Thursday, October 07, 2010
Some interesting developments since my last post.
I was contacted yesterday by Roger Goldblatt of the FCC, who asked to take part in a press conference in Washington next Wednesday and speak about “Bill Shock.” (There’s more information about the FCC event at the bottom of this post.) I don’t think I’ll be able to go, but it’s fascinating—or scary?-- that my blog got into the hands of the FCC within days, don’t you think? I think it’s most likely because Andrew Sullivan linked it. I hope that I will be able to contribute to the FCC’s effort in some way. There should be laws against phone companies selling a few cents of data for thousands of dollars.
I haven’t been near my computer lately so I wasn’t able to approve a lot of comments about my first post. Apparently this was ALL MY FAULT. I could have found out all the info on the internet. The fact that AT&T lied to me on tape is fine. The fact that they only sell a maximum of 200MB of data in their international plan—nowhere near enough to have met my needs—that’s all fine. Granted, my needs were very specific and few people would have my specific data requirements. And if I had only been able to work in rooms that had wifi my bill would have been much lower. But it would still have been outrageous.
Apparently if a multi-billion dollar corporation wants to sell two cents of data for hundreds of dollars that is peachy. Let the buyer beware and do a lot of browsing. Or stay home.
That same day I received a phone call from AT&T just as I was sitting down to lunch with a client. The operator informed me that he was going to shut down my phone service that instant if I didn’t pay my bill immediately. I said that was impossible, as I wasn’t anywhere near my computer. He also said I had to pay the bill I hadn’t received yet in advance or he would turn off my phone service. I said I’d pay everything that night. He wanted to know what time and how I would pay and how long it would take for the transfer to kick in, etc. I thought to myself, okay, maybe I had forgotten the due date and, as I had to pay this bill anyway, I would do it tonight. When I got home I discovered that my bill was due on October 11th, five days away. Why was I being threatened with instantaneous loss of service for a bill that wasn’t due yet? Not to mention a bill I hadn’t even received yet?
AT&T confirmed that this call did come from them. They had the name of the operator who called me at that time. Of course his report on the call differed completely from mine.
Am I paranoid or did this threatening phone call come because of the way my blog post has been tearing through the internet?
Postscript: Here’s more information on the FCC Press Conference
Avoiding Cell Phone Bill Shock
October 13, 2010, 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Click here to watch the event live.
About This Event
Cell phones, smart phones, and other mobile devices are increasingly an essential part of Americans' everyday lives. But as minutes, messages, and megabytes quickly add up, avoiding "bill shock"—a sudden, unexpected increase in your monthly mobile bill—can be a challenge. According to a recent survey by the Federal Communications Commission, one in six mobile users—30 million Americans—have experienced bill shock. More than half those consumers saw an increase of $50 or more, but few were alerted by their mobile phone company—before or after the bill arrived.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will join Sarah Rosen Wartell from the Center for American Progress to discuss his consumer agenda, including the proactive steps that the agency is taking to empower consumers with simple solutions for avoiding bill shock. At the event, the chairman will outline the findings of a new FCC paper on bill shock and hear directly from consumers who have experienced an unexpected increase in their mobile bills.
Julius Genachowski, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission
Sarah Rosen Wartell, Executive Vice President, Center for American Progress
A light lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m.
Click here to RSVP for this event
For more information, call 202-682-1611
Center for American Progress
1333 H St. NW, 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20005
Map & Directions
Nearest Metro: Blue/Orange Line to McPherson Square or Red Line to Metro Center
Sunday, October 03, 2010
I’m sorry, but this isn’t a film post, a memoir, a musing, and it’s definitely not funny.
I went to the Toronto Film Festival for 5 days and 4 hours and received a $1524 AT&T bill for data charges on top of the $199 paid for the first 200 MB. A total of $1723.
I am very angry about this and would greatly appreciate it if any of my readers would tweet this and post it on FaceBook.
