Some professional journalists play it cool when chatting with big-name actors, and some don’t. Hotel interviews, party chit-chat…all in a day’s work. You have to be a little pushy at parties, and you can’t hang back too much, like I sometimes do. If you want a word or two you have to nudge your way in to their immediate realm and wait, oh, five minutes or sometimes longer for a brief opening and then wham, you pounce like a cheetah. But once you have their ear you have to be mild-mannered. Don’t stare a hole and for God’s sake don’t laugh too hard or do the old David Poland alpha-chuckle.
Celebrities are used to people beaming at them like idiots and laughing at every half-assed observation or mildly amusing witticism they might share. I sometimes gaze at journalists as they chat with movie stars, and it’s pathetic when they start in with the goo-goo eyes. I’ll sometimes telepathically say to them, “If you only knew how how anxious and desperate you look…wow.”
Carey Mulligan once showed me a private signal she had going with her personal publicist. If she was talking to somebody she wanted to be free of, she would put her hand next to the small of her back and kind of half-wiggle, half-dangle it. Then the publicist would come over and say, “We have to go.”
Relatively few Hollywood journos know how to talk to celebrities with just the right attitude and body language. TheWrap‘s Steve Pond is one of them — he never beams or giggles too much or laughs uproariously. He just talks quietly, naturally…no biggie. That’s how I play it. But once you’re “in” you always have to keep in mind that two or three others are standing 24 to 36 inches away and waiting their turn so don’t be a hog. Two or three minutes and out. Four minutes tops.
And if you’ve brought a boyfriend or girlfriend to the party tell them to chill the fuck out and don’t push their way into the celebrity’s face like some Rupert Pupkin autograph hound. You have to say to them “Look, you have to show a little class here, a little refinement. If you can play it cool and slip in for a quick word or two, fine, but don’t be a fucking psycho…please.”