Seeing and half-liking Are You Here made me want to do a little Owen Wilson phoner. Just to congratulate him for delivering a slightly deeper, sadder and more grounded version of that guy he’s been playing since Bottle Rocket, etc. I conveyed my initial enthusiasm to Wes Anderson, Owen’s old pal and longtime colleague, and he told me he’d forward my email. But I was stopped in my tracks by an apparent decision by the principals to wash their hands of of Are You Here, promotionally-speaking. Presumably because it’s been regarded as toxic since it was screened and killed in Toronto last year. Millenium Entertainment’s basic plan seems to be “screen it but don’t promote it…the radioactive buzzkill will be even worse if we don’t screen it at all so the best thing is to screen it as quietly as possible…don’t overtly strangle it but starve it with neglect.”
The task of conveying this decision fell upon the shoulders of a certain publicist at MPRM. “Of course we’re not dumping it, Jeffrey,” he said, “but we have to ask the distributor if talent is available,” etc.