SXSW: Austin Movie Show celebrity encounters

star.gifI’ve previously mentioned the Austin Movie Show, which airs on PACT channel 16 at 11:30 p.m. on Sundays and is airing daily SXSW coverage from 2:00 to 4:00 every day during the festival. The show has also been out on the streets, in the trenches, interviewing and meeting all the film makers here for this extravaganza. While there’s a lot of great stuff you can see on the show, there’s been plenty going on behind the scenes that is just as interesting.

One night, host Jegar Erickson found himself partying with Andy Dick. There may or may not have been alcohol involved. Andy Dick was involved, so you do the math. For some reason, I can not refer to Andy Dick by anything other than his full name. I can’t just say “Andy”, it always has to be “Andy Dick”.

At one point during the evening, Lance Armstrong and Matthew McConaughey were passing through the same place heading toward their car to go somewhere else. I don’t think there’s any doubt that L.A has a different vibe and attitude from Austin, and things probably work a little differently in each place. Jegar’s guess is that maybe in L.A. famous people have some kind of instant brotherhood even if they’ve never actually met each other, like “Hey! We’re both famous!” then they do the secret handshake and start partying together On the other hand, maybe it’s just Andy Dick, because apparently he just sort of decided he would join Lance and Matthew wherever they were going. Apparently Lance and Matthew weren’t too fond of this idea, and things got a little awkward as Matthew made his displeasure clear told Andy Dick “I don’t know you.”

Now given that Andy Dick has a certain reputation, I can’t really blame them. I’m not saying Andy dick is a magnet for trouble, but some might have that perception and be afraid that the night could end with police, dead hookers in the trunk and a suitcase of illegal substances* and protests of “Look, we had nothing to do with it! He just insisted on coming with us! We had no idea!”

*This is a purely comedic and fictional example. As far as I know, Andy Dick is in no way associated with dead hookers in trunks or suitcases of illegal substances.

Then there was the Jason Reitman incident. Jason Reitman is the director of “Thank You For Smoking” and son of producer/director Ivan Reitman.

By all accounts, “Thank You For Smoking” is a clever, funny film worth checking out. One of its stars is Katie Holmes, so that naturally brings about a certain amount of talk about Katie and Tom Cruise. Apparently there’s also rumors that Katie had a topless scene which was removed from the film, which in turn naturally brings about rumors that perhaps it was removed due to pressure from Tom and the Scientology community. I’m sure Jason is probably annoyed and sick of addressing this issue, and who could blame him.

When Jason was on Austin Movie Show on Saturday, he was a funny easy going guy who gave a great segment on the show. Things got a bit awkward, however, when Jegar asked Jason if he’d dealt with Tom much and made a casual joke about Tom calling up and saying “Hey, about that nipple thing…” Things got a bit frosty and at one point Jason acted like he was going to walk off the show. Now it was all played off as just a joke, but it was definitely a bit tense and hard to tell how much Jason was joking and how much he may have actually been annoyed. However the real awkwardness was yet to come.

After his segment was over, they aired a comedy skit we had filmed about Katie Holmes doing a press conference for “Thank You For Smoking”. In the skit, Katie could never get more than a few words out before Tom Cruise would interrupt an take over the press conference. It was a parody of things like Tom’s Oprah appearance, and just generally how lately his enthusiasm “goes to 11,” as Nigel Tufnel might say. When reporters start asking questions about the removal of the topless scene, pressure from Scientologists and rumors that Katie’s pregnancy was just a stunt (as evidenced by Katie’s stomach mysteriously shifting throughout the skit, and falling out at one point), Tom has his big Scientology goons kill all the reporters one by one.

Now the thing is, this is just comedy, people! Just an SNL style silly piece of fun! Regardless of your personal feelings towards Tom Cruise, I don’t think anyone can deny that there’s a lot there that’s fair game for comedy, even if you don’t actually think he’s a nut-job or something. Jason watched the skit, and seemed to be amused at first, but as the skit went on, his amusement seemed to disappear. When the skit ended, he said “That wasn’t very nice!” and professed that Katie and Tom were both great people. It was another one of those moments where he was half smiling and it was hard to tell how annoyed he was and how much he was kidding around, but I definitely think there was some hostility. I just tried to look the other way since I was the one who played Tom in the skit.

Usually as guests are leaving, we get them to film a promo for the show. When someone asked Jason if he’d film a promo, he at first protested saying “After that you want me to film a promo?” Again he was half smiling as if he was perhaps feigning insult, but again I think the truth was more that he was trying to be gracious and polite through his irritation. He did film a promo for the show in which he acted annoyed and uninterested, mechanically reading “I’m Jason Reitman, director of ‘Thank You For Smoking’ and you’re watching the Austin Movie Show,” and then looked directly into the camera and added, “Blow me.” It comes off as a funny promo that was played for comedy, but I think there may be more truth there than people realize.

Now I’m the type of person who is always playing the diplomat and never wanting to piss anyone off, but I really think that there was nothing to get pissed about here. We certainly had no malicious intent. I kind of thought that maybe he felt he’d been “set up” or something which was not at all the case. We’re all just in it to have a good time and hopefully make some entertaining TV. I think my chances of ever being cast by Jason Reitman have gone straight down the toilet though. Austin Movie Show, burning up Hollywood one bridge at a time.

1 Comment so far

  1. omit (unregistered) on March 14th, 2006 @ 12:41 pm

    I saw that segment. That was you? How uncomfortable…

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