Friday, January 04, 2008

Star Sightings 2007

One of the fun things about living on the west side of Los Angeles is occasionally running into famous celebrities. For instance, we saw actor Jon Voight on New Year’s Eve, while running through the Century City mall en route to one of our favorite restaurants, Houston’s. Tim and I both had babyback ribs on our mind and so didn’t pay Voight much attention, but I did notice he was unusually tall (for an actor) and far more handsome in person than he is on film. He was the third Academy Award winner we’d stumbled upon in a month, so we considered 2007 an especially good year for stargazing.

The year had actually started pretty well when I saw Rob McElhenney ( the “cute one” on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) buying furniture at the Pier 1 within walking distance of our house. He was with an attractive blonde woman, who helped him load various purchases into his convertible. A week later, Tim and I saw Fred Ward (Gus Grissom in the movie “The Right Stuff”) buying cold cuts at Gelson’s. It must have been after noon, but he looked like he’d just got out of bed.

Character actor David Paymer (Oscar nominee for “Mr. Saturday Night”) apparently attends the synagogue near our home because we saw him getting into his car there one Saturday. He looks exactly like he does in the movies.

Better yet was the time Tim and I were cruising my favorite science fiction bookstore in Santa Monica, when in walked Joss Whedon, creator of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and (more importantly!) the beloved but short-lived TV show “Firefly.” I looked around to see if any of the staff recognized him, but they didn’t. I could hardly breathe! Luckily he left after only a few minutes, because I was bursting to tell Tim.

“Guess who was just in here!!” I gasped. “JOSS WHEDON!!”

“Who’s that?” he asked unfazed.

“You Philistine!” I screeched. “Don’t you know the genius behind ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and ‘Firefly’?”

Still no clue.

Tim was all ears and eyes, though, when we recently attended a comedy writers event at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. The guests of honor were James L. Brooks (Oscar-winning director and screenwriter for “Terms of Endearment”), Larry Gelbart (creator of the TV show “M.A.S.H.” and screenwriter for “Tootsie”), and Judd Apatow (current media darling and screenwriter of “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”). We arrived early so we could get good seats, plus scope-out any celebs in the audience. The pickin’s were slim at best. In fact, I was just about to voice my disappointment when here came comedian extraordinaire Garry Shandling and newcomer Jonah Hill (the heavyset kid from “Superbad”). We were thrilled. By the way, the speakers were all brilliantly funny, but especially Apatow, who was obviously humbled to share the stage with such accomplished writers like Brooks and Gelbart. It was a wonderful evening.

Not all star sightings are on the west side, of course. The night of Tim’s staff Christmas party, we saw Academy Award-winning actress Diane Keaton taking photos of her family and friends in Downtown Disney. She looked exactly like Annie Hall!

“She didn’t even try to disguise herself!” I told Karen later.

Karen concurred. “Yeah, I’ve seen her around town a couple of times and she looks exactly like herself.”

Our biggest coup, however, occurred after seeing the movie “Beowulf.” As we were leaving, I thought I recognized someone who was entering the theater. Tim was his typical ten paces ahead.

“Babe!” I yelled, madly gesturing for Tim to come over. “I think I just saw Tom Hanks!”

Without missing a beat, Tim turned around and went racing after his prey. Returning two minutes later, he congratulated me on my catch.

“Good eye!” he said. “It was definitely him!”

I wonder who we’ll see this year. . .



Mike said...

Agog..Cyn, Tim, I have a question which I can't get an answer to..given all the studios in Canada, Mexico, Australia, heck, even Louisiana, all doing there level best to lure production away from LA because it's cheaper...there's still lots of stuff MADE in LA...isn't there? I mean it's not becoming a production no go area is it?

Mike said...

Ooops..I mean, of course, 'their' level best, not 'there'. Tsk.