Getting Yelled at By Celebrities at Sundance Stardust Memories:
Part 1. Pierce Brosnan
I am not attending the Sundance Film Festival this year, and as previously noted, I am not at all bitter about that.
The annual advent of Sundance brings back many wonderful memories: some unforgettable movies, nights riding the wrong shuttle bus to distant snowy reaches, the comradery with fellow reporters that can only be had when you are travelling on someone else’s dime, plates of free short ribs.
But most of all when I think back on the Sundance Festival, I remember a two to six years younger version of myself getting yelled and by celebrities. I see myself - idealistic, filled with excitement, cold, under-slept; trying to do a very silly job of interviewing actors in a city that basically becomes a giant gang interview mosh pit pegged to the screenings of some independent films. And I see a slightly younger self doing such a bad job of it that every year numerous stars have felt the need to scold me, berate me, flee from me and threaten me with violence.
So come if you will and walk with me up the hill from Salt Lake, to a magical little faux Western town, where exhausted reporters struggle to stay awake during screenings of teenage relationship dramas and where free diamond plated iPhone holders fall on celebrities like teardrops from heaven.
These then are my Tales of Being Yelled at By Celebrities at the Sundance Film Festival. Part One: Pierce Brosnan.
Three’ish years ago, I was at the Festival for my employer the Los Angeles Times, editing and contributing to their Sundance Festival blog. Since the paper’s big serious film critics had decreed that only they were allowed to issue opinions on the films screened (even if they could only be bothered to grace us with their opinions of maybe five percent of the films shown at the festival) that left the rest of us to fill in gaps where we could…Largely with “scene” coverage. So that year, I went to a lot of parties and “events” and wrote about them. A fine day’s work, except for the getting yelled at by celebrities part.
On one particular night, I attended the Bon Appetite Supper Club, an event in which each night a celebrity chef (more celebrities!) cooked a dinner for 60’ish in honor of some movie or other. I learned upon my arrival that we would be dining upon the work of celebrity chef John Besh in honor of the film The Greatest, starring celebrities Pierce Brosnan and Susan Sarandon.
Before the dinner, I mingled awkwardly during the cocktail hour, clinging to a wall as the cast and crew of the film and whoever else gets invited to these things schmoozed. After a bit, the event’s publicist came over and asked if I would like to chat with Pierce. I said, of course, I would be delighted to talk to Mr. Bond. She walked me across the room to him and we were introduced for a conversation that went more or less like this:
ME: Very nice to meet you.
PIERCE BROSNAN: So what did you think of the film?
M: I’m sorry. I didn’t actually see it.
M: But I hear great things.
PB: Well, I don’t understand, what are you writing about then?
M: You know, the scene. The ambiance. The celebration of what a great film it was.
P: But if you haven’t seen it, what can we possibly talk about?
M: I’m sure we’ll think of something.
P: But this is just absurd.
M: It happens all the time… So tell me about the movie…
(Pierce Brosnan throws up his hands and storms across the room. I watch him corner the publicist, gesticulating wildly, face turning red with anger and confusion. Finally when his arms are waved out, the publicist leads him back to me.)
M: We don’t have to do this if it’s a problem.
Pub: No, it’s fine. You guys just talk. (Exits scene)
M: Sooooo…How did you get involved with this film?
P: (Spits, coughs, guffaws) Well, that story isn’t going to make a bit of sense to you since you haven’t seen it.
M: Try me.
P: Alright (rolls his eyes). (Tells a very long story about how he got involved with the film. Short version: He read the script and liked it.)
M: I think I can follow that. Great to meet you.
Next up: Gifting with David Boreanaz