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Bradley Cooper and dir. Derek Cianfrance on the set of The Place Beyond the Pines - Photo by Atsushi Nishijima – © 2013 - Focus Features

Bradley Cooper and dir. Derek Cianfrance on the set of The Place Beyond the Pines – Photo by Atsushi Nishijima – © 2013 – Focus Features

…well it wasn’t just mine. Two hundred of my nearest and dearest came too.  Oh all right, it was a Q & A following a movie screening. But I was in the front row so it still counts.

I had a pass to see a sneak preview of the new film from director Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine), The Place Beyond the Pines starring Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta, Ben Mendelson, Dane DeHaan and the aforementioned Bradley Cooper.

I go to screenings all the time, it’s one of the perks of living in a movie-mad, metropolitan area and I knew that this one would include the Q & A with the director. I had a feeling something else was up when there were not only actual security guards checking passes and enforcing the “rules of the line” ie: once you were in line you stayed put. There was no going to get popcorn while someone held your place. Bathroom break? Too bad. Go directly to the back of the line. These weren’t the usual spindly high school kids who’d back down if you gave them a stern look, these were adults with name tags on lanyards and walkie-talkies (Vinny was a little drunk with power if you ask me.)

So once I finally made it into the theater, I made a beeline for my usual spot, front row center. (This is where I like to sit. I don’t understand all the complaining about having to sit there by people who can’t find seats elsewhere. I sit there in an otherwise empty theater.) The screening got started late because it took a while to pack the house to the rafters – also not standard.

Finally, the movie was introduced by the Movie Editor (and Book Development Editor – if I’d had a card I’d have slipped her one) from the Boston Globe and the lights went down.  (The movie itself was fantastic – more on that here once I have a chance to review it.)  More than two hours later, the lights came up again and everyone was told to stay seated. Janice Page was back to introduce the director, whom she announced “has brought a special guest with him”.  As three stools are placed right in front of me, one for her, one for Derek Cianfrance and one for the “mystery guest”, who walks out of the wings but Bradley Cooper! He proceeds to sit down right in front of me, turns his baseball cap around (which adorably said “Wolfpack” on it – a nod to the Hangover films) and train those tractor-beam blue eyes on me …and smile.  (I may have hugged myself and made a sound like Muttley – I can’t be sure.)

For the next hour Mr. Cianfrance and Mr. Cooper took intelligent questions, with only a modicum of gushing, from the audience. (Ms. Page started it by asking everyone to applaud Cooper’s Oscar nom.)  I had my hand up although I didn’t get to ask one, but that’s okay since everything I would have asked, about the making of the film and the director’s choices, was asked and answered.  So what if I did not get to tell Bradley Cooper that he’s the inspiration for a villain (that we lovingly refer to as “Toad”) in our WIP. I also didn’t get to ask him about his boys weekend in Miami with Gerard Butler a few weeks ago.

All things considered it’s for the best that I sat in silence.  I got to see a great movie, listen to the director talk about his inspirations and his process and find out that an actor whose talent I admire is also a funny, intelligent, personable and humble man.  Not bad for a Tuesday.

Have you had a brush with celebrity? Rubbed elbows with the rich and famous? Someone you’ve long admired perhaps? Did your palms get sweaty and your face grow hot or were you as cool as a cucumber? Tell us your story in the comments.

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