Something truly historic arrived online yesterday: in honor of the 100th birthday of Paramount Studios, one of the most prestigious studios in Hollywood, Vanity Fair gathered together 116 stars and directors from the company’s glittering history. From Kirk Douglas to Anton Yelchin, from Jack Nicholson to Dakota Fanning, from Martin Scorsese to someone called Katie Featherstone, it was as dazzling a collection of stars as had even been assembled.
But as you can imagine, it was an enormously difficult task to get even one version on that photo taken, and you can only imagine the stories that come out of this kind of hurricane of talent from across the generations. The Playlist were the only online press there at the shoot (suck it, TMZ!), and we can now exclusively bring you ten of the key things we observed over the 17-hour-shoot.
What Could They Possibly Have Talked About? 1: Jack Black & David Lynch
Jack Black: Hey man.
David Lynch: Hcnyl Divad M’i. Nam yeh.
DL: Sdrawkcab gniklat M’i, yrros.
DL: I said I’m talking backwards.
JB: Oh, right. Like the little guy in Twin Peaks, right?
DL: They let me sit on piano keys.
JB: Oh, that’s cool.
DL: My friend, have you ever wondered when?
JB: When what?
DL: ( )
JB: Listen, man, I know it’s not the kind of thing I’m usually associated with, but I really, really dug Mulholland Drive.
DL: That’s very kind. I loved you in Beverly Hills Ninja.
Little Twerp: Robert Downey Jr. Kicks Justin Bieber Off The Staircase.
It was a conflict that had been brewing all afternoon. Robert Downey Jr. was keen to get back to the counting the kajillion dollars he’d made off “The Avengers,” and was looking for the process to go as swiftly as possible. Justin Bieber, meanwhile, had been given a pack of Skittles by his entourage, and was pretty much just running around in circles. Bieber eventually calmed down, and was put under the care of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (the two are developing a hard-hitting drama about an altar boy at the studio), but soon got free, and began clambering over the set, to the frustration of most, and the encouragement of a delighted Ernest Borgnine. The decision was made to take the photo and make the best of it, in the hope that the young popster wouldn’t be a blur in at least one photo. The picture comes at the moment shortly after Downey Jr. told Jon Favreau that he was going to kick Bieber in the ass off the staircase (to both of their amusement), and only seconds before he kicked Bieber in the ass off the staircase. Tears ensued, not least from Tony Scott, who’d failed to film the incident from twelve different cameras at eight different shutter speeds with four different filters.
“Interesting” Face Corner: Bud Cort, Nick Nolte, Michael York, Mickey Rooney
Look, you’ve seen this picture. You can imagine what these guys are like. Every bar has them: the guys who come in at 11am, stay all day, and look like they’ve never seen daylight. They’ve got stories to tell — or Michael York would, had he not recently visited Mickey Rourke‘s plastic surgeon, and was able to speak. But they can turn pretty quickly, as Mickey Rooney‘s growl demonstrates. Cameron Diaz was, frankly kind of upset to be asked to stand with them.
Practicing His Nick Nolte Impression: James Caan
Although he tried to hide his disappointment, James Caan was upset not to be asked to be sat in Character Actor corner. Consigned instead to I Was Only In One Godfather Movie Row, Caan was smarting further due to Nolte having beaten him to the part in “Warrior.” As a result, the veteran actor spent the photoshoot looking up pork pie hats on Andy Garcia‘s iPhone, and trying out a grizzled, sandpapery voice, until Molly Ringwald told him he sounded more like Rip Torn.
What Could They Possibly Have Talked About? 2: Felicity Jones & Dana Carvey
Dana Carvey points to Charlize Theron
Dana Carvey (in a Bill Clinton voice): I did not have sex with that woman.
Felicity Jones: I don’t get it.
Dana Carvey points to Marlee Matlin
DC (in a Bill Clinton voice): I did not have sex with that women.
DC: Bill Clinton?
FJ: I don’t know who that is.
DC: Ok, here’s a new one. (puts on Maggie Smith voice) “What is a weekend?”
FJ looks blank
DC (in Maggie Smith voice): “What is a weekend?” Downton Abbey?
FJ: I’m not in Downton Abbey.
DC: You’re not?
FJ: Look, would you mind getting me an Evian?
DC: Uh, I’m a star too. Like you.
