mouthed, "I love you," at me until the next question was asked.
A woman jumped up and rattled off another rapid fire question in which only key words jumped out. "Movies... movie stars... value... entertainment... movies... movies... world today" was all I got. She then added, "Mr. Connery, same question."
Sean looked at a complete loss, and thankfully Jerry Bruckheimer dove in to save him. "I think that movies today are no different in the basic cultural role that they serve than they ever have been. We're all here for the same reasons as a De Mille or a Chaplin or a D.W. Griffith. We want to be part of that communal experience, something that's shared by the whole world."
Connery said, "That's exactly what I was going to say."
Will Smith turned to Bruckheimer, surprised, and added, "That was a damn fine answer, Jerry, even if I don't know what the hell the question was." Jim Kozak used the time during the laugh that followed to call on a woman in red.
"This question is for Mr. Connery and for Catherine as well." Funny how everyone up there was called by their first names except for "Mr. Connery." I think it was just reflex for most of us. "Last year Hollywood was criticized for the consistent portrayal of older actors and much, much younger actresses being together." I could see on his face exactly how the "much, much" bugged Connery. I got ready to run in case he decided to jump the dais and slap someone around. "Did you think about this while making ENTRAPMENT?"
Catherine moved closer to Mr. Connery and hooked her arm through his. Age difference or not, they looked great together. "I knew this would come up," she purred. "I'll take this one." Mr. Connery seemed more than happy to let her hold his arm and answer. "I'm not sure what Sean feels about this, but for me, I look at him and..." She just shook her head. "What question could there be?" Connery was more than pleased by this answer. "In the first week, like on any film, we got to know each other, and then it just sort of washed over us... right, darling?"
Connery growled, "I don't remember it taking a week." Catherine laughed, squeezed his arm. If they've got this much chemistry in the film, it'll hit.
"I think there's been some great screen chemistry throughout Hollywood history between older men and younger women," she continued. "Hepburn and Tracy, Bogart and Bacall, and Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. Really, I think it can be quite lovely."
Sean's smile was totally genuine when he said, "So do I." Not waiting to be called, another reporter yelled out a follow-up question.
"Is it true you actually asked the studio to cut back on the sex between you and Miss Jones?"
"Yes," said Sean. "It was exhausting." I don't think anyone in the room laughed harder than Meg Ryan did. As she tried to compose herself, the French reporter who had confused Connery earlier jumped up and grabbed a mic.
"Mr. Connery and everyone, allow me please if you will to try this again." I honestly thought Peter Sellers had the most outrageous French accent in history, but he had nothing on this guy. "What does ShoWest mean to you? Is it a place where you just come to get awards, or is it also a place where you talk together? Do you play golf together?"
Will shot a glance down the dais at Bobby and Peter Farrelly, shaking his head, no doubt thinking back to the flashing incident on the golf course that he mentioned earlier. "It's always a great opportunity," he began, turning back to the reporter. "For instance, Meg and I sat in a little booth together and we took pictures and we talked. That's an opportunity we wouldn't have in LA." For those of you interested in those photos, check a couple of weeks back in ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. They used a lot of snapshots from that photo booth in their ShoWest piece. "We wouldn't just bump into each other at the Beverly Center and just hop into a photo booth, you know?"
Amidst some laughter, Bobby Farrelly piped in, "I know that Peter and I are hoping to get Meg into a booth later, too."
Jim Kozak, noting how late things were running, spoke up. "Okay, last question. Um... the woman in the back with the glasses." Last question? Already? Shit, I thought, I haven't even had a shot here. I want to ask John Madden what it's like to be the only person alive who's directed more STAR WARS than George Lucas. (It's true, fellow geeks... trust me). I wanted to ask Heather if she's as fearless in real life as she is in her films. I wanted to ask Adam Sandler if he cares about critics, or if $100 million grosses and the love of 14-year-olds everywhere is enough. Last question?!? But I'm just getting warmed up.
And what gem was asked instead? What nugget of wit was used to waste our last opportunity? "Hi, I'm from the local NBC affiliate, so let me ask this of Adam and Will and Peter and Bobby and anyone else who thinks they're funny. Is there anything funny about Las Vegas?" Way to go, lady. That shouldn't make anyone feel like a trained seal. Just tell them to be funny and pray for your sound bite, right?
Will Smith shot back with, "The stuff you get asked at press conferences."
Bobby Farrelly added, "I'm an expert on this, so I feel safe in saying there's nothing funny about Las Vegas."
Adam was quick to note, "I hear they have gambling here. I was thinking I might check that out."
With that, Jim Kozak stepped up. "Okay, everyone, thank you all for coming. We need to get everyone into the other room now." All the other reporters seemed to accept this and started packing up. I decided I was going to get something else -- anything else.
