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The Reeler Blog

Reeler Pinch Hitter: Bennett Marcus, Journalist

(L-R) Delirious director Tom DiCillo and old pal Steve Buscemi arriving at Thursday's premiere in Tribeca (Photo: Dennis Van Tine/Open All Night)

[Note: Reeler editor S.T. VanAirsdale is taking some time off, but The Reeler is in the good hands of trusted friends and colleagues. Bennett Marcus is the co-editor of the New York celebrity event blog Open All Night..]

Working on Delirious, directorTom DiCillo's paparazzo critique-meets romance-meets buddy movie, the actors got a taste of life on the other side of the velvet rope. While cast members Michael Pitt, Alison Lohman, Gina Gershon and cameo player Elvis Costello were no-shows to Gen Art's special screening at Tribeca Grand on Thursday, co-stars Steve Buscemi (who plays a photographer) and Callie Thorne (who plays a publicist) told us what they learned.

Buscemi said he prepared for his paparazzo role by following around a real paparazzo. "He brought me out to the Victoria's Secret fashion show," Buscemi told The Reeler. "And I showed up in disguise so as not to be recognized, but I was recognized anyway -- I just looked like a weird version of myself." But the normally evasive Brooklyn native got more than an eyeful of lingerie-clad models out of the experience. "I do understand why some of the paparazzi get upset if, you know, celebrities come to a premiere and they don't stop and give them the time," he said. "Because they've been waiting there a long time." (By the time he told me this, I'd been waiting there on the red carpet for an hour and a half.) "I'm a lot more patient now when I encounter situations at a premiere; I used try and just run right in, and sneak in. Now I realize that's not a very nice thing to do."

So after doing this film, can you imagine being a paparazzo for a living?

"For a living, no," Buscemi replied. "I think it's really, really hard work. And the part of it that makes me uncomfortable is when they stalk people. And that's what it is; it's stalking. So, I definitely would not want to do that, but it was interesting going to this Victoria's Secret show and hanging out a long time before any of the celebrities show up. And there's definitely a competition that goes on, but there's also a camaraderie that I appreciated as well."

Rescue Me star Thorne portrayed the film's no-nonsense publicist. "I now think that Jill, my publicist, is a goddess of patience and love," she said. "And I'm not saying that because she's standing right next to me. Seriously, just playing -- you know, acting out the job of a publicist -- was making me nervous."

Delirious offers multiple levels of cultural critique, from rags-to-riches exploitation to the pervasive hollowness of entertainment media. (I plead the Fifth, but check out S.T. VanAirsdale's Sundance pan for more.) But DiCillo told The Reeler he was much more interested in the relationship between Buscemi's Type-A paparazzo Les and Pitt's homeless man-turned-glamour boy Toby. "You know, each of them are damaged in some way," he said. "Les probably more so, but clearly, Toby has suffered some damage in his life. How does he deal with it? This always amazes me -- people who are able to survive. Even after some horrific thing, they are able to move on. Les has trouble with that. Les is still suffering daily from the brutal, brutal negation by his parents. I'm just more interested in how human beings are trying to relate today, and then you place this fame web on top of them, and it affects and infects everything."

And what about convincing the notorious indie brooder Pitt to sign on to a comedy? "No, he absolutely wanted to do the part," DiCillo said. "The toughest thing was to get him just to relax and have some fun. You know, he's a young actor, he's a very good actor, but he needed to know that there are moments in this film where he needed to just relax. And smile. Those were some of my biggest battles with him. And I've had people tell me that this is his best performance because of that."

Delirious opens Aug. 15 in New York.

Posted at August 10, 2007 3:58 PM

Comments (1)

If only DiCillo had convinced Michael Pitt to get naked, like he did in The Dreamers... sigh

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