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Dreamgirls: Part 2

05.22.2006


CLICK HERE for pictures from the film

As mentioned in my previous, more movie-oriented write-up of this DREAMGIRLS event, I was never really all that stoked to attend this get-together as I had reviews to write and this film didn't seem all that engaging to me. That, and the folks running the show only gave us 1 pass for the event, so the Arrow couldn't attend with me, which is always a bummer. That said, things turned out quite dreamy, in terms of what they showed us of the film (click HERE for more details on that) and in terms of star-gazing, I was even more impressed by some of the folks walking around my blue-collar ass.

I ain't much of a "social butterfly", so as I mulled around this pretty small gathering room filled with glad-handers galore, free booze and hors d'oeuvres up the wing-wang, I was feeling a little self-conscious and bored, so I decided to walk around, check out the pictures/videos of the film around the room, and...drink heavily! (actually, I hit the champagne something fierce, but that shit usually just gives me a cheap buzz, which is exactly what I was looking for tonight).

Champagne

Standing in front of one of the many scaled-down DREAMGIRLS sets from the film, I glimpsed from the corner of my eye, an older gentleman walking into the event, all by his lonesome, like myself. I smiled thinking "That's me, in 30 years." The man looked like many other older dudes, wearing a decent suit and tie, but something stood out in his attire...he was wearing running shoes with his suit! Cool, I thought. A "hip old guy". Forgetting about the man, I continued my journey, until I found myself looking at some other contraption set up around the room, as the aforementioned man walked up next to me. Looking up, it didn't take me long to note that the man in question was, in fact....MAGNETO!! That's right, actor Ian McKellen, just chilling right next to me, and checking out the digs.


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Having no choice but to be a "fanboy", I turned to him and said, "Fan of your work, sir...you were great in THE DA VINCI CODE" (don't bust balls, folks...I had to think quick on my feet). He was gracious, shook my hands and thanked me for the compliment. I turned, and so did he, and then he turned back to me and said, "So what are you doing here?". I replied, "I'm here for JoBlo.com, covering this event." He smiled and started walking away. As he walked by, I ended our invigorating exchange with, "I hope you're having fun in Cannes". Turning back to me, the hip Englishman replied, "Yes, I am...thank you for asking." Gandalf, man....Gandalf.

I think we all already knew this before, but needless to say, Ian McKellen is one class act! Sure, I exchanged three and a half words with the man, but you can just tell that he's alright and doesn't have any "airs" about him. Good shit. He also "invented" the online celebrity blog a few years back when he started posting his LOTR diaries to his website, so let's give the man some well-deserved due.

It was at this point that I realized that this event might not be a dud after all, as I continued to stand by myself in the corner of the room, wearing my pathetically obvious JoBlo.com T-shirt for effect, and a constant glass of champagne. It wasn't long before I realized that I was, in fact, standing in the "cool corner". How do I know that? Well, even though we were all asked to drop our cameras off at the front door (f*ck me!!), the official photographer was snapping pictures galore right alongside me, and even though I didn't recognize any of the big-wigs at that time, they turned out later to be the producer of the film, Laurence Mark, and director, Bill Condon, as well as the head bean from Viacom Tom Feston and chief Brad Grey. Basically, a bunch of rich white guys!


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A bit later on, I did recognize one dude standing a few feet next to me, mostly because I am a business major and I was always impressed by this man, as David Geffen, the original producer of the DREAMGIRLS Broadway production (and co-producer on this film), shook hands with folks around him, and talked it up with others. I don't think I've ever been as close to a billionaire as I was right then and there, but needless to say, it was a cool feeling. He had shaved his head entirely, and wore his traditional dark sweater over a white T-shirt (sounds like I'm describing a dinner plate, no? The plate contains a sirloin steak, along with some carrots and peas).

The situation quickly got cooler though as I turned to my right (there was a hot girl walking by, cut me some slack), turned back and noticed a tall, handsome drink of water hugging it out with Geffen. The man in question turned out to be none other than Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman! What the fudge he was doing at this event is beyond me, but I think he's been in a few musicals himself, and he might be in Cannes pushing X3, so there you go.


