If you missed yesterday’s post, it explains how I ended up in Hollywood rubbing elbows with movie stars (and much more importantly, the Pink Berets).
On to day two… The day where I was kissed by a famous man, snubbed by the “real” members of the press, and where I got a little too up close and personal with some of the movie characters. Oh, and let’s not forget the part where I almost got eaten by a shark or when I survived crashing in a 747.
So, bright and early we all met down in the lobby and once again boarded the “private coach,” only this time we were headed to Universal Studio’s backlot.
They ushered us into a seemingly ordinary tent for breakfast (click any photo to enlarge).
What they didn’t tell us was what was on the breakfast menu…
I gained four pounds that morning, and it didn’t take long to realize that my mom has always been right when she said it wasn’t good to eat nothing but candy for breakfast.
Thankfully, I found a bagel and some honeydew wedged beneath some Almond Joys and I was able to tone down the sugar headache just a smidge.
We had a little time to kill before our interviews, so all of us parent bloggers started going nutzo dragging our poor photographer around asking for pictures.
And then came the snubbing from “the press.” Take a look at this picture, and then I will transcribe the conversation that took place, straight from my tainted memory.
“Oh my gosh, I was over there and I heard somebody saying that us Mommy bloggers are ruining the entire junket.” “Really, why?” “With all of our picture taking and silliness.” “Yeah, but look at them. They’re all grumpy gusses. Not a smile anywhere in the room. And we’re surrounded by freaking all you can eat candy. What kind of person wouldn’t smile at that?” “That’s true. I’d rather be a mommy blogger and have fun than be an official member of the press and hate myself and everyone around me.” “Yeah, we’re way better than them.” “Yeah, off with their heads!” “Yeah, what about me, I’m a daddy blogger. Did they say anything about me?” “They specifically said Mommy bloggers.” “Well, by the end of the day, I’ll show them that it’s the daddy bloggers they really need to worry about.” Giggle. Giggle. Snort. Chortle. “Yeah. They’re lame.” “Yeah. Really lame. We’re the awesome ones.” “For sure.” “High five.” “Yeah.” “Yeah.” “Yeah.”
We showed them.
We also took a lot more pictures just to rub in how awesome and fun we were.
Anyway, after a little drama to compliment the morning caffeine, it was finally time to go interview “the stars.” They sat us all around a long set of tables where we would get to fire off questions for twenty minutes to each person we interviewed. We learned quick that there was only enough time for about half of us to ask a question to each person since each answer took four or five minutes.
First we met with James Marsden. You’ll remember him from such movies as X-Men (the guy with laser eyes) and Enchanted (the prince). He was a lot of fun to talk to. A very down to earth, very sweet guy. And dead sexy too. I managed to get one question off to James. Here is a direct copy/paste from the transcript:
Blogger: How do you keep that sense of normalcy with your kids to keep them grounded?
Mr. James Marsden: We don’t do much. We just act like normal people. We don’t give ourselves any sort of special treatment because of that. Somewhere in the press, somebody mentioned yesterday, “I hear you still fly coach.” I responded, “Yes, I fly coach because it doesn’t make sense paying all that money to fly first class.” It’s not because I’m trying to keep my kids grounded.
Marsden was actually a lot of fun to interview because he has two kids and from what I’ve seen he tries to live a pretty normal life with them. Almost the entire interview was centered around his biggest role as Daddy. I wish he would have been a little more real with us. It did seem to me that he was trying to paint a “perfect parent” picture to us “parent bloggers.” I think if I had it to do over again, I would have asked him what his biggest struggle as a parent was. His answer probably would have made him seem a little bit more of a “real parent” to me.
Or, maybe movie stars don’t have any struggles as parents. I wouldn’t know. Regardless, I enjoyed the interview. Here’s the photo they snapped of us afterwards. Marsden is the guy standing next to the bunny (E.B.).
Next we got to interview the great Russell Brand.
But wait… where was he?
We all sat anxiously twiddling our thumbs. He hadn’t shown up on the lot yet. We waited for a good thirty or forty minutes and still no Russell Brand. Finally, they told us we’d have to interview him later.
So, they brought in the people I was most excited to interview. Tim Hill and Chris Meledandri (the director and the producer). Tim Hill is they guy who’s made all the Spongebobs. Meledandri has a huge list of hits under his belt, including the recent phenomenon Despicable Me.
I was most interested in these guys because I used to dream of having their job. Making movies when I was younger just seemed like so much fun, and there was no doubt that these guys love what they do.
For every question, they had a very long response, so only a handful of us got to ask questions. I was bummed when they said last question and Matt from Geek Dad beat me to it. But then I was super happy giddy guy Mr. do a backflip when they finished answering his question and pointed to me and said they’d hear mine too. Here’s the question/response from the transcript.
