July 2011 – Comic-Con International

Always one of the craziest weeks of the year for me… and this July was no exception.

I did 43 Red Carpet interviews, 8 Live Shots, and 6 Look-Lives in 4 days… I was beyond tired, and a little hoarse, but still all smiles with Producer Heidi Ortlip & Feature Reporter Ruben Galvan!

This year I was most looking forward to the directors – absolute highlight was talking with Steven Spielberg for the first time, the always great Peter Jackson, and none other than Francis Ford Coppola. I like to think I financially support Coppola’s films through my consumption of his fabulous wine collection!

Other celebs hitting the red carpet… of course all my Twilight friends including Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson, and Kristen Stewart… affectionately known as Jacob, Edward & Bella.

New superheroes also hit the red carpet like Spiderman – Andrew Garfield, Superman – Henry Cavill, and Comic-Con favorites like Nicolas Cage & Val Kilmer.


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June 2011 – “Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon”

Moscow, Russia 

Здравствуйте! Or as we say in America Hello!

It’s crazy to think that just a couple decades ago Russia was known as the U.S.S.R. and ruled by the Communist Party. To be in this country now and not only permitted to travel, but holding the World Premiere for Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon is absolutely amazing. I did the red carpet, or should I say green carpet as the film opened the Moscow International Film Festival. Josh Duhamel, Shia LaBeouf, and John Malkovich was just of few of he famous faces talking about the film.

And it was followed by one of the most incredible concerts I’ve ever experienced… Linkin Park (who did the soundtrack) took stage in Red Square with St. Basil’s Cathedral as the backdrop. All of us journalist, the entire cast, Director Michael Bay, and thousands of Muscovites shared a night that will never be forgotten. Including Shia signing a few foreheads…

Why have the evening stop there… journalist, cast, publicists, and the rest of the studio took to the rooftop of the Ritz Carlton where we were staying for an after party surrounded with the light up skyline of Russia. Tyrese thought he could do a better job as DJ so he took over the turntable and went strong until the wee hours of the morning… wait, does 4am count as wee hours? Or should I say late hours of the morning?

While there was plenty of “work,” a few of my fellow junketeers were able to break away for the day and take in some of the best sights this city has to offer. We took a cruise on the Moscow River and saw all the ornate architecture.

We went to the State Tretyakov Gallery which is the foremost depository of Russian fine art in the world…and I couldn’t leave without poking a little fun at how sad all the Muscovites seem, and it even shows through in their art! Haha

I was completely smitten with St. Basil’s Cathedral and the story behind this colorful building. Apparently Russian tsar Ivan IV was such a merciless ruler that it’s rumored that he had Postnik Yakovlev (the artist that designed the cathedral) eyes gouged out so that he could never create anything as beautiful as St. Basil’s again. Thus earing the name, Ivan the Terrible. However, this is widely thought to be a myth because Yakovlev supposedly designed churches in Staritsa, Murom, Sviazhk, and maybe Vladmir after St. Basil’s was erected. Regardless, remind me never to work for that guy.

Other favorite sights…the Kremlin, GUM, and Lenin’s Tomb…oh and I bought a black rabbit fur ushanka hat. It will be amazing this winter. Russia is a fascinating playground…

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Tom Hanks in “Larry Crowne” – Dallas, TX

June 15, 2011

A man that exceeded my expectations…Tom Hanks joins a select few. Generous, witty, humble, warm and just someone you want to be around!! He’s one of those rare actors where whether it’s Big, Forrest GumpCastaway, Sleepless in Seattle or one of his other numerous hits… every person has a favorite Tom Hanks film.  I too have nothing but amazing things to say about the Oscar winner… plus he took a few moments to talk Greek with me and pose for a photo while promoting his passion project Larry Crowne.



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May 2011 – Cannes Film Festival

Kung Fu Panda 2 & Puss in Boots

I’ve been to quite a few film festivals but never to the Cannes Film Festival. It was always on my list of things I wanted to attend and this year I could check it off my list. Paramount sent me to the South of France for Kung Fu Panda 2 and a sneak preview of Puss in Boots.  Getting to be at the famed festival and interview Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jack Black as well as Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek was such a thrill.

We stayed at the Carlton Cannes, which is only the most prestigious hotel on the water and also home to all of the main talent mentioned above and attending the festival.