I’ve learned since that bills like these are a commonplace with AT&T. (See the videos below.) Here’s why:The 200MB plan is pro-rated by the dates of the monthly plan, which in my case was Aug 17th to September 16th. In order to get all 200 MB I had to backdate to August 17th Otherwise I would have paid $199 for 50 MB.
I knew in advance I was going to use a lot of data because I was going to be working at the Toronto Film Festival setting up publicity for “Tabloid,” a new movie by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Errol Morris. I would always be on the run, needing to receive phone calls and email everywhere and at all times. Worse, when I got there I discovered there was no wireless—only wired—internet service in my hotel room and the interview suite that was used for Mr. Morris’s interviews.
I was told that the AT&T iPhone app worked in Canada by an AT&T operator. The application had a line graph that tracked international usage. But as AT&T cannot finish their accounting for international charges until 90 days after the data is used, it’s impossible for them to display charges they haven’t received yet. There’s no possible way it can work and they know that.
If AT&T hadn’t provided the app, I wouldn’t have been comforted by the low readings it was providing me. I wouldn’t have had any idea how much data I was using, and that would have put the fear of God into me. Still, I did try to turn the data off—via “Airplane Mode” and changing the settings—but this shut off the phone too. What I didn’t know, and no one told me until afterwards, is that if I turned off “roaming” I could have had telephone service without data. I didn’t imagine that it was possible to use a phone in a foreign country without turning roaming on.
When I got on my plane in Canada, the AT&T app said I’d used 120 MB, but after I got home apartment in New York it was a heart attack-inducing 300+ MB. 20 minutes after I shut off my international plan, I received an email and text from AT&T stating that they were suspending my already canceled international data planAND domestic data plan. The email falsely claimed that I had ignored an earlier text and email about excessive usage sent to met while I was in Canada. An operator later confirmed that no such email
or text had been sent.
Eventually I found a sympathetic operator who filed a 4-page application for a full refund.
On Friday I received a text saying there would be no reduction of any kind. An operator confirmed that there would be no explanation for the denial or any possibility of reconsideration.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Last Thursday night there was a special screening at the Walter Reade Theatre in New York commemorating the 25th anniversary of “Desperately Seeking Susan.” This film has always been dear to my heart, because it was the first film I ever did publicity on from before it started shooting all the way through release. Being on the set every day and going to dailies, was exciting, fun, and ultimately, life-changing. I liked the experience so much that shortly afterwards, I closed my first PR company, Reid Rosefelt Publicity, and became a unit publicist, working on movie sets around the world for the next seven years. But like any first love, “Desperately Seeking Susan” was always special. I’ll write about working on the film someday, but this post is about another film.
During the Q&A that followed the screening, screenwriter Leora Barish spoke about how she was inspired to write it by seeing Jacques Rivette’s 1974 film “Celine and Julie Go Boating.” This was news to me, because before that night I had never spoken or laid eyes on Leora Barish. At that point, after ten years of doing publicity, I had never interviewed a writer who wasn’t also the director. And as she never visited the set while I was there, I was focused on all the wonderful things that were happening in front of me. So many people got their film careers launched on “Desperately Seeking Susan”: in addition to Seidelman, who fought to bring in Madonna and gave the film an incredible sense of style and dynamism, there were producers Midge Sanford, Sarah Pillsbury and Michael Peyser, cinematographer Ed Lachman, casting directors Billy Hopkins and Risa Bramon (and Todd Thaler), composer Thomas Newman, and not incidentally, Madonna, Aidan Quinn, Laurie Metcalf, and John Turturro. The film was also driven by the veteran talents of Rosanna Arquette and production designer/costume designer Santo Loquasto, and Bramon and Hopkins found many talented actors like Mark Blum (who would later appear in one of my short films), Anna Levine Thomson, Robert Joy, Will Patton, and Peter Maloney, and gave cameos to an unbelievable list of downtown types, cult actors and up-and-comers, including: John Lurie, Richard Edson, Steven Wright, Richard Hell, Shirley Stoler, Ann Magnuson, Anne Carlisle, Rockets Redglare, Annie Golden, Airto Lindsay, Carol Leifer, Michael Badalucco, Giancarlo Esposito, and Adele Bertei and Tom DiCillo. And what I didn’t know then is that the New York City of 1984 was going to disappear and this film would both helped invent the fantasy of that moment plus serve as a time capsule.
