Australian Red Carpet Premiere.
Storms threatened overhead but Sydney turned on a perfect evening on an outdoor red carpet to welcome Ben Stiller and Kristen Wiig for the Australian premiere of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. The screening took place inside the Sydney Entertainment Centre, a venue better known for huge sold out concerts, not movies. The movie itself is a romantic adventure with mixes of Forrest Gump and Benjamin Button overtones. Oh and an awe inspiring rendition of a classic David Bowie song. Kristen looked in my direction thanking me for the big smile as we shook hands.
Shane A. Bassett. Great to meet you again, you looked lovely here for the Bridesmaids premiere and even better now.
Kristen Wiig. Hi, thank you so much Shane.
SAB. You could almost be every man’s fantasy in real life but in the movie you are the object of Walter Mitty’s affections. How was that focus for the role?
KW. Playing the character Cheryl is very flattering. God, I don’t even know what else to say really other than it’s Ben Stiller. I was flattered just to be a part of this movie.
SAB. How did the role come your way, did Ben approach you personally?
KW. Yes he contacted me saying lets talk about a project, we ended up meeting and told me the whole concept of the movie. Shortly after that, I read the script. It was a very easy yes from me.
SAB. You did an amazing rendition of (the David Bowie tune) ‘Space Oddity’ in the film which I must say is on par with astronaut Chris Hadfield. Was it daunting to sing and did Mr. Bowie get in contact with you about it?
KW. Nothing from David. It was very daunting as I am a huge Bowie fan and I was really nervous even though I have sung parodies on SNL before; this was different. I accepted my main aim was going to sing it at my best to do it justice, it’s a classic.
SAB. What is your favourite part of the film?
KW. When Walter is getting the airplane ticket and (that) message can be heard throughout the airport. Wonderful.
SAB. Have we got Bridesmaids 2 to look forward to at any stage? Maybe you could direct?
KW. No, I don’t think a sequel will happen. Its not going to be, let’s leave it the way it is. But directing is something I want to do.
SAB. Keep up the great work on SNL too.
KW. Thank you so much.
Almost simultaneously I am then introduced to Ben by a publicist.
Ben Stiller. Hello how you going?
SAB. Hello there Ben, I’m good. Pleased to meet you and you have come a long way since Miami Vice.
BS. (Laughing) Oh yeah, that was a while ago.
SAB. Have you matured as a director since Reality Bites?
B.S. Since being on Miami Vice, for sure (laughs even more).
SAB. I seriously love Miami Vice, you’re a part of pop culture history on that.
BS. I know, I was very happy to have the job so young, it was a very exciting job for me. Just being a working actor at that time was like wow, I got to meet Crockett and Tubbs (Don Johnson, Phillip Michael Thomas). Yes I feel I have changed and hopefully matured a little as a person over the last 20 years. I think that’s what life is. It happens you go through life, have experiences that change you when you’re older. I hope that forms whatever you do so I hope it develops my directing too.
SAB. Sean Penn is great, how did you secure him?
BS. We only had four days with Sean, I just wanted him so I didn’t care but an ice storm hit during filming in Iceland stopping filming for two days. What he acheives in the film is immeasurable.
SAB. What is your favourite moment?
BS. That’s hard, it’s my movie! Probably when Cheryl is singing as I get onto the helicopter.
SAB. How was filming in the Icelandic regions?
BS. I knew it was going to be messy, I would need a lot of help. Also needed to stay efficient with all the cast and crew bonding together as a team. We figured out a way to do it together. It was exciting, it was fun, we wanted to have as many real experiences as possible within the movie. I wanted that to feel like real things were happening. So every day we were shooting in Iceland either on a bike or running or in the ocean or climbing up a mountain. All that stuff is the best because you’re having a real life experience but you happen to be making a movie also. And…we saw Russell Crowe! He was filming ‘Noah’.
SAB. Well I hope you come down under to make a film one day, Russell could show you around.
BS. Actually, I would love to travel to the outback (shakes my hand moving on). Thank you.
Shane A. BassettSydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.