FJ: Really? What have I seen you in?
DC: Wayne’s World?
FJ looks blank
DC (puts on Garth voice) Wayne’s World! Party Time! Excellent!
FJ: You were a film called Excellent?
DC: No… I mean I guess you were pretty young. Wayne’s World 2 came out in 1993.
FJ: Ah, well that’ll it be it then. That was fourteen years before I was born.
Just Happy To Be There: Robert De Niro
We dont’ know what it was up with him. Maybe he was just keen to get back to the set of whatever 50 Cent movie he was shooting that week.
Billy No Mates: Don Cheadle, Mark Wahlberg & Jason Reitman
Star egos are a fragile thing, and certain actors and directors demand special treatment. For some reason, for this photoshoot, it was Jason Reitman, Mark Wahlberg and Don Cheadle. Reitman had already insisted on being flown to the photoshoot by private jet, something which cost 15% of the total box office takings of “Young Adult,” and his contractual insistence of being four foot higher than his father, yet two feet lower than Ali McGraw, caused some difficult rearrangements. A photographer’s assistant would later get his revenge by glueing Reitman’s right hand to the railing. Don Cheadle, meanwhile was originally meant to be with Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau in the “Iron Man” grouping, but had a tantrum after Terrence Howard showed up, and insisted on being six feet away from absolutely everyone. As you can see, he’s pretty happy about it. Meanwhile, people were pretty much just scared that Mark Wahlberg would punch them.
Already Drunk: George Takei
The Star Trek star’s tweets from the day in question
RT @GeorgeTakei Waiting for limo to take me to Paramount photoshoot. Should be a lot of fun! Unless Shatner’s there.
RT @GeorgeTakei Uh-oh. The limo has a mini-bar. I shouldn’t, should I? #ofcourseiwill
RT @GeorgeTakei Oops. Stuck in traffic, got my buzz on. Getting into Paramount lot now. Might take a couple with me for the road.
RT @GeorgeTakei We’re all together! I happen to know there’s at least one other friend of Dorothy here! And no, not the one you’re thinking of!
RT @GeorgeTakei Here’s a clue: #itrhymeswithSchillySchobSchorton #onlykidding #orami
RT @GeorgeTakei @JohnTheCho I’ll fight you, whippersnapper!
RT @GeorgeTakei I did. Punched John Cho right in the face. Simon Pegg had to pull me off him.
RT @GeorgeTakei Having a nice conversation with my photo-neighbor, Phil Spector!
RT @GeorgeTakei Oops! “@AmyHeckerling I’m not Phil Spector.”
We Got A Ride In The Star Trek Bus! Karl Urban & Bruce Greenwood
All we’re going to say, if you think 116 stars is an odd number for a hundreth anniverary, you’d be right. Certain people snuck into the line-up after hitching a ride in a minibus from the “Star Trek 2” set. Certain people hung around getting baked with Tommy Chong before it started. Certain people went up the staircase and told Richard Gere that they were Gerard Butler and Michael Douglas. Naming no names, of course.
All About Eve: Megan Fox & Rosie Huntington Whiteley
There was meant to be a check for this sort of thing. But a harried production assistant clearly hadn’t gotten the memo, and unfortunately the two leading ladies of the “Transformers” franchise were both invited. In fact, Rosie Huntington Whitely and Megan Fox arrived on the studio lot at the same time, instigating a savage catfight, only stopped when their respective boyfriends, Jason Statham and Optimus Prime, pulled the two apart. In the end, they were tidied up (the bone jutting out of Fox’s forearm is cunningly hidden by her nametag), and the pair were placed at opposite ends of the set. Which was good news to Shia LaBoeuf, who’d come disguised as Peter Sarsgaard in order to avoid both of them.
What Could They Possibly Have Talked About? 3: Emile Hirsch & Shirley Maclaine
Emile Hirsch: Hi!
Shirley MacLaine: Hello.
EH: Really, really great to meet you, I’m, like, a huge fan.
SM: That’s very kind.
EH: You get here ok? Avoid the traffic?
SM: Yes, we left quite early.
EH: Oh, yeah, yeah, smart, smart. Uh, everyone seems really nice, don’t they?
SM: Oh yes. Yes.
EH: We’ve got the same haircut, don’t we?
Bonus: MORGAN FREEMAN IS UNDRESSING YOU WITH HIS EYES