Carlton Day

On the Carlton Pier in front of our hotel was a red carpet event for Puss in Boots where I interviewed the cast, music was blaring and all the paparazzi was on hand. Plus Director Chris Miller had drinks with us all and struck a pose later that evening.

The best definition I can give for this city is just that it is oozing with glamour. Women dressed to the nines, men in tuxedos roaming the streets at night. The famous red stairs and beautiful beaches… Cannes is definitely somewhere I know need to frequent!


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March, 2011 – Rio de Janiero, Brazil

“RIO” Premiere

Christ the Redeemer is one the new Seven Wonders of the World so it was a must stop for me once I landed in Rio de Janeiro.  It was a foggy, rainy day but I still made the trek to the top with a few fellow junketeers.

Rio de Janeiro is a beautiful city but what surprised me the most was just how difficult it was to communicate with people. Portuguese is the main language spoken and it’s hard to find someone that speaks English. And the ones that do just want to please you and will say “yes” to whatever you ask for. So not only in the language barrier insane, but culturally it’s so different than Europe, or anywhere else abroad I’ve spent time.

World Premiere & Beach Interviews for RIO

The 3D animated film stars Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg. Supporting voices were Jamie Foxx, will.i.am, & Carlos Saldana with music by Taio and all the music supervised by the illustrious Sergio Mendes.

It was a Blu Carpet for the title character and to add to the already colorful backdrop of Rio de Janeiro.  After party was a lot of fun with a private concert, food and Brazilian drinks.

The next day we did stand-ups at two locations…the helio pad that provided the most amazing scenic views.  It overlooked the entire city and you could see the Christ the Redeemer statue in the air too.

We then went to Forte de Copacabana which is the fort that over looks Copacabana beach.  More stand-ups, intros and just enough time to take in the view with waffles covered in chocolate!

In the afternoon all the celebrity interviews were set up on Copacabana Beach. The weather was perfect…warm and tropical, slightly overcast with just a hint of humidity.  All the talent seemed to be in good spirits.

And I couldn’t be on my first trip south of the Equator and put my toes in the ocean! So a few of us took to the beach for an impromptu photo shoot and silly time splashing around in the Atlantic.


We cleaned up and hit the town for the night…20th Century FOX set up a fantastic dinner at Rio Scenarium. It’s a multiple story night club, that is also a restaurant and bar and apparently at city favorite.  It was eccentric with old buggys, mannequins, umbrellas, chandeliers, you name there were multiple on the walls and ceilings.  We had traditional Brazilian drummers and dancers that seemed straight out of Carnavale! Everyone got in the action…some a little more than others!

Hang Gliding in Rio

Rio de Janeiro is known for Copacabana Beach, Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf and of course Hang gliding!  I visited all those locations but then I was willing to take a leap of faith…literally and soar over this beautiful Brazilian city. Placing my trust, and life, in the hands of my guide Marcello…

1500 ft in the air off the mountains that overlook Impenada Beach. I get my guide and he assures me the scariest part of the whole experience will be the drive to the takeoff point.  No joke…I get in this beat up old VW bug with our glider strapped to the top. It’s a stick shift, and then he races up a windy road that could rival Lombard Street in San Francisco and a wicked speed.

I survive. Then we unload and walk up several flight of wooded stairs until we reach the takeoff platform.  The view with amazing…but then it does cross my mind that this is really happening!  After I get suited up, we do a few practice runs as Marcello briefly describes to me what’s expected.

I did my due diligence with Marcello – I’m if I was going to trust the man with my life, I needed to know who I was working with! He has been gliding for more than a decade, he’s done it in 10 different countries and spent time in California for college at UCLA.  I felt much better.

One thing that took the edge off was remembering that I was actually working…called over the camera crew and did my stand-up intros for FOX’s new animated movie RIO. In the film the characters actually hand glide the same route that I was going to do and the animated guide in the movie was actually modeled after the man that runs company we went with.

Nothing left to do but begin the adventure!  Ran off the platform and a couple seconds later was lifted in the air and it was simply incredible.  Spectacular view, indescribable feeling and hands down one of the most awesome experiences I’ve had.

