Honey, I’m Home, or Swimming Pools, Movie Stars
I shouldn’t have been shaky about covering the junket for Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters 3D
this past weekend. I mean, while I may have taken public transportation to the Four Seasons — the site of the junket — I’m not exactly fresh off the bus. I’ve been doing this for a long time.
If I’d rolled up to the hotel in a Jaguar instead of the Metro 720, my heart might have been less poundy, but I doubt it. It’s been three years since I’ve been anywhere near a movie star and, back then, the movie stars in my orbit were mostly pop stars angling for a crossover. (It’s not all that much of a challenge to talk to Jon Bon Jovi, Mariah Carey or Christina Aguilera — those interviews require just one question, and it doesn’t matter what it is. I could ask each of those people what they’d eaten for breakfast, and each answer would be the same: “I’ve always wanted to act.”)
I know the Four Seasons well. I have a two-decade history of debauchery there, and, although I was apprehensive about the junket, I was soothed by the familiarity of the location. When I got into the elevator, it got better — I was surrounded by camera-ready men and women wearing credentials and talking smack, and I felt, finally, like I was back where I belonged.
But, despite the incredibly welcoming and efficient Paramount people and the presence of cookies, I was quaking again when I got to the hospitality suite. I’d arrived 30 minutes early, which wasn’t a good idea: it gave me an additional 30 minutes to psyche myself out. By the time I was on deck for my interview with Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton — a/k/a Hansel and Gretel — I’d convinced myself that I was wholly incapable of conducting four-minute interviews about an action film based on a fairy tale.
“What drew you towards this film?” I imagined myself asking Jeremy.
“What drew me towards this film? Really? Is that the best you can do?” he’d respond, going dead in the eyes as I smartly directed my next question to Gemma.
“Do you have memories of reading Hansel and Gretel as a child?” I’d ask.
“No, I suffer from amnesia, and, god willing, I will forget about this horrible interview and your very existence the moment you leave the room,” she’d say, looking at her publicist, who’d throw the wrap sign and walk me to the door as Gemma and Jeremy rolled their eyes and mocked me.
Thankfully, when it came time to do the interviews, it didn’t happen that way. I worked up enough composure not to
throw up, and, while I didn’t make the best use of the allotted time, I did ok. Famke Janssen was warm and talkative and the film’s director, Tommy, was completely cool. (I pointlessly questioned him about the badass Hansel and Gretel
soundtrack, and, although he was psyched that I’d asked about the music, he was equally disturbed. I forget that I’m old and my enthusiasm for Nine Inch Nails and Animal Alpha can be upsetting.)
Gemma was lovely. Jeremy was present. My first question made Gemma laugh, and Jeremy even grinned and said something. Unfortunately, I have no idea what it was; when I turned to look at him, I went into a trance. I was gobsmacked, and I won’t know what two-time Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner said until I listen back to my 3-minute-20-second interview.
When I left, I was so happy that I pretty much skipped out of the suite. It went well, and that was good, but what was better was this: I thought I was nervous about doing the junket, but, as it turns out, I was just excited. I spent the better part of Saturday in a suite at the Four Seasons doing a job that involved talking to movie stars, and I’ve been away long enough to know how cool that is. Right now, I’m not cynical or jaded, and, until someone asks me to interview Pitbull or Kesha, I’m gonna stay that way.