Our Big Hollywood Sunday

What a weekend. After enjoying a good part of Saturday bonding with work colleagues at The Getty Center, Erin and I went and saw “Eye in the Sky,” a new film about military ethics and what moral code one should follow in a military confrontation where a child or children are present. It is one of, if not the, last movie in which Alan Rickman stars, and he’s joined by Helen Mirren, Barkhad Abdi (who most were introduced to in “Captain Phillips”), and Aaron Paul, whose best known role so far has been on “Breaking Bad.” Here, Paul plays an American drone pilot working a joint anti-terror operation with the Brits, conflicted about whether to fire a small missile on some very dangerous suicide bombers with the young child nearby. The film was very well done and keeps one thinking. Fast forward to Sunday ….

… where we had tickets to not 1, but 2 Paleyfest panels. Paleyfest, put on by the Paley Center (formerly the Museum of TV and Radio) every March, allows fans to come see and hear from the cast and creators of popular television shows. On our way to Hollywood, we stopped by the excellent Laurel Hardware in West Hollywood for brunch (the restaurant maintains the old hardware store signage out front). Well, just as I’m getting seated, I notice that the gentleman immediately to my left at another booth is none other than Aaron Paul. Normally, I would not bother a celebrity. But I couldn’t resist. So I said something to the effect of, “I’m sorry, I hate to be one of those people, but I’m going to anyway — we just saw your movie yesterday and thought you were terrific.” … he could not have been cooler. He thanked me and Erin, stood to shake my hand and ask my name, and gave Erin a hug. He then introduced us to his wife and a friend of theirs with whom they were dining. We told him audience reaction was really strong, and he seemed to sincerely appreciate the whole thing.  About 30 minutes later, as we were about to leave, I remembered he had a streaming series coming out soon and asked if I could ask him another question. “Yes, Todd,” he says (what a pro).  Anyway — it’s called “The Path” and is about attempting to get out of a cult. Starts on Hulu March 30.  I’ll be tuning in.

… THEN we reached Paleyfest, where first up was “Black-ish.”  Hysterical show — I hope you give it a chance if you’re not already watching (ABC Wednesdays at 9:30 or via Hulu next day). Good panel, the kids were as adorable as they are on the show, and actress Jennifer Lewis (who plays Anthoney Anderson’s mom) has as big a personality as she does on the show.  Sadly, the host really didn’t manage time well. … and the cast was oddly segregated (yeah, that way). I don’t know if that was on purpose or what. There was only time for 3 audience questions.  It did give us a look into actors and characters we really have come to love — and a commercial free advance viewing of the following week’s show.  Later that evening, we experienced a much more well-moderated panel discussion with the cast of Supergirl. I love comic book shows and movies — and I think it’s about time a woman was the super(s)hero!  The show is campy good fun and the stars of the show are all clearly a nice team who care about each other.  One big surprise for me was that actor David Harewood, who most remember as a very unlikable CIA Deputy Director on Homeland (later blown up), and who plays a Supergirl ally and fellow alien on the show, is British. Ooops — guess I never looked him up on ImDB (but there it says it right there — born in Birmingham, U.K.).  I think the best thing the moderator did, however, was restrict audience Q&A to very young girls who have been inspired by the show and Supergirl in particular.  You could tell that actress Melissa Benoist, who plays Supergirl, both enjoys her young fans but also feels a lot of responsibility, maybe even a little pressure, to do well for them.

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