Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How do you talk to a celebrity?

I've seen a few celebrities in my time, but rarely had the opportunity to actually speak to one. I went to Molly Malone's when Jesse Spencer (pretty blonde Aussie from House) stood next to me at the bar. Didn't say a word. I also stood next to Oscar-winner Ellen Burstyn for twenty minutes at the Newport Beach Film Festival and couldn't think of one goddamn thing to say to her either. Granted, it was in the back of a darkened movie theater that was premiering her film. But the whole time I kept wondering how I could impress her with my witty repartee. The time passed with neither of us saying a word. I lost my chance to talk to someone who has actually stood onstage and said "I'd like to thank the Academy..." A few years later I would meet Thelma and Louise screenwriter Callie Khouri who also won an Oscar. I managed to hold a semi-intelligent conversation about brains and what a pain it is to read scripts.

"I'm gonna be on television, Harry!"

As amazing as Callie Khouri is though, she's not an actress or a recognizable mainstream icon (tragic, I know). So she didn't mind gabbing with a nobody like me. But real celebrities, the kind you get excited about encountering because people will actually know who they are, are a mystery to me. They are used to people gawking and taking pictures (like when me and my aunt saw Sean Astin/Samwise Gamgee/Rudy at Disneyland). They probably have people fawning over them, telling them how much they love their work. Maybe people are even ballsy enough to ask them for a hookup of some sort. It's also weird to talk with one of your idols when you know everything about them so you ask questions you already know the answers to.

Wifebeater was the best I could do.
His shirtless photos all feature Nazi tattoos. Eff that.

My question is, how do you actually start a conversation with someone famous, without bothering them? I know they like their privacy, but I hate that I keep letting these chances go by. You never know when you could run into Edward Norton in an elevator and next thing you know, you're best friends and he's setting you up with choice jobs, VIP seats at awards shows, and riding around in limos to glamorous after-parties. It could happen... So I'm going to take a primitive poll here. You meet a celebrity somehow. In the bathroom, at a bar, whatever. Do you:

A. Play it cool, pretend not to notice, while subtly getting your friend's attention.
B. Drop your jaw and let flies get in, but don't actually say anything while they stare at you weirdly.
C. Wave and shout, trying to take a picture with your cell phone while they run away screaming.
D. Have the perfect opening line which is "________"

1 comment:

  1. When I lived in L.A., I got to talk to lots of famous people because I was a hostess at Sushi Roku. It was very easy, since I had to get them a table, to strike up normal conversation with them. Outside of work, though, I would usually just say "hello" and make some sort of small-talk about what we were doing. For example, when I saw Gwyneth Paltrow on the way to a hotel pool, I made conversation about the weather. When I met Vincent Schiavelli on a street corner after a movie premier, I asked him how he liked the film.

    Generally, I have found that if you don't want to just make small-talk, the best thing to do is say, "Hey! You are _____! I loved you in _____--it's one of my favorite movies!" You'll almost always get at least a "thank you" in return, if not a conversation about the movie. Just make sure you have actually seen the movie you're talking about, to avoid embarrassing yourself! :)