May 24th, 2002


Hunting Al Pacino

Unexpectedly spent Wednesday night at the “Insomnia” premiere.

I say unexpectedly, because I didn’t realize I was going until around 5pm, when T called me at the office. The guy had an extra ticket to the premiere since he works for Warner Bros, which released the film. And because his nearest female target was all the way down in Irvine and therefore wouldn’t be able to make it in time, he called his best friend instead. I felt so loved.

I didn’t know if I wanted to go, because the thing started at 7pm and was all the way up in Hollywood. This would mean driving through the hot, thick belly of the rush hour beast. And skipping dinner. Was it really worth going through all that crap for a psychological thriller that was low on hype and high on utter bleakness? Then I thought about which of the movie’s stars I might get to rub elbows with. Robin Williams, Hilary Swank…

And Al “Fucking Scarface/Godfathers I & II/Heat” Pacino.

Living in west LA all these years, I come across celebrities all the time. Whether it’s bumping into Shaq at lunchtime, staring at Anna Kournikova’s tight sweater at the mall, buying movie tickets next to Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan, or even checking out porn with Tori Spelling. You kind of get used it after a while, although giggling over a fat fetish video called “Fatliners” with Tori still fills me with deep shame to this day.

But there are two or three actors out there, who if I ran into them, would have me just staring at them in completely idiotic, “Oh-My-Fucking-Gawd-It’s-Him”-type of awe. Robert DeNiro, maybe Harrison Ford, and definitely Al Pacino. So of course I went to the premiere.

Met up with T just outside the red carpet, which was at the El Capitan Theater on Hollywood Blvd. The red carpet is pretty much how you’d expect it to be, with shiny limos, paparazzi, and pretty people. The only weird part was directly across the street, where hundreds of gawking tourists were lined up at the sidewalk, straining to see somebody, anybody famous.

I thought about doing a kung-fu kick and yelling to the crowd, “Harro! I am Jet Ri!” But somehow my dignity, which had been hiding for weeks in a secluded cabin, came out of nowhere and forced me to go inside the theater without a public incident.

The theater was mostly filled with slick-looking studio execs, who were either Jewish or gay. My guess is since T and I didn’t look Jewish, people probably just assumed we were a couple (with T being my bitch, of course). As for celebrities, I saw a few B-level actors here and there, presumably from the film. And then Hilary Swank strolled in and sat about two rows in front of us. She was wearing a backless dress, which revealed a very well-defined physique. Woman’s leaner than fat-free turkey. Didn’t spot Robin Williams though. Or Al.

The film itself was pretty damn good, thanks to the big name cast and the director, Christopher Nolan of “Memento” fame. The only drawback is that the movie was based on a flick from Norway. If you’re familiar with Scandinavian cinema at all, you’d know that most of them are fucking dreary as hell - on account of the fact that the countries go through almost six months of total darkness each year. This is then followed by six months of around-the-clock sunlight, which is when ABBA and Ace of Bass songs are created.

The afterparty was across the street at an enormous club called the Highlands. I covered every square inch of the place. No Al. Free Grey Goose, but no Scarface. Free nosh, but no Michael Corleone.

We ended up sitting upstairs. Hilary came over and sat down just two feet away. My guess is she couldn’t resist the magnetic powers of my manliness. I could tell her husband, Chad Lowe, saw this and that he felt the kind of uneasiness that antelope feel when they sense a lion is nearby.

And in a booth directly to our right was Robin Williams in his trademark loud shirt. Although he didn’t really look like Robin Williams – more like a wax statue of himself. Seated next to him were Martin Landau and Rod Steiger. But no fucking Pacino. I’ve heard he’s not into big Hollywood events and I kinda admire him for that. But c’mon guy! Show up to your own movie’s premier at least. I drove all the way from El Segundo to see ya.

Eventually I went home with a bag filled with free shit they were handing out at the door. Free stuff, free food, free drinks - these film industry people don’t have to buy anything. Sure, I didn’t get to see Al Pacino at the party… but at least the parting gifts were cool.