I scanned the faces on the dais, trying to figure out who I had the best shot at. They were standing, moving toward the exit now. Knowing that the Farrellys had read AICN when we covered THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY while it was testing, I targeted them and took my chance. I jumped the ropes that separated us from the stars and moved quickly toward the Farrellys. "Peter, Bobby... I'm from Ain't It Cool News. Do you have a minute?"
From behind me, I could hear someone yelling, "Sir? Sir? Sir? Sir?" Ahead of me, I could see someone else trying to herd Bobby and Peter out the door. I ignored everyone around me and kept moving.
"Guys... Ain't It Cool... you got a minute?" God bless Bobby Farrelly. He heard me call out that second time and turned back, stopping Peter to the visible annoyance of the red-coated press rep that was escorting them. They smiled, waved her off, then moved close enough that we could talk. "Hey, Peter. Hey, Bobby. Thanks. After THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY, is there any further you can push the envelope?"
Bobby, who seems to be the more gregarious of the brothers, spoke first. "You know, I'm looking for a quick snappy answer here, but we don't really try to push the envelope. We're not thinking, 'Oh, we've got to outdo ourselves next time.' We're just happy... y'know, we just go movie to movie."
"Well," I said, "that brings up OUTSIDE PROVIDENCE, which looks much more personal than the films you've been involved in before."
"Yeah, it's a different style entirely of movie, and, y'know, it's, it's, uh, it's not the brand of humor we've established with the first three movies," Bobby answered.
"Do you want to bridge to more serious work?" By this point, I noticed some other reporters crowding in behind me. A few mics had crept around to pick up the exchange.
"No," said Peter and Bobby together, with Bobby continuing. "It's a blip on the radar. We like doing comedies. In this case, it was something we felt like trying, and we like Michael Corrente, who directed it. He sorta said, 'Hey, do you wanna do this thing?' And it was the right time, so we did it. But it's not like, y'know, we don't have a, like a, a, we don't... we don't have a 10-year plan. Like it seems like some of these guys, they work their way into certain... we're just following our hearts."
Peter smiled. "We're absolutely without direction."
"Were you surprised Cameron Diaz didn't pick up an Oscar nomination after all her great buzz and the New York Critics Award?"
"I don't know," said Bobby. "Comedy and the Oscars, it's like... I mean, Cameron was great..."
"... and Lyn," added Peter, referring to Lyn Shaye, whose work in both KINGPIN and MARY has scarred me deeply.
"Right. You know who surprised me, though, was Ben. I mean, nobody talked about Ben. He made it look easy, but, man. I mean, he did a great job in that movie. I think that, like, when you have... I mean, I love John Travolta. I think he's a great actor, but when the Golden Globes nominated him as Best Comedic Actor... not to put him down or nothing, but come on. It's Ben. The laughs that Ben's given the world versus... John's a great actor, but it's just..." At this, Bobby's tangle of words and ideas grew so dense that he collapsed under its weight. Peter had to help him up and dust him off before I could continue.
By this point, pretty much all the reporters still in the room were jammed in behind and around me. Even so, Peter and Bobby were talking to me as if no one else were there, the two of them focused as I asked, "Since MARY is, at heart, a comedy about stalking, did you expect there would be more trouble with it than there was?"
This time, Peter was first to answer. "We never know what to expect, but we're stalkers ourselves." He got a good laugh out of Bobby with this. "That's why we find so much humor in it. We get in a lot of funny positions and circumstances that we can make movies out of."
Bobby didn't miss a beat. "You never think you're a stalker. It's funny. You look back at stuff you did, and it's, like, because of political correctness having changed so much, things are... I remember back in the late '70s, early '80s, when I was in college, there was a girl I liked. At the time, you just think, well, you know, it's nothing, but you look back now... I remember this girl I liked, I'd break into her apartment and put on her panties and walk around. I'm not thinking much of it while I'm doing it, right?" By now, Peter was pretty much helpless from laughter, leading me to suspect Bobby was only partly kidding. "I'd put a big peacock feather up my ass, lay on her bed, ejaculate on her pillow, and run out the window. Now you look back, and by today's standards, you know, I'd be put in jail. It's an evolution, really, and you never know how people are going to perceive things."
"Well," I said, "I'm sure we all feel safer knowing you channel it into your art now." With that, we shook hands and the press reps finally managed to steer the brothers away, ending the press conference completely.
This means we're finally down to just the Awards Ceremony and the Miramax luncheon. Thanks to my newly perfected cloning technique, I finally have the time to finish all these articles this week. Expect the other ShoWest pieces tomorrow and a HUGE interview with Brad Bird, the gifted director of IRON GIANT, later in the week. Until then...