THE PUBLICIST: Hollywood B-lister's new look can't mask his old arrogance

It's possible to gauge how popular an actor was among crew members during the making of his last movie by observing the response his on-screen credit elicits at the cast and crew screening. It's customary for attendees to cheer wildly when a principal cast member's name comes up. But that's not always the case.

It's possible to gauge how popular an actor was among crew members during the making of his last movie by observing the response his on-screen credit elicits at the cast and crew screening. It's customary for attendees to cheer wildly when a principal cast member's name comes up. But that's not always the case.

A crowded theater can suddenly resemble a library when attentions are focused on someone who was less than cordial on-set. These "freeze outs" are often painfully obvious - such as the one directed at a certain playboy actor last week at the Hollywood premiere of a "romantic comedy adventure." The actor in question, a B-level star known more for character and supporting work than leading-man roles, has always been known to be a bit temperamental and arrogant. Although I noticed only a mild exhibition of those traits when I worked with him several years ago, apparently they've become exaggerated now that he's had a hair transplant. On the heels of resounding cheers for the film's three main stars, all of whom have reputations for being great to work with, the lack of audible appreciation for the full-follicled fop was especially noticeable. Oh, a couple of folks offered standardized hollers, but I suspect they were professionals. Publicists, that is, who were paid to clap. I suspect that because I, too, was once paid to clap. Well, not paid to clap, exactly, but rather, being the salaried publicist of a certain star, was expected (make that ordered) to lead a rousing roar of approval when his name appeared. Thankfully several others, for free and of their own volition, did likewise, so I was not left to stand and applaud alone. (Few things are more embarrassing.) I've always been surprised by how the film community manages, for the most part, to keep the boorish on- set behavior of stars out of the public eye. I shouldn't be surprised, knowing full well that, as a publicist, that's one of my responsibilities. Yet I'm amazed at the tales I hear from fellow pubs and crew members that stay "in the family." It's a little tougher these days, certainly, to keep all the salacious news discreet because of the internet, but I'm comfortable guessing that only about 10% of the juiciest tidbits are ever served up for public consumption. Just as well. A culture like ours, which voraciously feeds on a diet of manufactured celebrity morsels, might find the naked truth hard to digest.
  • Lawrence Mitchell Garrison is an LA-based freelance publicist and writer

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