Anyway, soon after Barish mentioned “Celine and Julie Go Boating,” I was struck by something. It was very possible that Leora Barish wouldn’t have seen “Celine and Julie” if it weren’t for me. And therefore… no me, maybe no “Desperately Seeking Susan,” and maybe no movie, no launching point for a lot of these careers. Of course, many, if not all, of these people were on their way with or without the film, but still… the fact was that I played a crucial role in bringing “Celine and Julie Go Boating” to the US, where it inspired her script.
Jacques Rivette’s “Celine and Julie Go Boating” had its US premiere at the New York Film Festival in 1974, while I was still a student at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, so of course I didn’t see it. But when I got to New York a few years later, I got a job at Dan Talbot’s New Yorker Films. In those days there weren’t many distributors that brought out foreign films, and even fewer handled the kind of films with extremely limited commercial potential that New Yorker did. This gave Talbot enormous power, because if he didn’t like something, it probably wouldn’t get seen in this country. But his taste was exquisite, and he was an engine behind the US careers of such talents as Bertolucci, Fassbinder, Godard,Herzog, Alain Tanner, Claude Lanzman, and… Jacques Rivette. But “Celine and Julie” played the New York Film Festival and Dan didn’t buy it.
New Yorker Films was a very small company and I wore a lot of hats there: I was the publicist for all the smaller films; I designed and laid out the catalogs and all the mailing pieces; I sent materials to the theatres; and I watched movies that Dan was considering acquiring. Dan was a father figure to me. Not only was he teaching me the film business, he was giving me a crash course in world cinema. For the first years I kept my mouth shut and watched, but after a while I started to speak up about marketing issues and what films he should buy. As in, speak up very loudly. As in shouting matches. As I said, he was a father figure, and this kind of thing commonly goes on in families. Some people there thought I was way off base, but Dan never fired me, and crazy as I was, we are friends to this day. During all my tenure at New Yorker films I never got angrier with Dan than about “Celine and Julie Go Boating.” I flat out demanded he buy it. He refused again and again. Finally I screeched, “If you don’t buy this film, then you should shut this company down today.” He knew I wouldn’t stop, so he gave in. Still, he released the movie in New York with no time for advance screenings and it was pulled from the theatre before the rave review in the Village Voice appeared. That was a crushing disappointment, but the important thing for me was that “Celine and Julie Go Boating” was now in the catalog, where it would get a limited 35mm theatrical release and could be rented in 16mm for countless non-theatrical showings in years to come.
So it’s possible that Leora Barish caught the film at a film festival in 1974, but it’s more likely she did at one of the hundreds of US showings that came between the time New Yorker Films bought the film in 1978 and when she wrote “Desperately Seeking Susan” in the early 1980s
Of course a film as great as “Celine and Julie” would have come out one way or another in the US. A company like Rialto would have bought it at some point and it would have made its way to video. But at that point in time there was only one door, which was shut tight until I kicked it open.
I often wonder why I write this blog, but this week I believe that I’m telling an instructive story, regardless of when or how Leora Barish saw “Celine and Julie.” If you work in the film business and you are facing a situation where you can fight for what you think is right—or choose not to fight—let me guarantee that you will end up more successful and wealthy if you don’t fight. If you are seen as uncompromising, you will be judged “difficult” and a pain in the ass, and you will pay a heavy price. On the other hand, you will never find out what the impact might have been if you did stand up.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Last Sunday was the first time that I didn’t post since I started this blog. No matter how busy I was I always was able to make it work, but last week I was working on Errol Morris’s “Tabloid” at the Toronto Film Festival and the schedule was pretty relentless. Unfortunately, this blog was one of the few that was to be anchored to a particular date, in this case the anniversary of 9/11.
