I interviewed Laura Linney, one of my favorite actresses, for the behind-the-scenes film of “The Nanny Diaries.”  Or perhaps I should say, I attempted to.  She couldn’t have been nicer, but she was too honest and too serious about her work to talk about her character while she was in the middle of creating her.  Picture me sitting with a full camera crew in Central Park, while shooting was going on and no doubt Ms. Linney was going to be called to the set at any moment.  It would have been a great blessing and honor to have an actual conversation with Linney, but here I was going through the discomfiting theatre of: 1) trying to wrest a few sound bites out of her; 2) her knowing I wanted to do that; 3) her not wanting to let me do that; 4) me admiring her tremendously for not wanting to let me do it; and 5) me not being able to tell her that.  I think I got a sensational interview from her about why she didn’t want to be interviewed.

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Hunter, co-star of “The Searchers,” is talking here about his role in Nicholas Ray’s “King of Kings” (1961). I think the real career mistake he made was playing the lead role of Captain Christopher Pike in the “Star Trek” pilot—and then deciding to leave the series to do films.

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Years ago I was at the National Board of Review Awards.  It starts with a sit-down dinner and for some reason I was seated directly opposite Ms. Lauren Bacall.  I had heard that she didn’t, as they say, suffer fools, and I was determined not to act like one.  Luckily the National Board of Review is kind of like an East Coast Golden Globes… i.e. a silly star-studded event with an aura of unearned solemnity.   As it happens, I am an excellent eye-roller, and the proceedings gave me lots of opportunities.  As soon as I made her smile I was home free for the evening, much to my relief.  God, that woman is funny!  

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Years ago, Morgan Freeman directed a film called “Bopha!” which my company handled.  It was a drama set in South Africa during the apartheid era, with Danny Glover, Alfre Woodard, and Malcolm McDowell. My boss and I met him in a restaurant near Columbus Circle to talk over the project.   The first thing he wanted to know is if we liked his film.  “Oh yes,” we all said, like good publicists should.  “Really?” he asked with the trademark Morgan Freeman twinkle.   “I think that making a film can be an opportunity for masturbation.”  And he laughed.  That meal was one of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life, just to be near him and feel his warmth.  

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