OK, so back to the [tenuous] connection between Hugh Jackman and his White Leather/Pleather Trench Coat and Laura. The movie was released in March 2001, and obviously Laura was invited. She can’t remember how many people she was allowed to invite to the actual screening and then to the after party (for those people unfamiliar with the movie business, the after party is the party that takes place after the screening — I know, it’s confusing, but just stay with her here), but Laura’s “main” entourage/posse included her immediate family and some very close friends. Obviously, there was Brendan and Ben. Then, it turned out, Sarah, then 9, was in DC for her spring break, so she came, too. Then, Brendan’s mother drove from DC with them since she wanted to also be in NYC when Brendan’s brother was having his first baby (conveniently due on or around the date of the premiere). Linda, Laura’s brilliant and non-imbecilic-when-it-comes-to-computers sister flew in on the red-eye from LA — how L.A.! — and brought with her her sister-in-law Barbara. Laura’s parents drove down from Boston and that completed the familial rat-fuck that was housed at The Regency Hotel on Park Avenue. A babysitter was hired for Ben, who was just getting over some kind of weird diarrhea thing, and all other friends and family — Brendan’s older brother, Patrick, and his wife, Colleen; Laura’s oldest and best friend from Newton, Jenny, and her friend from Rochester; and Laura’s agent and his boyfriend and a few assorted friends — came to the theater and to the after party.
The thing that neither Laura nor Brendan expected was how much negotiating and organizing the travel arrangements to the premiere was going to feel like a wedding — a wedding, Laura might add, that they themselves hadn’t even had yet, because at the time they still weren’t married (this will be covered in a future brant). While the film studio had arranged their suite and their travel, Laura had to get rooms at the hotel for her mother-in-law and step-daughter, her parents, and her sister and her sister’s sister-in-law, and then negotiate the other extremely important aspect of the event: getting from the hotel to the theater. You’d think this would have been the easy part — it was only about 25 or 30 blocks, after all — but of course, it was the hardest part, because of the fact that there was a stretch Limo involved. Laura still doesn’t understand why it is that otherwise normal people become unhinged when they see a stretch limo and realize they’re going to get to ride in it, but it’s a fact: otherwise normal people become unhinged when they see a stretch limo and realize they’re going to get to ride in it. One of the reasons she doesn’t understand this fact is that during her 10 years as a book publicist, Laura rode in about a thousand stretch limousines — most of the time backwards, reading a schedule or trying to use one of those giant “cell” phones from the early 1990s, and getting carsick — so to her, the sight of a stretch limousine usually makes her want to barf — literally. Clearly, she’s the minority in this regard, a fact never more obvious than that night as she and her Big Fat Premiere-Wedding party gathered in the lobby.
When it was finally time to leave, there was a whole bunch of stretch limos in front of the hotel — one for the screenwriter, Elizabeth Chandler, and her big fat premiere-wedding-party-family; one for Tony Goldwyn and his big-fat-premiere-wedding-party-family, and one for Laura and her big-fat-premiere-wedding-party-family. Trying to herd her family into the limo — her parents, specifically — was incredibly difficult because they were so busy trying to take pictures of themselves in front of the limo and getting into the limo, probably to show their Temple friends when they got back, that Laura seriously thought she was going to be late to her own premiere. Eventually, though, they stopped taking pictures, and then they all climbed in and arranged themselves — Laura, by the way, refusing, like the haughty-demanding-celebrity-author she had instantly turned into, to sit backwards — and the ten of them looking a little bit like a bunch of clowns getting into a Volkswagen — and the driver started off down Park Avenue toward the theater in Chelsea. Once there they de-limo-ed — all seven of them climbing out again like clowns — and Laura was met by a Fox Studio publicist. That’s where the real “fun” began.
The publicist, who probably looked just like Laura looked once — dressed all in black, a cigarette behind her ear, a crazed look in her eye — directed her and Brendan toward the red carpet and instructed her to walk along the edge where the press was. Laura was to walk directly behind Hugh Jackman and his wife, the publicist instructed, moving forward to each interview as he finished. At first all Laura saw was a blur of white leather or pleather, but then her eyes focused and she realized that there was a man inside the white leather/pleather trench coat and that man was Hugh Jackman.
Laura’s going to cut to the chase here, because really, how much longer can this brant possibly be? — and briefly describe the farce that was the red carpet for her. You see, the media lined up along the edge of the red carpet — “Entertainment Tonight”, “Access Hollywood”, People magazine, even radio interviewers, to name only a few — are there, obviously, to interview the stars: people like Hugh Jackman and Greg Kinnear and Marisa Tomei and the pretentious Faux-French Intellectual. They’re interested in the famous celebrities — NOT in the author of the book on which the movie those famous celebrities are in was based on. What this means is that every time Hugh Jackman would move up for another interview — the camera lights (from “Entertainment Tonight”, for instance), would go on, and they would do a quick excited breathless interview, and then the lights from the camera would go off, and then it was Laura’s turn. Only after one or two or three of these stops, Laura suddenly realized that when it was her turn the camera lights didn’t go on and the tape-recorders didn’t go on and all that seemed to happen was a “fake” “pretend” interview with her that would never air or never see the printed page because the press people she talked to were only going through the motions of interviewing her, not actually interviewing her.
All of which is to say that the red carpet was a complete and utter farce — except for the fact that Laura got to walk behind Hugh Jackman the whole time. Which was fantastic, except for the part of the red carpet when you face a wall of paparazzi, all of whom , it seemed, were screaming in unison and at the top of their collective lungs, for Hugh Jackman’s wife to get out of the fucking way! get out of the fucking way! you’re in the fucking way! move! move! move! get out of the fucking shot! so they could take pictures of Hugh Jackman in his fabulous white leather/pleather trench coat. Which, of course, Laura could understand, but did they have to be so fucking rude and crass?
And so there you have it — today’s Hugh Jackman Photo with Relevant Personal Details. More tomorrow….