Friday night. Three hours before my screening. I have a drink with my agent at the Hyatt. A couple people come by to wish us luck. I get back to my hotel suite and my wife and I get ready. I have a rare pair of sneakers for the premiere. Pink and Brown Nike SB’s. I have a matching pink shirt. (The idea was to emulate the pink look of healthy lungs, as opposed to the blackened tar look of a smoker). I know… it’s a bit much.
I’d been scrawling my speech onto various pads of paper. I went over to my parent’s hotel room and gave them a rehearsal of my speech. They dug it. They asked if I could do it without notes. Um… okay?
My wife and I went down to the Channel Suite at the Four Seasons. They’re sponsoring our premiere and have a “grooming suite” in the hotel to prep the actors. Everyone’s already down there. Aaron Eckhart was getting final touch ups. Maria Bello walked in already done up. Adam Brody and David Koechner were chatting in the corner. Bill Macy came in wearing this fantastic grey suit. I said, “Nice threads, Bill.” He smiled back, “Oh this old thing?”
I found a corner and continued to compose my after screening notes. You see, I have to introduce every actor. So, I’m trying to come up witty, charming, thoughtful, heart warming, brilliant things to say. But I’m sweating so much that the pen is hardly staying in my hand.
You’re car is ready.
We’re ushered downstairs one by one as our car arrives. Audi is also sponsoring our premiere. They’ve provided Audis to drive each cast member separately to the theater and then to the event. I was told, since my whole family is here, I would be taking an SUV…
They weren’t kidding. I walk out of the lobby to find a prom night forty foot SUV, with room for about twenty inside. “This has got to be joke”… No, get in the car, we’re late, we’re late, we’re late. We all pile in and start heading towards the theater. My dad says loudly, okay lets all take a deep breath. I crumple my notes into my pocket. Minutes later, we arrive at the theater.
There’s a line going around two blocks for the film. It’s really chaotic. I’ve been to quite a few premieres in my life, but this was the first one for my film… and it just feels crazy. I step out of the limo and head onto the red carpet. First… a blank stare. Then, they’re informed I’m the director and begin taking photographs.
Nearby, Adam Brody was signing autographs and doing press. Girls behind a barricade are screaming for him, “ADAM! ADAM, I LOVE YOU!” He simply looks back with a grin and says, “Come on, that’s not true.” One guy brought a four-foot poster of Adam to sign. It’s a little nuts.
I come around the bend and a few people start asking for my autograph. Now this is new for me… Very new. Before I start signing, it dawns on me… I can’t just give out my legal signature… The one I use on checks and taxes and on my driver’s license…. So, I quickly come up with a new scribble to represent my name. On paper, it looks more like my name is John Pitman, but hey.
One girl went to pass me a sharpie, when it slipped from her hand, dropping on my left shoe, and writing right across the toe. Well, I can’t imagine a better story around my hard-to-find kicks. How’d you scuff them? Signing my first autographs.
I do a bunch of interviews and take a lot of photos… Mostly with my dad. Then, they usher us into the theater. The place is enormous, but actually quite intimate. Jane Schoettle, my films programmer and a sweetheart, brings me up into the wings of the theater, then proceeds to introduce me. She was very kind. I got up in front of the audience and said the first thing that came to mind…
“I’m really scarred right now”
The whole place laughed. It was great. It opened me up to the rest of the speech, which I did off-book, thank you. I thanked the cast, Christopher Buckley (the author of the book, “Thank You For Smoking”), my agent Jeff Gorin, my co-producer Daniel Dubiecki, the producer/financier of the film David Sack, my parents, and my wife Michele, who taught me to be a better Canadian.
I ran off stage, found my seat, and the lights quickly went down.
Got to run to see a movie. I’ll log in later today and tell you how it went.