Last week my wife and I took a drive down south to the entertainment–and traffic–capital of the world, the planet Hollywood. Not the restaurant, but the city. If you’ve been there, you know it’s really a world unto its own (like its east coast counterpart NYC), unlike anywhere else. Except that the traffic in LA-la Land is worse than NYC, because it engulfs the surrounding areas like Triffids in a cornfield. Where else can you have five lanes of traffic plus a car pool lane, all sitting at a standstill on an average weekend or weekday at lunch time? I know it was Grammy weekend, but this was still crazy.
Anyway, the purpose of the sojourn was to attend my first “premiere”, for the psychological horror short film, BloodMoon, at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City. (As regular vistors to this site know, I did the storyboards, most of which can be seen here.) The film stars Brandon Beemer of TV’s Bold and the Beautiful and Gil Darnell, last seen in Eli Roth’s Don’t Look Up. It was directed by the young and talented Farnaz Samiilinia, from a script by her and James Wolf (yes, a werewolf film with a co-writer named Wolf–can’t make it up). The idea is to submit the movie to festivals and execs, generate some buzz, and interest the studio in doing a big-budget feature version. (We’re currently working on some new creature designs.)
The screening was in the William Holden Theater, which is in the same building as the Kim Novak, Burt Lancaster, Cary Grant and Anthony Quinn theaters. These are mainly used to score and sound-edit films and shows, and can be rented out to other productions. (More info and pics of each are here.) In fact, the new Battleship and Men In Black films were being scored in the theaters across the hall. (Thankfully each is obviously soundproof; giant explosions tend not to blend with the slow-building suspense of werewolf films!)
I took a bunch of pics and will share some with you. First, a few bits of info and observations:
–Even with small premieres, there are a bunch of photographers with flashes going off at once just like you see on TV. Unlike what they tell spirits, I found out you should not look into the light!
–Both stars were very cool; we talked briefly with each. Brandon was actually pretty shy for an actor; Gil was very personable and engaging. Both were very grateful and complimentary to the director and crew. I hope both are as nice when they hit it “big.”
–Not only is the director and co-writer female, but so is the first assistant director, Pamela Reese. How many horror/monster films can boast that?
–Everyone wants to be a director. The assistant director will be directing her first film later in the spring. One of the producers had just directed her own film. Gil Darnell is producing and directing two films, one which is shooting in his native Hong Kong.
–Also in attendance was actor Navid Negahban of Showtime’s acclaimed series Homeland (as well as 24, Lost, NCIS: Los Angeles and other shows/films). After the screening, he hosted a Q and A session with Farnaz, the stars and principle crew. We chatted briefly and he was extremely nice, very smart and insightful.
–You cannot judge a person by their clothes. The guy sitting next to me was wearing a baseball cap, jeans and docksiders. When the crew was asked to stand, we both stood up. When I asked him what he did on the film (expecting to hear, “sound”, “grip”, “PA” or something equivalent), he said, “I’m one of the executive producers.” Thankfully I kept my mouth shut!
–Speaking of clothes, I learned again that I have zero fashion sense. Pretty much every male was wearing a black or gray shirt, pants and/or jacket, or blue jeans. I showed up in what I thought was appropriate for sunny California–orange and khaki–and I stood out like a painted monkey. Another reason I’m glad I’m married, because otherwise I certainly would’ve left there alone!
–Proving I have my priorities straight, I was just as excited (if not more so) by what I saw outside the theater as I was by seeing my name credited inside. Parked a few feet before the entrance were the new Black Beauty from last year’s Green Hornet, and the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters! The original ‘60s BB is my second favorite auto of all time (just behind the ‘60s TV Batmobile) and the new version is a great homage. I ran across the original version in a restaurant parking lot at last year’s Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit. (I’ll post pics at a later date.) Though I saw the new one behind ropes at 2010’s San Diego convention, this one was just sitting in a parking space on the lot! I went nuts and tried to take several photos. Sadly, they were all in the dark and my flash was inadequate, so you’ll have to excuse the enhancements here. But I gotta tell ya, it was one of the best parts of the event! I wanted to sit in it but was afraid I might set off an alarm if I tried to open the door–and that would have been even more embarrassing than my choice of clothes.
Anyway, here’s some pics:
Before the premiere, we spent the day walking up and down Melrose Ave., famous for its quirky, kitschy, avant gardé shops and varied eateries, including The Golden Apple comic store and Pink’s Hot Dogs, an LA landmark since 1939. (The line is often around the block, but we waited till around 4pm and didn’t have to wait!) The book store looks a lot like my own library, just bigger and dustier.
Anyway, that’s it for now. Next week, we take a tour of Warner Brothers!
P.S.: Want to commission your own Black Beauty art piece by a former Motown native? Or any movie/comic character? Just ask Craig here. Thanks!