Everybody knows I am a huge fan of film stars.
As a matter of fact, I am a huge fan of anybody even vaguely related to cinema: people working for movies have special powers, for me. Wonder men and wonder women able to create that magical thing called a picture. I will never get enough of them.
It is true, though, that I have never been particularly interested in Hollywood. I have always been a bit snob about it: I prefer indie movies to the big studios productions, plus I have always loved New York so much that I convinced myself I couldn’t stand Los Angeles. This is why, when a couple of years ago I went there for the first time, I was very surprised by my falling in love with the city. LA is a weird place (especially for somebody like me, who doesn’t even have a driving license) but it is also an incredible place. People are particularly nice, the sun is always shining and everything seems cinematic. Cinema is everywhere, in LA: in cafés, restaurants, shops, museums, houses, parks, streets. This is where movies are made, and you can feel it.
Going back there last week, just convinced me even more of how much I adore this city. I always try to go to the movies when I am abroad, and this time I was lucky enough to be invited to the avant-première of a Disney picture at the Landmark Cinema: Secretariat by Randall Wallace. I have to confess that the movie was barely worth seeing (in DVD): the real story of a horse that won I don’t even remember which kind of race… do you know what I mean? Not to mention the fact that the main male role was played by my least favourite actor of all, John Malkovich (I’m sorry, this has nothing to do with his talent, it is just that the moment I see him on screen I want to punch him in the face, it is absolutely irrational. He is a great actor and probably a very fine lad, but I CAN’T stand him). It was very funny, though, seeing Nelsan Ellis (the adorable Lafayette Reynolds from the TV series True Blood) playing a mainstream part in a mainstream film. In fact, the most interesting thing of the evening was chatting to two Italian journalists who write about cinema and are both living in LA (Silvia and Alessandra: thank you for inviting me to the screening, girls!). They have explained me many things about the movie industry and how things work in the States. I realized that I tend to forget that cinema actually IS an industry, a very big one, involving money, difficulties and commercial tasks. Well, what can I say? I prefer to think about movies in a naïve way. So much so, that the next day I went around the city looking for old cinema venues… and I have found them!
Something else happened to Zazie in LA, and something very incredible indeed. I went to a Gala Opening organized by Lacma, and it was a real “Hollywood Party” experience, full of Big Film Stars. There were many actors, but one name in particular captured my attention, the one of James Franco. The only problem was that, no matter how much I was looking for him, he wasn't to be seen anywhere. I talked about this serious problem with an amazing woman from Lacma Communications (Barbara, you are my hero!!!), and she told me not to worry, because his presence to the party was confirmed. When, after the cocktails moment, we have been asked to seat at our assigned tables, I lost my hope. I thought: no way I am going to see him! But I forgot one basic thing: I was in Hollywood, and in Hollywood dreams can come true.
Still, when I saw Barbara walking towards my table with somebody behind her, I just imagined she had to tell me something related to work. I looked at her with a piece of shrimp in my mouth (why we are always doing this kind of stupid things, like EATING, in the fundamental moments of our lives???) and THEN I saw James Franco and a photographer looking at us. James Franco gave me his hand and said: "Thanks for taking this picture with me!" Not only stunningly gorgeous, the guy, but even smart and with a great sense of humour.
And this is how I met James Franco, and how we talked about the movie he will soon make in Paris (as a filmmaker as well as an actor), and about the party, and about Lacma, and about Milk, and about... my cinema blog. Oh, yes, don't ask me where I found the guts to do that, but I actually gave him the lovely card I have made to promote Le Blog de Zazie. And then he was gone, vanished, as in a fairy tale.
Was this REAL? I asked myself.
Well, my dear readers, it was. And, damn, I can prove it!
Zazie would like to thank all the lovely people at Lacma for making her stay in LA such an amazing experience: Melody, Kate, Samara, Barbara, Miranda, Christine, I love you very much!!!