Although while on assignment I've attended press junkets, events and advanced screenings before, I've never conducted interviews on the red carpet, until now.
With the Tribeca Film Festival now in full force, and me armed with my approved Tribeca press pass, I attended the media screening of The Groomsmen, written and directed by Edward Burns (who I loved in 15 Minutes and Life or Something Like It) and himself, Matthew Lillard, John Leguizamo, Heather Burns, Brittany Murphy and Donal Logue. It's about a groom hanging out with his four groomsmen the week before his pending shot gun wedding. The film will be distributed outside of the festival circuit in July 2006.
I checked in 2 hours before show time like requested. US Weekly, Premiere, NY1, and other outlets were there. They separated the photographers, TV crew and then the reporters into different sections and in that order. So as each actor arrived they'd first smile for the camera's by standing in the middle of the carpet with the Tribeca Film Festival backdrop behind them as the photographers shouted out their name, then they'd progress to the TV interviews and then answering questions among the press (That's where I come in). Second to last my "interview" time was limited to say the least. Along a steel divider hung a while paper with Film School Rejects written on it, indicating where I should stand. I was right next to NY Arts Magazine and a college TV station out in the Bronx. The red carpet itself is actually a plush long red carpet, not just simply a flat red tarp. I don't know I found that interesting.
First down the carpet came Donal Lougue who I recognized but it took me until the time he reached me to place him. I finally remembered him playing the friend in Just Like Heaven. He also stars in the TV Show, Grounded for Life. Since none of us had seen the film yet it wasn't easy coming up with questions but Donal described the film as a fun guys movie. He was very personable and like every other actor that I'd speak to that evening he got a kick out of the name Film School Rejects.
Next came the lively Matthew Lillard of Scream and Scooby Doo fame. Like the zany characters that he plays his real life persona seemed to match them as he joked his way down the red carpet even grabbing NY1's microphone and starting to ask his own questions. When asked about the 80s from a Canadian entertainment show he made the comment that he was miserable in high school since he was "large" and "not smart." When he came to stand in front of me, I had to take a step back to look up at him, since he was standing quite close and is very tall. He told me that what he likes best about The Groomsmen is that "it's about a filmmaker trying to say something, not just making Poseidon but something artistic." Frankly he sort of made me a little uncomfortable maybe because I couldn't get the image of a Scream masked killer out of my mind, but I was relieved when his publicist quickly whisked him away.
Heather Burns (no relation to Edward) was next in line and sporting brown hair and a cheery smile. Burns an NYU graduate from the Tisch School of the Arts plays the wife of one of the groomsman in the film. She mentioned that her husband in the film is an alcoholic and as his wife she's helping him deal with that. I joked by saying it sounds like it's a very different role than her performance in Miss Congeniality, she laughed and said "Yes, no tiaras." She also said she hasn't had the chance to see the completed version of the film and was kind of nervous to see it now but also excited.
Meanwhile Bonnie Hunt walked by but since she was attending as just a guest and not a star in the film she didn't stop to speak to the reporters. It's too bad, because I really like her.
Anyway, finally Edward Burns (man are his eyes blue) and wife Christy Turlington made their way down the carpet and I couldn't wait. He said to one of the television stations that he enjoys creating personal stories and all of his friends are getting married now later in life and he used art to imitate life. Ed is no stranger to the Tribeca Film Festival since most of his films are shot and produced in New York City or Long Island, The Groomsmen is no exception and also takes place in NY. After his fourth writing/directing effort, Sidewalks of New York he said, "I hope people watch this movie and still see New York as the greatest city in the world. I certainly do."
Thus, I kept my question centered around NY and asked him what his favorite NY film is. He said it was a toss up between Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters or even Goodfellas, but then he admitted that they were the obvious ones. As he searched for a better answer I teased by asking how about Sidewalks of New York. He smirked and replied that he wasn't going to argue with that and then answered my question by adding Spike Lee's film She's Gotta Have It to the mix. (My favorite NY film by the way obviously is When Harry Met Sally). Then the very down to earth and good looking Ed was asked to enter the theater. *sigh* For more photos from the carpet click here