A not-so-wise man once said that life happens fast. That was true last week.
I thought the most exciting thing that would happen to me that week was going to some Halloween weekend activities. That was bested by a last-minute invite to share a room with Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.
On Oct. 24, Netflix flew groups of movie journalists from around the country to Los Angeles for the premiere of its big-budget awards contender, “The Irishman.” It’s directed by Scorsese and stars De Niro, Pacino, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel. It’s a mob movie. Of course the studio is going to go wild for it.
The trip is the type of tour that movie studios regularly do for journalists in big cities like Chicago and New York. Not so much for writers in our fair city. When I got the invite, I was shocked and surprised. I had never been to Los Angeles (It’s nice!). I wasn’t sure what kind of interaction we would have with these legendary actors (Not much!). Despite the glitz and glamour you would expect that comes along with this, it was nerve-wracking.
A trip like this basically involves four things: Schmoozing with other journalists, getting stuck in California’s gridlock traffic, anxiously waiting for events to start and doing your best to live in the moment when the event happens and not take out your phone too much.
On these types of trips where journalists go solo, they tend to make friends with people on their level of popularity or ego. I connected with a fellow introverted guy from New York City who works for SiriusXM. He told me about famous interviews he witnessed with Kanye West and Wesley Snipes, I told him about the fun of working in a smaller city.
Our humor and cynicism got us through some of the rougher parts of the trip. We weren’t given directions on where to enter the movie theater for “The Irishman” premiere, so we ended up walking on the red carpet (none of the screaming fans in the crowd were impressed). We joked around a lot while waiting for the movie to start, which ended up being about an hour after its scheduled time (the stars were busy introducing it in another theater where the other celebrities were).
As for the movie itself, I’m going to have to see it again. It started at 8 p.m. PST, or 10 p.m. CST (the time my normal schedule would say is meant for sleep). It’s a three-and-a-half hour film. I know I loved parts of it, but it’s hard to figure out if I didn’t like other sections because of my 1 a.m. grouchiness or that it didn’t connect with me. I know the acting is great, particularly De Niro and Pesci.
Afterward, there was a giant party at the Roosevelt Hotel that involved big band music, choreographed pool acrobatics, a photo booth and a chance to say hello to Ray Romano. It was imitating those old Hollywood parties and it did a hell of job capturing the glamour and bombast.
The next day was all about a big press conference with the director and the two stars. Like the night before, everyone was running late. The questions were picked out of a hat (mine was not chosen) and ranged from interesting, with Scorsese talking about morality in his ultra violent films, to eye-rolling, like De Niro and Pacino given the hypothetical of what it would be like if they swapped roles in the movie.
The conference lasted a half hour. When their time was up, all three of the big names were quickly ushered out of the conference room and every journalist hoping to fight the traffic to catch a flight out of LAX rushed to their Ubers.
When I sat in the airport, I finally had a chance to catch my breath and take in the whole experience. It was an unforgettable, surreal blur.
— Andrew Gaug | St. joe live