Warm, charming, relaxed with a shade of weariness, professional with a nuance of smirk, collegial banter with a smattering of inside jokes.
That was the producers and cast of Boston Legal last night at the Directors Guild of America. The Museum of Television and Radio's annual Television Festival in Hollywood.
"The Practice Unbound" with a Dickensian quality."
- Scott Kaufer, Exec. Producer, on Boston Legal's style
"The show's visuals are glossy, not gritty."
- Bill D'Elia, Exec. Producer, comparing Boston Legal to The Practice
More details from the gilded trenches of the Directors Guild of America, from one girls perspective. My three buddies were there as well, keeping tabs on Spaders mannerisms and penchant for water. I loved every one of them - David E. Kelley, Bill D'Elia and Scott Kaufer (Exec. Producers) and cast members James Spader, William Shatner, Mark Valley, Renee Auberjonois and Betty White. I particularly enjoyed the comments from Valley, Kaufer and Kelley:
1. I had press clearance so was with the group of professional [rude paparazzi] photographers in the area that the panelists would pose. [I officially now see why celebrities dislike those guys. They were rude to me, too].
2. David Kelley came out and was gracious. I asked him for a few words, holding up my microphone and he started over, but the DGA handler said 'no, he has to go'. [And he did. The event was running late and he was introducing the episode they played first.]
3. Mark Valley came out next and was charming as well. Those two guys are similar. This time my request for an interview was rewarded and Mark spent 3-4 min. talking to me. It's all recorded. I'll transcribe it and/or stream it, but I was completely, utterly dorky. He was flawless, witty and did his best to put me at ease. Renee came out and was cute and wonderful, but no one else did. I could see into the green room and they were all in there for maybe a half hour, talking amongst themselves and watching the ep on their TV. It was nice to see them interacting so casually. Shatner seemed so friendly and open.
4. I slipped into the theater mid-episode [next week's death penalty ep] and sat in the back. When it was over - and not finding my comrades - I walked up to the 2nd row on the right. Only the MTR photog was on the front row, so I had an unobscured view of everyone. [I'll take this moment to acknowledge that Cat bought my $50 ticket for me on ebay. She's amazingly unselfish and I thank you endlessly. She did the same for the others.]
5. The show was 45 min., then the moderator introduced the panel one at a time and spent maybe 30 min. asking questions. Yes, I recorded this as well. Yes, it was against MTR policy. Yes, I'm sighing for breaking with ethics. And yes, I'm FOR the people.
6. Questions from the audience. I did ask one. Anyone who knows me knows who I asked. Mark. I gave him a chance to tell David the storyline for his Brad Chase-centric script. Can you imagine Brad in Paris with three Bulgarian models? Yes, Mark is a healthy American boy. There were maybe ten questions from the audience in all. I was maybe the fourth to ask. Pretty much everyone got a chance to answer something.
7. No shows: Candice Bergen (Schmidt), Rhona Mitra (Tara) and Monica Potter (Lori) were filming late and the Raleigh Studios are 45 min. away in traffic. The press person told me Spader wasn't going to be able to make it, but he did - thank you to his driver. The knowledge that the three ladies (Betty White was the only woman cast member) were filming led to much mirthful speculation. LJ_Alan_Shore had a pretty good notion as to what those women were rehearsing.
8. Upon the moderators 'good night', the audience rushed the stage. Freaked me out, somewhat. But then I said, 'ok...I'm taking a few pictures'. I also talked to Scott Kaufer for a moment afterword. He said he'd be calling me today. I'm still waiting, Scott.
9. The four of us went to Hamburger Hamlet after and ate and drank until after midnight, then went to the Sunset Strip and shopped in the Larry Flynt Hustler store. It was quite amusing. I suggested Hamburger Hamlet, by the way, which is on the strip - at the end and dark and dignified, because I used to go there when I lived on the strip and would see Dean Martin eating alone there. Years later, I heard on True Hollywood Story that he went there every night, alone, for the last several years of his life.
[More coming later but I'm still in LA through Saturday. Once I'm back in the Puget Sound, I'll post more.]