Flew back into Los Angeles and went directly to the Four Seasons for my LA press day. I actually showered and changed at the hotel and did my interviews instead of going home first and getting ready there. Fox publicity said this was because it would be faster to head straight to the hotel… The truth is that they just don’t want me lollygagging at my house… catching up with my wife (it’s been two weeks). It’s the same reason they always send town cars. It’s not that they want to lavish their clients with luxuries… it’s more of a control thing. If you’re in a town car, you can’t slip out in the middle of the day and go for a two-hour Henry’s Tacos break (the best burrito in LA… yes I’ve tried “your favorite taco stand”).
Thursday night was our premiere in Los Angeles. An SUV picked my wife, her folks, and I at home and took us to the Directors Guild of America on Sunset, where we had one hell of a red carpet. Apparently, they had such a good response from the press, that they had to turn the red carpet from an “I” into an “L”.
Did a bunch of photos. Macy brought a cigar and the press loved it. I started doing photos with my whole family, when the photographers started unanimously asking for the “father/son” shot. My dad turned to me and said, “That’s the shot they came for”. We both smiled and posed. Then I did something… I don’t know why I did it… But I see it in photos all the time and it always works. I put on a proud smile and POINTED at my father. The cameras started to click double time. I don’t know why that move works so well, but it just does.
Went in and introduced the film. I started by saying quite excitedly, “We’re at the premiere of Thank You For Smoking” and the audience applauded. I didn’t know I was going to open with that until I started walking down to take the mic. It just hit me. I told everyone how proud I was to be in Fox’s hands - That I still get goose bumps when I hear the “Fox Music” at the beginning of my film… You know… The drums - “Dum, Dum!… Dum, Dum!… BadaBadaBadaBada… Dum Dum!”
While the movie played, Peter Rice (the head of Searchlight), Lawrence Grey (Fox executive and very close friend), my dad, my wife, and I snuck away for a bite at Gaucho Grill. We all talked about how excited we were about the future… speaking of - Check out the trades tomorrow. You might find a new production deal getting announced about a very exciting new indy comedy company featuring a smart ass director and his life-long producing partner getting to make cool films with Rupert Murdoch’s money. I don’t know… it’s just a guess.
The after party kicked ass. They turned all the columns in the giant DGA lobby into enormous cigarettes. They had little apple pies with American flags in them (you need to see the film to get it). The walls were adorned with famous photos of actors smoking cigarettes and the crowd was filled with cigarette girls with candy cigarettes.
Going into the night, there was only one actor who had not seen the film – Sam Elliott. I tracked him down at the party and he gave me a big hug. He looked down at me through the tips of his eyebrows and said he loved it and was very proud to have been a part of the film. This made me particularly happy as he had concerns going in about his character being portrayed with dignity. He also introduced me to his wife, Katharine Ross… and just as I’m walking away thinking, well done Sam, snagging Ross… my wife turns to me and goes “Sam Elliott is sooo handsome.” She was one of ten women to tell me that… And this is a room with quite a few handsome men. Well done, Sam.
Friday, the film was released in Los Angeles, New York, and Washingotn DC. The response was fantastic. I should start by saying I got hourly calls from the studio, telling me our numbers. It’s pretty frightening how up to the minute their information is. I kept getting calls from friends in each city, telling me of sold out shows. One friend in DC told me the audience gave the movie a Standing-O!
The numbers came back Sunday and we had made a per screen average of 52K per screen. That’s in the top fifty of all time. It’s outstanding. All day Monday, I got calls from people in the industry congratulating me. Tuesday, I was offered the job to direct a crazy cast in a comedy that’s going into production almost immediately. I can’t say what it is… but… dude! I’m in the midst of writing my next film, so I turned it down. But it was one hell of an ego stroke.
This coming weekend, we’ll be in ten cities. Fingers and toes are crossed. This is the time to be telling all your friends to come out and see the film. If they ask you why, refer them to Kenneth Turn of the LA Times, Peter Travers of Rolling Stones, or two guys they may have heard of named Ebert and Roeper…
Going to work on the DVD now… I know… It’s crazy, but I’m putting together the deleted scenes. Lot’s of fun stuff waiting for you… after you see it in the theater.
Got a question? Get me through MySpace… Come be my friend –
Check out my short films –
Cut Chemist just released a single from his forthcoming album. He fucking rocks -