10/16/2007 Add a comment

Last week I posted about an appearance by Wes Anderson at the local Borders bookstore. The ante was upped two-fold, as I later found out that Jason Schwartzman would be appearing with him, and that they were giving away tickets to a screening of the new movie, Darjeeling Limited, at the same time.

Needless to say, I was psyched. Borders tells me they're giving out wristbands for the appearance and tickets for the screening at 9 am Monday morning. So I get out there at 7:45, expecting to be one of the first in line. Not so. People had SLEPT OUT to get wristbands and tickets. I was about 88th in line when I got there, which meant I was able to get a wristband for the show but no ticket to the movie.

Borders did a horrible job with the event and had about four rows of ten seats for 250 people, so everyone crowded around and stood uncomfortably. I arrived in a suit and sneakers. Wes and Jason came out and a movie critic from one of the Detroit papers asked a bunch of boilerplate questions and got mostly boilerplate answers from the two of them. Then they opened it up to the audience. My friend Josh caught the eye of the guy going around with the microphone and they handed it to me:
I have a two-part question. How do you go about casting the small roles in your movies, characters who have no lines or one or two but end up stealing the scene? Secondly, can I have one of those roles?
The audience laughed, but Wes and Jason seemed oblivious. Wes muttered something about making a note, and Jason launched into a cute story about how they met a kid while filming in India. The other questions were horrific:
"How do you like Ann Arbor?" [What the hell kind of question is that?]
"I'm an aspiring filmmaker, how do I get people to see my work?" [Have you heard of film festivals?]

My general impression is that Wes is completely neurotic and socially awkward to the extreme. Jason, on the other hand, seemed very friendly and down-to-earth. After the Q & A, they headed over to the signing table. Wes went at a near-sprint, so I couldn't stop him to say hi, but Jason meandered over, shaking hands, saying what's up, so I said hi. Josh asked if he was going out later tonight, and he said that maybe he'd go and get krunked. All in all, it was great to see them in person and damn am I glad I didn't camp out overnight (low of 40 degrees). They were filming the event for Borders.com, so you might be able to see me ask my question here at some later date. I hoped to come away with a part in his next film, but I guess my aspirations as a one-line scene stealer were never meant to be. ben