FFF Day One: “Paper Man” and Emma Stone

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Emma Stone Meets Number One Daughter

Day One
6:51pm “Paper Man” 19 Minutes Late  

Emma Stone was . . . Brilliant!  

Today was the first day of the Florida Film Festival.  I was frustrated.  Traffic was bad.  Number One Daughter and I were late to the opening film, “Paper Man”.  We walked in well after the movie had started.  The theatre manager told us it was standing room only but we managed to find seats in the very front row.  I was not expecting to enjoy it.  

The movie stars Jeff Daniels–one of my favorite actors.  It is a very engrossing film, telling the story of a writer who temporarily leaves his highly successful, vascular surgeon wife and moves to a home in Montauk, Long Island, to try to finish his next novel.  Lacking social skills, he innocently bumbles into hiring a babysitter, even though he has no baby.  She house sits while he spends time interacting with his childhood, imaginary super hero.  Yeah, the story line is a little weird.  

They might not have pulled it off.  Fortunately, there was Emma Stone, playing the babysitter.  

Her performance was sublime.  She somehow managed to capture the depth of a character struggling with guilt associated with the drowning of her twin sister.  It was one part “Ordinary People”, one part “The Sixth Sense” and very reminiscent ofLost in Translation”–mid-life crises meets teenage angst with a healthy dose of psychological fantasy.  Emma somehow managed to convey it all.  

I was so engrossed in the film, I lost track of everyone around me.  Like most Florida Film Festival movies, an appreciative crowd laughed and clapped at appropriate moments making the experience somehow more alive.  Before I knew it the movie was over, the lights came up and an announcer stated that some of the filmmakers were in the audience.  

Michele, Kieran and Emma

Emma Stone was sitting next to me!  Michele Mulroney, the co-writer and co-director and Kieran Culkin, another star were with Emma.  During the Q & A, I complimented Emma on her brilliant performance.  The hearty applause of the audience indicated I was not alone in that thought.  

In a typical film festival encounter, the audience sees  Emma transform from the brilliant actress that managed to plumb the depths of a very complex character to a shy, unassuming 21 year old demonstrating a lack of confidence in her work.  The president of the Florida Film Festival was standing beside me and commented that he felt as though he was witnessing the growth of a new Julianne Moore.  

Only at a film festival can you have these kind of experiences.  I hope you get to a chance to join me this week.  

And please let me know what you thought of “Paper Man”.  

8:30pm Opening Night Party 

After the film, the opening night party at the Enzian was a glorious bash of exquisite hor d’ oeuvres, live music and star-studded party goers. 

This was my first film festival as a member of the press and it didn’t take long for that to have an impact. 

“Are you with the press?  I want you to interview me.  I have the third highest making film in the festival,” brags one lady who looks at me with an expectant air. 

“Your movie made the third most amount of money out of all these films?” I ask, wondering what she meant. 

“No, it has sold the third–or second, I can’t remember–most amount of tickets in the festival.  It’s a local film so I’m really pleased it’s one of the most popular.”  

I know the movie.  It’s a documentary about high school children vying to win a music composition contest.  Since the movie is local, I’m not surprised it has sold a higher number of tickets–all those local young composers, moms, grandparents, friends and teachers would ensure that.  I try to think of a delicate way to make that point but the eager filmmaker is going a mile a minute. 

Her name is Dr. Lisa Mills and she is an associate professor of film at UCF.  She has made about six shorts and this is her second feature.  She says she is in the middle of her second life.  For her first life she was a journalist.  I tell her she could teach me how to write. 

“But you have your own blog, you already know how to write,” she replies.  I point out that anyone can buy a domain name.  She has no idea how much I struggle to produce good writing.  I often fail. 

Her movie is called “The Young Composers Challenge” and it is playing Sunday April 11 3:45pm at the Enzian and Sunday April 18 1pm at Regal Cinema A. 

Lisa laments how our society has adopted an attitude that the arts aren’t important.  She cites the many schools that have cut or reduced art programs as proof.  “I belive the arts are important!” she emphatically declares. 

I envy Lisa.  She is clearly entering a new phase in her life that she finds challenging and rewarding.  Before meeting her, I was not sure I was going to see her film but after meeting her I have it on my schedule. 

9:30pm Interview with Emma Stone 

After watching “Paper Man” Emma Stone agreed to allow me an interview, as long as I kept it short.  I caught up with her at the party. 

She seemed a little nervous and overwhelmed with all the attention she was receiving.  I asked her how she got started in acting.  She said she loved acting for as long as she could remember and she moved to California at 15 to start her career.  My journalistic instincts were working overtime.  Did she move with her parents?  Were they still together?  What happens in a family when a child wants to start a career in a different state? 

Emma Was Very Popular at the Party

I had promised her a short interview so I left these questions unspoken.  The sponsor of the film festival interrupted us and asked if she could do a TV interview.  Emma was fantastic.  She said she was in the middle of an interview with me and would do their interview in a minute. 

I lowered my notepad and tried to make a connection.  “I write a blog about the Orlando area,” I began, “what would you like to say to my readers?” 

The question catches her off guard and she doesn’t know how to respond.  After an awkward moment she shrugs her shoulders, smiles and replies, “Tell them I said, ‘Hi!'”.  

Now it’s my turn to look awkward.  “Tell them to google me,” she continues.  Then, quickly, “No, don’t say that.”  We both laugh as I make a mental note to tell my readers, in fact, to google her. 

She is a terrific young actress and deserves attention. 

Then, remembering that during the movie Q & A she revealed her life long goal was to one day host SNL, I tell her that I’ll tell my readers to look for her on Saturday Night Live.  She smiles and laughs as she moves on to her next interview. 

My first day at the Florida Film Festival comes to an end.

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One Response to “FFF Day One: “Paper Man” and Emma Stone”

  1. Giancarlo Esposito To LanceAround: “You’re Gonna Hear From Me!” | Lance Around Orlando Says:

    […] LanceAround asked Cary Elwes to give a hug to one of his Team Members who was having a birthday. Or Click Here to read the story of how LanceAround and NumberOneDaughter wound up sitting beside Emma Stone and […]

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