My idea was to tell an anecdote from my life that brought up a more innocent memory of the World Trade Towers, before it became an icon of horror and death, and more recently an opportunity for some to stir up ignorance, hysteria, and prejudice.
Here’s my story:
When I first moved to New York as a movie-mad Midwesterner, I’d never been on a Hollywood movie set. As you can imagine, I was thrilled to find out that scenes from Dino De Laurentiis’ King Kong remake were going to shot in New York. I sure couldn’t miss that! So the night of the filming, my friends and I headed down to the World Trade Center, not having any idea whether we’d get close enough to see anything.
Arriving on the scene confirmed our doubts – there was no place where we could find even the most distant vantage point. We were about to leave when my friend Gary suggested that we go around to the other side of the Towers. Maybe we’d be able to go inside, head through through the lobby and get really close. This was such a stupid idea that I thought it might work. In any case, we had come this far and we had nothing better to do.
Coming around the bend we discovered a line. So we went to the end and got on it. It turned out to be the line for “King Kong” extras. Once we got inside, we filled out the forms to be SAG Waivers. Not only were we going to get close—we were going to be paid $30! We were pros! Soon were outside staring up at the dizzying spectacle of Carlo Rambaldi’s 40 foot tall “mechanical” King Kong lying on his back, totally in scale with the Twin Towers looming above us. Unlike the original King Kong, which was a puppet, or the Peter Jackson’s CGI King Kong, both of which were highly animated, this Kong didn’t groan, grimace, exhibit convulsive death spasms, or really do anything at all --he just lied there like a ginormous slug. To paraphrase John Cleese, this particular Kong was CONVINCINGLY BEREFT OF LIFE and was giving an Academy Award worthy performance as an EX-GORILLA!
But can you imagine the wonderment for a kid making his first visit to a movie set? A forty-foot gorilla! What magic!
I was soon introduced to another astonishing marvel--the craft service table. You could fill your stomach with all the candy and junk food you wanted, totally free. Ho-Hos! Bagels! Coffee! Root Beer! And guess who came by for a nosh? Jeff Bridges, that’s who. I told him about my admiration for his performance in “The Last Picture Show,” and particularly “The Last American Hero” (which I had shown at my college film club) and that I totally agreed about what Pauline Kael said about him possibly being “the most natural and least self-conscious screen actor that has ever lived.” After a while I asked him if I was making him uncomfortable with all my exuberant praise, and he hugged me and said, “No man! I love it!”
I was soon introduced to the torpor of a movie set. You wait around for hours and hours and hours waiting for something to happen. Soon it is the middle of the night and absolutely nothing has happened. The only thing that was fun was the guy who went on top of Kong and spilled buckets of blood on him to the cheers of the crowd. Joel Siegel also climbed up on Kong’s chest and did his evening news report.
The director, John Guillermin (“The Towering Inferno”) seemed kind of puny amidst the huge crowd and ape, but from a distance I watched him work with the actors. (Years later I proudly told the late Claude Chabrol that I watched John Guillermin direct, and he said, “You watched him do what?”) I asked people who the pretty blonde was, and they said she was “some model,” and I said I thought she was pretty good. Which was a fair assessment since she was Jessica Lange making her screen debut. Still, most of what Lange did that night was run through the crowd towards Bridges shouting “Jack! Jack!” and getting all worked up. Over and over “Jack! Jack! Jack!”
I was determined to work my way into the shot, so I slowly pushed my way to the front. And when it came time for the final crane shot, I was pretty close to the action. My 22-year-old profile can clearly be identified in the lower right by my Proto-Bieber 70s haircut and big shnoz, identical to photos of me from the time.