We didn’t really discuss the landing too much…but still went off without a hitch. Landed on our feet in the sand – pure success!  Even earned myself a card in the Clube Sao Conrado de Voo Livre…just in case I want to make this my new Brazilian hobby.

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“Critics’ Choice Movie Awards” 2011

January 2011

Our annual awards show!! I went with my amazing brother Ryan, Heidi Ortlip, and fellow BFCA member Jake Hamilton. Always a fun night celebrating the best of film for the year…once again held at the Hollywood Palladium.

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December 2010 – Paris, France

Took the Eurostar for the first time and went to Paris for a few days with Heidi Ortlip. It was December and the city was absolutely magical.  We stayed right on the Champs Elysee, which was blanketed in snow and looked storybook against the lit Christmas backdrop of the famous Parisian street.

Even though we’ve both been blessed enough to spend time in Paris before, we had to make trips to our favorite iconic spots – The Eiffel Tower and The Louvre.

While visiting The Eiffel Tower, we ducked into a little café called Café le Dome, across the park from the landmark to warm up and indulge in a latte and crepes, these were are staples, next to cheese and wine.  We met Timothy Pinto who was our waiter and soon became our friend. He lived in England for a spell so spoke fluent English and French.  We hung out the night and once we found out he was a musician and sold out arenas, we encouraged and impromptu private performance – brilliant!

Then next night he recruited one of his friends and treated Heidi and me to a wonderful night this beautiful city.  Started it off with a Seine River cruise complete with French champagne to toast the evening, then off to the Latin quarter for Greek food, and ending at The Student Bookstore which was a great little bar that looked more like a cave!

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World Premiere/Royal Premiere of “The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader”

December 2010 – London, UK

It was an absolutely freezing night in London for the World Premiere.  I’d expect nothing less in the middle of December but not only was 20th Century FOX making fake snow for the whimsical premiere, but actually snow was falling the whole evening.  Even with heat lamps, hand warmers and fully bundled, Heidi Ortlip and me thought for a brief, real moment that we might actually get frostbite!

Things heated up once the cast stated their interviews on the red carpet. Highlight was Liam Neeson who voices Aslan.

One thing that made this premiere at The Odeon Theatre unique from any other premiere I’ve done is that it was also the Royal Premiere and Queen Elizabeth attended with Prince Albert. It was all the talk in England and I have to say it was so impressive to see her and put on 3D glasses and watch this CS Lewis classic with part of the Royal Family.

The next day we walked all over the city taking in our favorite sites from Buckingham Palace, to the Thames River, Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and then finally landed at The Tower of London. Heidi and I wanted to see the Crown Jewels once and again and enjoy the stories of the Knights, and Heidi even got her replica Anne Boleyn necklace.

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“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”

November 2010 – London, UK

It wouldn’t feel like a Harry Potter film opening without a trip to London to talk with the cast. This time Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint have all wrapped their decade long roles as Daniel, Hermione and Ron as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 hits theatres. The second part of this final chapter in the film series is due out July 2011.

Did stand-ups and even live shots for my tv station. I normally stick to entertainment but I actually had breaking news for Marc Bailey and Lynda Martin back at home because there was rioting and fires that broke out over the cost of tuition for college students. The story was dominated all the channels in England and quickly made its way to the States, so I got to update everyone on the madness that almost made me miss my live shot and forced Mark S Allen from Sacramento and myself to literally get out of a cab and run the last distance through the street to our live location overlooking London.

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“The Social Network” – New York City

“The Social Network” was the opening night film at the New York Film Festival.  The After Party was held at The Harvard Club and the whole cast attended the black tie optional event on this prestigious property.  It was a great way to spend the evening! 

NY Film FestAfter Party Harvard Club

I did one-on-one interviews with the cast but first I attended the press conference where (Left to Right) Armie Hammer, Justin Timberlake, Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and writer Aaron Sorkin shared their thoughts on making this movie, Facebook, and the real people they portray.  It’s fascinating to me that Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook at 19 years old in his dorm room at Harvard, and now at 26 years old, he’s worth billions – yes Facebook is worth 25 billion dollars – and 500 million people use the social site.  Talk about creating a game-changer, this is a generation-changing invention!

Social Network CastJustin Jesse AndrewJustin JesseJustin TimberlakeAaron SorkinHarvard Club Library

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