— Randy Gonzalez (@RandyGRandyG) April 15, 2015
I also got to meet Aussie actress and hottie Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies, The Choice) who is pretty saucy herself as well as being the mother of a 14 month so we had a fun chat about my ancient memories of, and her more recent adventures in, breastfeeding. Unfortunately, Alfred Molina, who my husband worked with on Anna Karenina (the 1997 version) wasn't there.
And #4, I really, really wanted to meet Stephen Cornwell, one of the film's writer/producers who was there with his wife.
Stephen, along with his brother Simon, is also instrumental in bringing Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk to the screen. While Stephen stayed behind to wrap things up here in LA, Simon is already in Atlanta where shooting got underway this week. I learned this morning the Cornwell's are the sons of the legendary John LeCarre, a factoid I'm glad I didn't know when I met Stephen last night, else I would have been a blubbering idjet, and I'm sure Stephen has spent his entire life staving off blubbering idjets who want to get close to him because of his dad. I just wanted to get close to him because of Billy Lynn! He asked if I'd read the book and thank God I'm about a third of the way through so I could talk with some understanding about Billy, his "asshole" of a dad, his beautiful sister Kathryn (Kristen Stewart) and Sgt. Dime (Garret Hedlund). His wife, by the way, confirmed they'd read Ben Fountain's book in manuscript form and highly recommended his book of short stories, the Pen/Hemmingway winner Brief Encounters with Che Guevara. It was clear she's a big part of Stephen's professional life, as well as his personal life and I feel like a heel for not hearing her name over the music and the general bar brouhaha.
So there we were, in between the bar and the patio at The Parlor on Melrose and here's what I learned:
Garrett Hedlund as Sgt. Dime
My wishful thinking for Sgt. Dime (Garrett Hedlund) and Billy Lynn's sister Kathryn (Kristen Stewart) to somehow couple up, is most likely just that, wishful thinking.
I haven't spotted any set pics of Kristen yet, let me know if you do!
Thanks to my friend Monica @Pichgonz for the photo
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, despite other actors being bigger names, is most definitely newcomer Joe Alwyn's movie.
Steve Martin plays Norman (Norm) Oglesby, (not to be confused with the football player of the same name) the fictional owner of the Dallas Cowboys. He does NOT play Albert Ratner, the Hollywood agent as I'd assumed he would.
Chris Tucker on the set of BLLHW in Atlanta
In a welcome departure from the novel, Albert is being played, not by a fifty something white man as written, but by Chris Tucker. YAY for diversity!
Vin Diesel is Shroom, heartbreakingly already dead when the novel opens. I'm looking forward to seeing Diesel break out from the Fast & Furious franchise into some deep satiric comedic drama.
Hector, played by Randy Gonzales (Bloodline, The Walking Dead) a bartender at the Dallas Cowboys stadium, is the first person who reacts to Billy as this reader did—
"The fuck! The fuck you gotta got back, after all you fuckin' done, fuckin' hero? Where's the fuckin' right in that? You guys done kicked your share a ass, like whyn't they let you just coast on out?"
I'm super excited to finish the book and follow the filming; I'm expecting another masterpiece from Ang Li and with the script written by Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire, Hunger Games, 127 Hours) and this cast, I don't think my expectations are too high. I'll be creating a page dedicated to Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk the way I did for The Fault in Our Stars, Gone Girl, and Gatsby.
I'll also be doing a close-up look at as many of the characters as I can, with descriptions and/or dialogue from Ben Fountain's novel so be sure and check back. And if you've got info and photos you don't mind sharing, I'd love to share them with our little bookish movie fan world here.