Monday, April 22, 2024

“The Artist” Gets Thumbs Up from Hollywood Vets


Michel Hazanavicius’s extraordinary–and I mean that word–silent black and white homage got the thumbs up last night from a lot of Hollywood vets. At the premiere at the Paris Theater, legendary “Singing in the Rain” director Stanley Donen and writer-director Elaine May were each wowed by the knockout film. Donen even got a shout out from Harvey Weinstein and another from Hazanavicius.

Co-star Berenice Bejo–who’s a shoo in for a Best Supporting Actress nod and is also the wife of the director–spoke when the film ended. “We apologize to Stanley Donen if our tap dancing wasn’t as good as it could be.” (It’s pretty damn good. Audiences are falling in love with Bejo.) Co-star Penelope Ann Miller nearly stole the evening, looking as glamorous as the stars in the movie.

Others who were singing the film’s praises included Broadway star Phyllis Newman, whose late great husband Adolph Green co-wrote “Singing in the Rain”; Mary Lumet, widow of Sidney Lumet, and Kathryn Altman, widow of Robert Altman. Bob and Lynn Balaban loved the movie, as did Bob Dishy and Judy Graubart. Oscar winner Geoffrey Fletcher (he wrote “Precious”) agreed. Other guests included famed journalists Brian Ross and Bo Jamiesen.

Later, at the Royalton Hotel’s 44 Restaurant, Hazanavicius, Bejo, and star Jean DuJardin looked gleeful as they posed for pictures with actress-activist Trudie Styler, famed doc filmmaker DA Pennebaker, director Whit Stillman, and actress Parker Posey, among others. Stillman had along with him young actor Hugo Becker, who stars in his upcoming “Damsels in Distress” (set for March 2012).

When Becker was introduced to Posey, she replied: “I think the first movie I ever saw at the Paris Theater was Metropolitan”–Stillman’s 1990 debut. Becker, it should be noted, was 4 that year. Parker Posey, already reminiscing? She’s the one actress who should have a hit comedy show on HBO or Showtime. Hello?

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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