Adrian Grenier: 'I can actually appreciate' the paparazzi
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By Jennifer Odell, with reporting by Mary S. Park
When Adrian Grenier saw a 13-year-old boy named Austin crowding alongside the usual mash of paparazzi outside a club one night, he decided to see what would happen if he turned the tables on the young photographer as a way of documenting the relationship between celebs and paps for a new film. The film became "Teenage Paparazzo," Grenier's third directorial achievement, an intensely personal passion project and one of the most buzzed-about independent films of 2010.
As a longtime veteran of New York's Gen Art Film Festival -- Grenier has served as a juror and acted in numerous Gen Art films over the years -- this week's festival was a natural choice for the documentary's premiere. And as the celebrity content partner for the fest, Wonderwall was also on the bill when the curtain went up at last night's screening, where the audience was treated to a special episode of Celebritweets Theater featuring a certain tall, dark and handsome "Entourage" star. After the movie, we caught up with Adrian about the episode, the film, his own experience with the paparazzi and more.
On his stint as the star of Celebritweets Theater:
Adrian Grenier: I thought it was funny, I loved it. I've already retweeted it!
On what makes Gen Art one of the coolest festivals around:
AG: I've been coming to Gen Art for years. Growing up in New York and you knows it's always good films and great parties. What could be better?
On his weirdest paparazzi experience:
AG: Meeting Austin, a 13-year-old, doe-eyed, blond-mopped, precocious little [kid], just about took the cake. I mean, you see how big and burly and aggressive these monsters [paparazzi] can be and then you have this little boy sort of squeezed in the middle, you know? My first instinct was to try and protect him but then my second instinct was, what the hell is this kid doing?
On what he learned about the paps that surprised him:
AG: I think with as with anything that you might initially judge, there's a whole side to it that you might not know. Part of this movie is about sort of bridging the gap of ignorance and really learning about something that you're not familiar with, and that you might judge initially as a way to gain more empathy and understanding and appreciation. So I think I discovered that I can actually appreciate some of these guys.
On the role of mentors in his own life:
AG: It's funny, this is my second documentary. My first documentary is called "Shot in the Dark" and it's about the search for my father, sort of the absence of that guiding ... parental force. It's interesting to note that there's sort of a theme throughout but I had other people who took me under their wing and everyone needs that. I mean I hope Austin looks at me as a positive influence in his life but you know, who knows? Maybe I just screwed him up.
On the documentary genre and his goals for the film:
AG: I've always been inspired by documentaries because I think they touch upon what's real more than, obviously, staged films. But also there's always an educational element, it seems, to documentaries which I really appreciate. I like to come out of film having learned something as opposed to just felt something. I feel narrative features often are very emotional, which is great, but I think there's often a lack of that other layer of education and wisdom.
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On his most embarrassing gig:
AG: I was a busboy at Planet Hollywood and that was pretty bad. Other people's leftover ketchup and mayonnaise on your fingers is kind of gross. Tip more. Tip more when you go out to eat because those tips trickle down to the busboys and they only get a small portion so tip even more!
On his plans for Mother's Day:
AG: We're going to start tonight I guess, my Mom's here. You know, this is the New York premiere of the film and I'm from New York so I have all my friends here and so we'll start Mother's Day early.
Last but certainly not least, what's Adrian looking for in a woman?
AG: Good hygiene. Oral hygiene is a plus. Gingivitis is a turnoff.
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