By Roger Friedman, ,
Published May 20, 2015
This is supposed to be a column about last night's star-studded, magical premiere of "Finding Neverland" out at the spectacular Brooklyn Museum.
Guests of honor Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea were just two of the many audience members sobbing at the end of this moving film, a certain Oscar nominee that stars Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet and which was directed by Marc Forster.
But wait: We cut first to the after-party table where Dustin Hoffman, his wife Lisa, Ben Stiller and his own actress wife, Christine Taylor, sat.
There was a discussion going on, some of which I won't repeat because it addressed ongoing legal issues close to the heart, but which also dealt with things and people cinematic.
Dustin, I asked, how was Barbra Streisand to work with in the upcoming "Meet the Fockers"?
"Submissive," he said with a gleefully crinkling of the eyes.
I wonder, did she always have to be filmed from one side, the right, as is her wont, meaning that in scenes with Hoffman, who plays her husband, he would have to be shot on the left?
"She started out that way," he recalled, "but after a short time she was convinced by others that it was really the other side on which she looked best. You're going to see all sides of Barbara Streisand," he assured me.
Then he added, wistfully, pointing to Stiller: "I wish we had De Niro's points."
There was also much discussion of Hoffman's current release, "I Heart Huckabees" in which he and Lily Tomlin play "existential detectives," as it were.
"What about 'Huckabees'?" Stiller asked, clearly looking to a get good-natured rise out of his friend.
"How's it doing at the box office?" Hoffman wondered.
He was told it was doing "OK."
Stiller continued: "It's such a great cast, it's amazing they all did it. But I don't know."
Taylor nodded in assent.
"I don't know either," said Hoffman, grinning.
So what does Hoffman, who plays a theater producer in "Neverland," have coming up next?
"I got nothing," shrugged the two-time Oscar winner. To Stiller: "What about you?"
"Nothing," agreed Stiller. There was much knowing laughter.
But, it turns out later, this may not be entirely true. First of all, Hoffman has already completed a movie directed by Andy Garcia about Cuba in the 1950s called "The Lost City," in which he plays famed mobster Meyer Lansky.
He has also a project to film in the spring called "The Berkeley Connection," which is directed by Michael Corrente and written by the gifted Marshall Brickman ("Annie Hall").
More importantly: Today Hoffman and his wife Lisa are jetting to Los Angeles with Tamzin Outhwaite, a new young British actress from that country's TV soap "EastEnders," to read for a secret project.
That would be "Personal Injuries," a film Hoffman will direct for Disney based on a John Grisham novel (yes, there are a few that still haven't been adapted yet).
Tamzin, an eye-catching intelligent blonde, doesn't know what the outcome will be, but says the mystery is all worth it: "The character is American so I probably won't get it, but just to have a master class in acting with Dustin Hoffman is."
Tamzin, you know, is great friends with Kate Winslet, meaning she may be, SAT takers, as Naomi Watts is to Nicole Kidman, meaning next in line. (More on Nicole tomorrow and her new movie, "Birth.")
Now, on to Kate Winslet, co-star of "Finding Neverland" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."
She's had a pretty good year, and may very well wind up with Oscar nominations in both lead actress ("Eternal") and supporting actress ("Neverland") categories.
In fact, though a small devoted audience loved "Eternal," it is likely Kate will carry its flag through most of the award season (with the exception of a cinch Golden Globe nomination for Jim Carrey).
Winslet, looking slimmed down and winsome, was the very last to leave the Brooklyn Museum party last night after entertaining 60 — yes, 60 — of her personal friends who came to wish her well and sniffle through the movie's poignant ending.
These 60 included many mothers and staff members from her 4-year-old daughter Mia's Manhattan pre-school, as well numerous close friends and family members.
Kate, dressed in a slinky black number, smoked cigarettes and joyfully hugged every single person who came close.
Her significant other and father of her 10-month-old son, award-winning director Sam Mendes, confined himself to less direct contact and stuck to the sidelines. (He knows what it's like by now.)
Among those "stalking Kate" was one screenwriter (who shall go unnamed) announcing that his screenplay was ready for her to see. (This is called getting around the agents.) Kate hugged him.
But then, the real moment was when she was introduced to "stalkers" Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini. These two have a great opening line that catches the attention of most actors.
"Hi, we made 'American Splendor,'" the pair said. Kate shrieked, and hugged them.
"I love that movie!" she cried. "It was brilliant!"
The trio then agreed that because of "Splendor" and "Eternal Sunshine," they were like-minded (which is probably true). There is no doubt some project for all three in the works.
Now, lest I forget, there were many other guests of note who schlepped to the Brooklyn Museum. Glenn Close, looking too glamorous for "The Shield" (what is that about, anyway?) posed for many pictures with Hoffman.
Tony Danza and his producer, the popular Tommy Crudup, plus The Monkees' Mickey Dolenz, fresh from Broadway's "Aida" and looking for another musical (hey — about that Barnum revival?), actor/director John Turturro, famed Scottish photographer Albert Watson, screenwriter Jim Hart and activist wife Judy, as well as gorgeous Australian actress Radha Mitchell, who stars in "Neverland" and in next year's Woody Allen movie "Melinda and Melinda." (Check her out on video in "Man on Fire" on video, or in director Marc Foster's little-known, but compelling, "Everything Put Together.")
By the way, Watson — who's shot every major movie, pop, rock and sports star, and wants to be known as a "Conservative for Kerry" because "Bush is an idiot" — said Johnny Depp's Scottish accent as "Peter Pan" author J.M. Barrie is spot-on and "remarkable."
"If you're an actress, you can't share the stage with him," Watson — who's seen it all, from Madonna to Julia — said. "He's luminous."
But forget about Johnny — we know he's going to be nominated and may even win his Oscar this year.
What about Kate and those two potential nominations? Her eyes widened and she took a drag of her cig.
"Now that would be lovely, wouldn't it?" she announced, and ran to join her PTA moms to discuss tomorrow's shed-ule .