Saturday, April 13, 2024

Jennifer Aniston, Gerard Butler: No Romance on the Bounty


Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler are not a romantic couple in real life.

They play one in “The Bounty Hunter.” And the tabloids are dizzy over the idea that they might be in real life. But they’re not. It’s an act, designed to puff up audiences for “The Bounty Hunter” ahead of its opening Friday.

This is the second oldest trick in the Hollywood playbook. Promote a romance between the lead actors in a new movie so you can stoke some publicity. Only Lassie has been exempt from this deception over the years. The tabs and gossips are only too happy to cooperate because it also sells newspapers and magazines.

At last night’s premiere of “The Bounty Hunter,” Aniston and Butler were happy to give the people what they wanted. At Tao nightclub, the pair settled into a remote booth under an overhang. A thick wall of gawkers formed in front of them, snapping pictures on their phones. Some took video. The fight to get to the front of this crowd, and in a position to lean over a velvet rope and yell at or touch one of the actors was dizzying.

“It cost me five bucks to get up here,” I said to Jennifer Aniston after I’d elbowed two people and arrived at what looked like a petting zoo.

“Really?” she asked, caught off guard.

Not really, I replied.

Butler, who is enjoying himself the way any newly minted 40 year old matinee idol would, posed for pictures, put his arm around Jen, and had a ball. This is his year, without a doubt.

Which does he like best, I asked? Comedies, thrillers, action movies? “I can’t watch myself in a comedy,” Butler said. “I wince.” He thought about it a minute: “A thriller.”

The only other famous actor in the room, Cathy Moriarty, of “GoodFellas” and “SoapDish” fame, managed to get through the crowd by hooking herself to a heavyset bodyguard.

A publicist saw me talking to Aniston and got very annoyed. “They’re not talking,” he said, as the din of a crowd of four hundred people raged overhead. “They want to have private time.” He added: “I know you’re going to write about their personal lives.”

They wish.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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