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As per his usual style, Jackman seemed cool, composed and collected, talking it up with the big-wigs, while chugging down some Moet champagne of his own. Digging Jackman on a number of levels, I decided that I would walk over there like a fanboy, ask to shake his hand (or touch his hair) and say something along the lines of "Can't wait for the Wolverine movie, man...keep up the great work!" or "You were awesome at the San Diego Con a few years ago...keep up the great work!". Lucky for me (and Hugh, let's face it...those were lame comments-to-be), the doors behind him opened up and we were all led into another room for the actual showing of footage from the movie...oh yeah, I forgot that we were there for a friggin' movie!! (if you're interested in the footage, and what I thought of all that, CLICK HERE).

At this point, I thought my so-called "brushes" with celebs had reached its crescendo, but there was at least one more interesting encounter to experience.

Walking into the chair-filled room, I bee-lined it into the back row as per my college days, because I figured that if the footage blew, I could, at the very least, close my eyes and catch some zzzz's without anyone noticing. What I didn't realize was that I was actually sitting right behind the "reserved seating", which I assumed meant the big-wigs and all those kinds of folks.

As people were led into the room like sheep (yes, I love the sheep analogy, leave me alone!), I looked up in front of me to see David Geffen, now only an arm's length from me, hugging it out with some dude with a shaved head. Being an openly gay man, I figured that it was his boytoy or some shit, and didn't pay it much mind. He then turned to another shorter shaved-headed man, and shook his hand and talked some. That dude turned out to be the second letter in Dreamworks SKG (S for Steven Spielberg, K for Jeffrey Katzenberg, G for David Geffen), who had presented Dreamworks' two previous Cannes presentations.

At that point, the original shaved-headed man turned to the guy in front of me (there was nobody around at this point, only me, the guy in front of me and this dude) and asked him a question. The guy shrugged his shoulders, so the man looked at me and said, "Do you know if there's a bathroom around here?". 

The man asking me the question? Bruce Willis, folks.


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That's right, Detective John McLane was asking me, lowly ol' JoBlo from JoBlo.com, if I knew where the facilities were in the hotel in question. Oddly enough, I did know, as my health issues have led me to become an expert marksman in finding latrines at the drop of a hat. "I don't think there are any in here, but there's definitely one out there in the lobby." Dismayed and holding a surely-not-the-first drink in his hand, Willis look into my eyes and said, "Thanks."

It was a good feeling as I realized right then and there that world-class movie star Bruce Willis, would in fact be able to relieve himself, thanks to my prompt direction. Who knows, if it wasn't for me, the man's bladder might have ballooned to out-of-control levels, such that he might have been forced to be hospitalized, leading to delays in his next film productions, and the possible cancellation of DIE HARD 4: STILL KICKIN' ASS. I shutter to think of that outcome, but alas, everything worked out, as Willis worked his way to the nearest exit and surely got the job done eventually.

As the place packed up some more, I started looking around to see if I could actually spot more stars, but didn't see any big ones, but did notice Roger Ebert standing near the entrance, snapping pictures of people (Hey! How come he's allowed a camera, yo! Hehehe).

A few minutes later, Willis returned and grabbed the seat two rows in front of me, and was eventually joined by Hugh Jackman, who hugged Willis and chatted it up with the man, as per his usual happy-go-lucky style. He sat down beside Willis, as the presentation seemed to be gearing to start up. PS: Click to enlarge the pic below and see my face, seemingly looking petrified to be sitting right behind these cool dudes. And yeah, those are Elvis Presley sunglasses on my head. Got a problem with that?


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Then, NO JOKE, I hear some dude right behind me shout out "Wolverine!". And it wasn't me!! I didn't turn around because it was kind of embarrassing, but the man decided to try again, "Wolverine!!". Once again, I didn't turn, but sorta respected him for trying again. Finally, the third "Wolverine!" was a charm, as Jackman finally shifted his noggin, and as I saw a smile overtake his face, I could tell that the "Wolverine" shouter was coming from friendly fire.