I’ve appeared in many films since then, but I think this is my best performance to date. I was supposed to playing a guy looking at a huge supine gorilla, and I look exactly like a guy looking at a huge supine gorilla, because of course I was a guy looking at a huge supine gorilla. If you compare my work here to all the actors delivering their lines to light stands today, you’ll know that this is the real deal. But I was a contract player then, part of the studio system. Those were the golden days of the movies and sadly, they’ll never be back.
Monday, September 06, 2010
I usually write about my past with this blog, but this week I’m heading off to the Toronto Film Festival for the first time in many years, setting up interviews for Errol Morris for his new movie “Tabloid.” So I’m about to have a real experience, not a remembered one. I sure as hell won’t write about that! What I’m going to do instead is write something about the World Trade Towers (not 9/11) that will appear when I’m at the Toronto Festival, just as I was on September 11th. 2001.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
I used to have a projector and a six foot by eight foot screen in my loft. I had a film club every Sunday night. It was heaven. I loved that thing.
Then I got married. Don’t get me wrong, she is the best woman in the world and I thank God every day that I found her. The only thing is, once we got together I couldn’t use my projector any more. You see, she likes to read magazines at home--and TV shows and movies are mainly background music. If I turn out the lights so that my projector worked, it spoiled her whole night.
.I knew I could buy a decent flat screen TV and we’d both be happy, but I just couldn’t. My six foot by eight foot was sort of like a shiny red Mustang sitting out in the driveway on blocks. It was something I couldn’t give up even though I rarely used it.
Eventually I realized how dumb this was. I gave in, sold the projector and screen and got a Samsung and my first Blu-ray player. For the first time I was introduced to this whole Blu-ray deal that I was introduced to this whole thing everybody’s been talking about. After a few dozen discs I’m still not sure what I think of Blu-ray. I don’t know if I want to see so much detail. Does that always make it better? Is “The Godfather” better when you can see all those people in the edges of the screen who were in shadow before? Jury’s still out for me.
But I have been knocked out by the splendor of streaming Netflix movies on my TV. I’m watching more movies than I ever have in my life. It’s an obsession. And I really like that there is a limitation to what’s available. It focuses the mind.
But then…this week Netflix introduced an iPhone application. This is NUTS. While my wife was sleeping Friday night, I watched the subpar Japanese gorefest “The Machine Girl” while lying beside her. And last night when I came to bed after a few “Mad Men” Blu-rays, she was in bed watching “Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein” on her iPhone.
And Netflix just paid Epix a zillion dollars so that 1243 new movies will start streaming on Netflix in the next 30 days. That’s 1243 additional films next month on my TV, my laptop, my phone, and if I buy one, my iPad. Everywhere there is wi-fi.
This is going to kill me.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
I haven’t seen John Lurie in years. There’s nothing out of the ordinary about that, as I’m out of touch with so many people I knew in the 80s. But when I read Tad Friend’s article in the August 16 & 23 New Yorker (subscription required), I realized almost no one has seen him lately: he has been in hiding since 2008. I could get into why that is so, but it’s such a good story that I can’t do it justice here. I recommend that you read it.
As the many dozens of people who read this blog know, I write about people that I’ve had personal contacts with—however fleeting. And therefore I have a bone to pick with Friend’s description of Lurie from the time I knew him, which started during the release of “Stranger Than Paradise” in 1984 and continued for a few years after. Here’ s how Friend describes the John Lurie of those days:
From 1984 to 1989, everyone in downtown New York wanted to be John Lurie. Or sleep with him. Or punch him in the face. Lurie, the star of the Jim Jarmusch films “Stranger Than Paradise” and “Down by Law” and the saxophone-playing leader of the jazz-punk group the Lounge Lizards, was intensely charismatic… He was young and cocksure and he wouldn’t truckle. Between Fourteenth Street and Canal—the known universe, basically—he was the man.