Oh wait… they cut that part out. Hmmmm…
In fact, a great deal of every transcript is missing. X-Files or Censorship? Maybe my question was too tough. I loved the balance of humor for kids and humor for adults in the film, so I asked them if there was ever a point during the making of the movie that they felt they needed to back off a little bit because it was getting too edgy for children. I can’t remember what their response was exactly, which is why I was looking forward to the transcript… Oh well.
We got a picture with them! That’s Meledandri next to me, and Tim Hill is the curly-haired awesome guy kneeling in the front row.
Next we got to interview Russell Brand.
But wait… where was he?
Still not there. So, next we got to interview Kalie Cuoco. You’ll know her from the show Big Bang Theory. She was a sweetheart who showed up with messy hair (I thought it was hot, the mommy bloggers not so much).
The interview with her was… interesting to say the least. She taught us all about the importance of spaying and neutering our pets, and she made sure we knew just how lovable and perfect Pit Bulls were. Shame on you Michael Vick for giving them a bad rap. We also learned that they shot the jelly bean scene like a hundred different times, always with a different flavor. You’ll know the scene when you see the movie.
Next we moved on to lunch. Because… well… how do I say this nicely. Russell Brand still wasn’t there.
Lunch was fun. Less candy, more real food. And by real food I mean a hot dog.
I took the chance during our break to have a little more fun with the characters from the movie. After all, I had to show the press just how crazy things hadn’t gotten yet!
And then… a hush passed across the crowd. Russell Brand had finally arrived. It was time to meet the legend.
We all skidaddled back into Stage 28 where the interview room was, and we waited for the man himself to show up.
Okay… honesty time. Before receiving this invitation, I had no idea who Russell Brand even was (celebrities were never really my thing). I also didn’t know who James Marsden was. I still don’t really know who Kaley Cuoco is! But the mommy bloggers were all star struck, so I figured he was big.
He came in and this is how the interview went…
“Hello Mummy Bluggers… oh and a couple Daddy Bluggers too!” Then… he stole the show. There wasn’t much more “interviewing” going on. Just Russell sitting in front of the crowd, making us all laugh our freaking faces off. There’s no doubt that he knows how to charm a crowd, and he certainly charmed me. After making a hundred hilarious jokes about “mummy bluggers,” he talked about the mysteries of the universe and how if the universe is infinite, then an Easter bunny must exist somewhere, and also an Easter Bunny with one leg, and an Easter Bunny mixed with Darth Vader. It sounded a lot funnier coming from him. I nearly peed my pants.
Next we went and had a group photo with him. With the new man crush I was quickly developing on him, I was kind of wishing I could stand next to him in the photo, but I didn’t really want to feel the wrath of 11 mum bluggers, so I was a good boy and didn’t pull hair or jab others to get the spot next to Brand.
After the photos, he began grabbing each mummy blugger and planting a big kiss on each of their cheeks followed by a tender hug that said, “you’re my rock star. You’re sexy. I love you. Love me.” I think he could tell I was jealous because he grabbed me and planted a wet one on me as well, followed by a monstrous bear hug. Well… I don’t know if he intended for it to be a bear hug, but I “lingered” as long as possible. As he let go of me he said I was a “man mommy.” I took it as a great complement considering the ladies I was surrounded by.
After that, we said our fond farewells to Russell and to the other characters and we headed back out to non-famous land.
After gabbing in the tent for a while, they announced a surprise tour around the backlot of Universal Studios. They loaded us into a “VIP tram” and started showing us all of the coolest parts of the backlot, including the Bates Motel (at this point we were all left with camera phones)…
The airline wreckage from War of the Worlds…
The set of Parenthood…
|Picture taken by the awesome mummy blugger Sara.|
After that we went back to The Four Seasons and enjoyed an $80 plate of Italian food, several hours of intense debating (you should hear a room full of parent bloggers get going!) and quite an awesome cap to the evening.
All in all it was a royal blast and a much needed vacation for this Mom Daddy. I came home with a BUNCH of new friends who I really hope to bump into again. Big thanks to my new BFF Seana from Universal Pictures for inviting me out and arranging everything. She was amazing.
The next morning we ate another fancy schmancy breakfast, loaded up in Town Cars, and we all headed back home not quite ready for real life again.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
Oh, and check this out…
It’s as close as I ever got to seeing the Hollywood sign. Actually, I never got to see the Hollywood sign. This was a picture taken by my new Mommy blogger friend Kim from her hotel room. No matter where in the city we were, it was always just blocked by some building. I felt like Meg Ryan in French Kiss when she could never see the Eiffel Tower.