All the Real Celebrities
TomChick - News - 07/17/07 - Link

I don't really get star struck, which is a byproduct of living in LA (Oh, look, George Clooney...), but also a matter of not being terribly impressed by why most famous people are famous (Oh, look, Paris Hilton...). However, I occasionally run across someone whose talent I really admire. Those moments qualify as a sort of high-falutin' form of being star struck. Sometimes, they're positively electric. I went up to the stage to shake Bill Clinton's hand once, after he's given a speech at the Kennedy School of Government. This was before he'd won the Democratic primary in 1991, so he was just a governor at the point, and not even the leading Democratic contender (my father had said he was "unelectable"). The air around him felt like it was crackling. I have no idea what I actually said.

Tonight I got to shake David Gordon Green's hand. It wasn't on par with Bill Clinton, but was more notable than shaking the hand of most people who are more famous than Green. He's a director who did a poetic little indie film called George Washington, and then All the Real Girls, a great relationship movie with a vividly real improv-but-not-improv feel. His next movie, Undertow, was a weird disjointed bit of Southern Gothic that didn't work for me, but had great performances from Jamie Bell and Josh Lucas. And tonight, I'd just seen a free test screening of Pineapple Express, which is probably going to be marketed as a Judd Apatow/Seth Rogan comedy. Which it's not. It's a buddy movie with Seth Rogan and James Franco, from a very R-rated script, with some great distinctive David Gordon Green touches. Knocked Up or 40-Year-Old Virgin this ain't, probably to the chagrin of the studio. I loved it, although saying so violates the little card I filled out in which I promised I wouldn't talk about the movie. Also, I lied about my age, since I'm one year older than the age range they were looking for. Don't tell anyone.

So once the movie was over, I filled out the little card, on which it was clear the studio was wondering the usual things like whether they should change the ending or cut out some of the more violent scenes or tone down the drug references (an emphatic "no" on all counts!). As I filed out, I looked over at the little cluster of hip young studio people who were going to sit in on the focus group questions afterwards. And there, behind them, was an unassuming younger fellow in jeans and a rumpled shirt, with a baseball cap and hair that needed cutting. He almost looked like someone's son, waiting for his dad to get out of the bathroom. But I recognized him from the DVD extras on Undertow and All the Real Girls. It was David Gordon Green.

"Are you the director?" I asked, knowing he was, putting out my hand.

"Yes," he smiled. He had braces. He shook my hand.

"I just want to say I really like your movies and I had a great time at this one. It's nice to see you doing something so different. I hope it does well for you."

"Thank you," he said. I like to think he was surprised someone recognized him, but this is LA. We're so sick of seeing George Clooney. I suspect there are more people here per square mile who would recognize David Gordon Green than there are anywhere else in the world. But I'm one of them, and now I've shaken his hand.

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