I would revise this slightly. “From 1984 to 1989, everyone who was in downtown New York knows the previous paragraph to be utter bullshit.” I mean, Friend is a wonderful writer and all, but he is around ten years younger than Lurie, and not to mention Jarmusch, Ann Magnuson, Kathleen Bigelow, Richard Edson, Richard Hell, Beth B, Lydia Lunch, Amos Poe and just about everybody else from those days, including me. This just wasn’t a time when anybody would say “he was the man,” let alone think it. Maybe young Tad Friend was lurking around the Mudd Club, and maybe there are people now who say that John was the man, but I doubt it. Not that he wasn’t talented or good looking or anything. It just wasn’t that kind of culture.
And thank god John wasn’t an arrogant schmuck like that. What was endearing about John in those days was his vulnerability, his insecurity about the way people perceived him. I remember a Voice feature story that was written about John during the “Stranger Than Paradise” days. The writer said John had a propensity to pull a fish face all the time. He was really pissed off about that. What nerve saying he pulled fish faces, like he was some kind of poseur! It was just what came naturally to him. It was weird for John to realize that fame, even the modest fame that was starting to get, can have its drawbacks. People start picking away at things that are second nature to you, even the way you move your face.
John was something of a kvetcher, wondering whether he got his due. In his opinion, he was the author of “Stranger Than Paradise,” not Jim. Here was his argument: “Stranger” started out as a series of improvisations, which Jim would watch and take notes. In his opinion all his lines were invented by him. I said, “First of all, what you’re saying is nuts. There is so much more to writing a script than a few lines. But for the sake of argument, let’s say that Jim copied down a lot of things you said. But what would you have been doing that day when you did those improvs? Jim made it all happen. He got the money, made a brilliant movie and now you and your band are getting publicity, and you’re getting paid for the soundtrack.” John bought my argument and that was it. So John would definitely truckle if a situation was truckle-worthy. He didn’t get in arguments for no reason. (By the way I had to look up truckle in the dictionary. I learn something new every day.)
The last time I saw John was years later when I ran into him at a huge party for a Miramax movie. We were talking about the old days, when uber-publicist Peggy Siegel hurtled into our conversation, in breathless pursuit of a photo op.
“Are you famous?” she asked John.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
I readily admit that this is the oddest and most obscure video I have ever done. Even if you were perplexed by my Sonya Thomas video, this has the most WTF of all.
How did this come to be? Basically, my friend Lee Levine is friends with novelist Gary Shteyngart, whose new book “Super Sad True Love Story” has just been published and is already on the NY Times Bestseller List.
Mr. Shteyngart appears to be inordinately proud of his dachshund. Felix is prominently displayed in his promo video for his book (as is James Franco). Very funny video, by the way. Check it out:
Felix is also pictured in the feature on Shteyngart in the current issue of The Atlantic.
On his Facebook page, Mr. S. has written: "felix is generally considered the smartest dog on earth. but in this picture i can sense the pensiveness in his eyes. global warming, ongoing violence in uzbekistan, the stalemate in congress. it all takes a toll on this sweet, compassionate dachshund."
Anyway there has been Facebook correspondence about who will play Felix in a purported movie. Somehow this connected with my love of Zach Galifianakis, and this video was the result.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Somebody left a DVD on my doormat this morning. I realized immediately it was something too important to keep to myself. So here it is, the video everyone has been waiting to see:
Sunday, August 08, 2010
Angelina Jolie in as “Acid Burn” in “Hackers”
I had just flown back Saturday night from a week swatting mosquitoes on a movie set in Georgia, so I wasn’t over-excited when a guy from my PR company called to tell me I was going to another movie set on Monday.
“What’s it called?”
“’Hackers.’ It’s about a group of young computer hackers, trying to stop a virus or something.”
“Who’s in it?”
“Mostly kids you’ve never heard of… Oh yeah, the female lead is Jon Voight’s daughter.”
The next morning at crew call I was upstanding in front of Stuy High waiting for things to get started. And then I saw her. She didn’t look like any computer hacker I’d ever seen.