Pouncing over his chair, Jackman essentially stood right in front of me and hugged it out with the man bellowing his popular movie character's name that whole time....Jamie Foxx! At that point, Bruce Willis got up, and also shook Foxx's hand, and billionaire David Geffen also go in on the action. Yeah, that's right, Hugh Jackman, Bruce Willis, Jamie Foxx and billionaire David Geffen were standing a punch-length's in front of me, talking shit about the movie business and essentially just chatting it up.


Foxx contemplating the size of my penis
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I've had some surreal Cannes moments in my life (consider my brush with Angelina Jolie in year one or my brush with Salma Hayek in year two), but this one had to be the weirdest yet. There I was, sitting like a deer caught in headlights, as 3 major movie stars talked shit in front of me, and I sat there, champagne in one hand, backpack in the other (don't ask), wondering if I should get up and say something like "Hey dudes, can I get in on this action?" or "Hey guys...don't want to cut into your action here, but has anyone seen Beyonce yet??" Instead, I decided (wisely) to remain seated and attempt to listen in on their conversation.

Oddly enough, I heard Willis talking shit about Ashton Kutcher and his ex-wife, Demi Moore and hoping that they would-- hehehe, just kidding about that part, of course. I didn't hear shit and that was surely for the best. A few minutes later, everyone sat their asses down, the lights went down and the show began. 

Every now and again, I would still look over two rows in front of me, to see Hugh Jackman (now wearing glasses to see the screen better, I guess) chatting it up with Willis or Geffen being congratulated by every Tom, Dick and Harry looking to kiss his ass. It was pretty neat, let me tell you. I'd actually pay "good money" to kiss that man's ass.

As for Beyonce <sigh>, well, I guess it just wasn't in the cards for us, as she was actually sitting about 5 rows in front of me and even though I saw her get up and walk up to the front when the cast/crew were being introduced, I didn't really have any sort of brushes with her, especially afterwards as she was walked out surrounded by a couple of huge bodyguards, and a gang of lookie-loos. She actually seemed very agreeable, looked awesome as usual and talked with folks and took pictures, but she didn't stick around too long (maybe another 10 minutes) and then POOF, off she was to join Jay-Z somewhere. Lucky bastard.


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Walking back out into the original room of drinks and hors d'oeuvres, I was actually surprised to see some of the stars still sticking around and chatting it up. Sure, peeps like Willis and Jackman were ghosts like Swayze, but Jamie Foxx hung out for a while, talking to folks, as did others like Jennifer Hudson, Bill Condon and Roger Ebert and his trusty camera.


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I stuck around, you know...sipping on one last glass of "the champanga" before heading back to the apartment and seeing how the Arrow's f*ckin' party went. But then, as I stood there, checking out Jamie Foxx and his sunglasses (guess it was pretty sunny inside that room), I heard a very familiar voice right behind me, a voice that simply cannot be mistaken for anyone else's. Bamboozled by this, I turned around to this tall, black man, standing there in a sharp white-as-my-ass suit, and couldn't believe that it was, none other than...you guessed it, Chris Tucker! Wow.

Even weirder was the fact that he was totally chillin', standing there talking aloud, next to this fine honey, who appeared to be one of the actresses from the film-- I assume. I always figured that since Tucker had pulled back from show business over the past few years (he's only made the 2 RUSH HOUR movies in the past 8 years), he had turned into some sort of recluse or something, but he looked and sounded fine, and was chatting it up like a man.

As per usual, I thought about going up to him and asking for a picture or simply shaking his hand because I actually enjoyed the man's work, but I didn't work my way into it and ultimately, just ended the night with one more drink, a quick hello to Ebert and a brown DREAMGIRLS T-shirt as I walked out the door.

Overall, it was a cool night with the film impressing me quite a bit and plenty of star-power at the event, impressing the fanboy in me, all that much more. Now if only I can get a date with Catalina Sandino Moreno, this trip will make complete sense.

Source: JoBlo.com

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