“I can’t believe he’s teething,” says Kiefer Sutherland.
The elevator at the Palomar Hotel in Los Angeles ascends quickly to the 16th floor. I stand, staring unapologetically, as Kiefer Sutherland and Mary Lynn Rajskub stand next to me and talk. Well, perhaps that’s not accurate – Kiefer does the talking, complimenting various aspects of Rajskub’s status as a new mother (hence the above quote), while Mary Lynn embraces Kiefer from behind, exuding a silent affection for TV’s Jack Bauer that could, in no way, be construed as disingenuous. Kiefer is well under six feet tall and has a voice like a rock quarry, all gravel and dust. Despite his DUIs and past transgressions, Kiefer seems like a kind, intelligent, normal guy who ended up famous for probably every reason other than the fact he desired it. You get the sense that he never wanted the fame he holds, and would rather have a beer with a local townie than a martini with a Hollywood executive. Mary Lynn Rajskub the Actress is almost unrecognizable juxtaposed to Chloe O’Brian the Character. The actress is skinny, charmingly disheveled, and has smiled more in the last thirty seconds than Chloe has on all of her 24 seasons combined. The elevator bell dings, the 16th floor opens before us, Kiefer Sutherland gets out of my way, and I head to my room.
This was me, at the FOX Winter Press Junket, the fourth one of these events I have attended during my time at BuddyTV. It, without question, was the most grueling. I flew into Los Angeles on Monday night, woke up at 7am the next morning, did interviews with FOX stars from 8am-6pm, then headed out to the 24 Premiere Party immediately afterwards, and then left Los Angeles the following morning at 6am. It was a whirlwind, the likes of which became all the more surreal with events like the one above. It’s not everyday you share an elevator with Jack Bauer and Chloe O’Brian.
We’ll be publishing all of the interviews we conducted over the next few weeks (which include Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz from Bones, Olivia Wilde and Lisa Edelstein from House, Kiefer and Mary Lynn from 24, among others). And, most of the interviews will be of the video variety, if that’s something that tingles your loins.
Press junkets are inherently bizarre. You’ll be sitting in a waiting room, preparing for an interview and all of a sudden Brian Austin Green will be sitting next to you making small talk with his assistant, or Joss Whedon will be standing in the corner eating spaghetti. For the on camera interviews – which we at BuddyTV now conduct – FOX sets up a number of rooms on one floor of a hotel with all the necessary camera equipment. The “talent” stays in one of the rooms until they’ve done all their interviews. Outside, waiting in unfocused lines, are the online people brave enough to face the camera and a handful of TV reporters from local FOX affiliates from all across the country.
The thing about these local affiliates is that they don’t really know very much about the people they’re talking to or the shows they’re involved with. They overcome this lack of knowledge and/or preparation with an uncompromising sense of confidence. You’ve seen them on your local TV stations – they ask loud, boisterous questions with big, eye-punching smiles. They sell it in ways us lowly bloggers cannot, and no matter how great or in-depth our questions might be, it is impossible to equal the sheer noise produced by those local correspondents and their make-up caked faces. I envy their lack of self-consciousness.
So, those were the interviews, with their ups and downs (I rode the elevator with Eliza Dushku and I managed to make some amiable small talk, but then didn’t get to interview Joss Whedon as expected). It’s a grand privilege, obviously, to talk to the biggest stars on network television, but it can be quite exhausting as well. After the day of interviewing was over, and we finished the roundtables with Kiefer and Mary Lynn, it was time to for the 24 Premiere Party. I rode up to my room with Kiefer and Mary Lynn (I cannot reiterate how small they both are), and put on my best duds.
You might as well have thrown me into a conference room full of carnies or teenage World of Warcraft fanatics – it took less than a minute to realize that I did not fit in. It was the classiest Hollywood party I had ever attended, easily, with cast members Kiefer Sutherland, Elisha Cuthbert, Rhys Coiro, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Annie Wersching, Cherry Jones, Carlos Bernard and Jon Voight on hand. The production team was all there too – Jon Cassar, Howard Gordon, Evan Katz, Manny Coto and David Fury. FOX bigwigs Kevin Reilly and Peter Ligouri also showed up. And, given the wardrobe and aura of the rest of the attendees, you got the feeling that the room was full of players. Which was great, because the food was preposterous (in a good way, mostly), the bar was open and they gave away free Dominican cigars.
I managed to shake hands with Rhys Coiro and Jon Voight, pat Carlos Bernard on the shoulder while whispering sweet nothings in his ear (actually, I politely asked him to get out of the way; he was blocking my path to the food), and gawk at Elisha Cuthbert. So, all in all, I’d call it a massive success. We hope you all enjoy the interviews that we will begin to post in the next couple of days. Until then, Mahalo.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Images Courtesy of FOX)