My question to Andrew Morton, who has just written an unauthorized biography, “Angelina,” or to anybody, is: when did Angelina Jolie become Angelina Jolie? When did all the elements that make everyone so fascinated with her—her otherworldly beauty, her acting talent, her oddness, her instincts for marketing herself—when exactly did all those ingredients stir up a superstar?
To put it simply, when did this 14 year old
She was 19 years old when she made “Hackers,” but was very experienced in the world of showbiz by then.
She’d made her film her film debut at 7 in Hal Ashby’s “Lookin’ to Get Out,” which her dad co-wrote and starred in.
From ages 11-13 she studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, and appeared in several stage productions. But at 14, she decided she dropped out of acting classes, starting dressing goth and dreamed of being a funeral director. Later on,while she was at Beverly Hills High she was teased for being thin, wearing glasses and having braces. She collected knives and cut herself. But you would think she’d gain some self-esteem by 16 from the modeling work she did. Of course, who knows? Just because you realize you can turn men into quivering Smuckers, doesn’t necessarily make you happy or give you confidence.
A few years later, she did this video with the 47-year-old Meatloaf. I don’t know what you think, but I think it’s kind of creepy.
She’d starred in this straight-to-video-movie:
And played a supporting role in this one (despite the repackaged advertising)
“Hackers” was going to be her first theatrical release. She’d meet her husband, the pre-“Trainspotting” Jonny Lee Miller on it.
But none of this meant she could act. Beauty and connections only get you so far. Did she inherit acting genes from her Dad? Because she was around the world of acting from childhood? Her Dad wasn’t part of her life after she was pretty young. Was it because she had put the time in acting classes? What about her freaking weirdness? Funeral Director? Knives? Where did that come from?
Look at that picture above from “Hackers.” She looks like she’s in a Godard movie, half Jean-Pierre Leaud in “Masculin-Feminin” and half Anne Wiazemsky in “La Chinoise.” I think she had it by then, whatever it is. 19 years old and I will argue that she already booked her ticket on the Monica Vitti express. Show me one 19-year-old actress today who can pull off that kind of attitude.
Somewhere in her late teens, I don’t know exactly when, she had put it all together from her beauty, innate talent, the hurt of her childhood, and who knows what else, and invented herself.
By the time I saw her, she had that whipsmart thing about her like she’d seen it all knew it all and wasn’t telling. It was just something she owned, it was all there, and it was unnerving. Most people take a lot longer to find themself before they are able to find success. She had the package and she knew it. Let success find her.
A lot of the film involved the hackers rollerblading around the city, pursued by bad guys. We were able to block off traffic for many blocks for some of these scenes. One day I had “Entertainment Tonight” on the set and it didn’t make sense for Angelina to take off her blades for the interview. But when she tried to do the interview with them on, she couldn’t stay still. A good publicist has to be able to improvise. I put my foot out so she could lean her wheel on it and I tried to prop her up with the side of my arm, or anything I could figure out to do to keep her in place without actually touching her. Some of you might think I’d enjoy being that close to her, but I couldn’t wait for the interview to be over. Yuck! It made me think of too many things I’d rather not think about . What would my life have been like if I was her? Thinking about myself at 19 was surreal. She was so young, and she already knew so many things I would never know, and would experienced so many things I would never experience. Even if I was young, this is not the kind of girl I would ever have approached.
A few years later, I was waiting to meet a client in front of the Mayflower Hotel. Shortly after I got there, Angelina came out and lingered by the door. Maybe she was being picked up to go to the set of “Gia,” which was filming at the time. It was just the two of us, standing there for ten minutes. But she wasn’t all made up, in costume, an actor on the set--she was just an attractive young woman, the kind you see all the time in New York. She was anonymous as a prima ballerina strolling down Amsterdam Avenue in sweats, knowing she had that power within her. I was real proud of myself, thinking, “she’s going to be a huge movie star, but right now nobody’s paying any attention to her.” And it was true, nobody knew who the hell she was.
But she did. Hell yeah, I’m sure she did.