Moviegoing mellow at Hamptons film festival
The 20th annual Hamptons International Film Festival is set to wrap up Monday in the usual way, with cars heading west on Route 27 and a dwindling group of die-hards enjoying a final, quiet day of moviegoing.
The festival, which began Thursday, didn't make much noise about its big milestone. But maybe that's appropriate in the Hamptons, where the rich and famous have long gathered for low-profile fun, save for those Diddy-Lizzie-Paris years.
The celebrity quotient this year was impressive but not unusually high. The guests once again fell into roughly two camps: older actors with burnished careers, and young actors still getting acclimated to a life of media appearances.
In the first camp were Melissa Leo, set for a screenplay reading in East Hampton Sunday; Nathan Lane and Mike Nichols, who paid tribute to their friend Ann Roth, the Oscar-winning costume designer; Meryl Streep, who made a surprise appearance at the Roth tribute; and Alan Cumming, who spoke before a live audience Saturday. Richard Gere spoke Saturday evening; and singer Stevie Nicks will talk Sunday about her self-produced documentary, "In Your Dreams."
"I've never been to a film festival," Nicks said, at East Hampton's Maidstone hotel earlier in the week. "I was just told by the powers that be that the Hamptons film festival was fantastic, and that I was lucky enough to have been asked. So I'm just really thrilled."
"It's 10 actors who nobody knows who they are, but will soon, hopefully," Gleeson said. "You keep your fingers crossed, but it could mean nothing."
People tend to speak freely at this casual festival where Susan Sarandon last year called the current pope a "Nazi." On Saturday it was Cumming's turn, appearing at Sag Harbor's Bay Street Theatre to talk about his new film at the festival, "Any Day Now," in which he plays a drag queen trying to adopt a child. But he also talked about his upcoming book arguing against circumcision.
"I respect people's religious beliefs," he told an audience member at the Bay Street Theatre on Saturday afternoon. "But there are many things in those religions that aren't practiced any longer. So why do we do that one, when we don't do stoning your wife anymore?"
Gere was more demure in his interview with Alec Baldwin at a sold out Guild Hall Saturday. Asked by Baldwin whether any of his leading ladies -- from Diane Keaton to Julia Roberts -- had ever fallen for him, Gere replied, "Someone told me that one of them had, and I said, 'I wish they had told me!' But I'm not going to answer that question." Gere, who lives in North Haven, also received a lifetime achievement award for acting.
The Hamptons prides itself on having a good eye. Future Oscar-sweepers "Slumdog Millionaire," "The King's Speech" and "The Artist" played here before their theatrical releases.
Monday's screenings include the Colin Farrell caper comedy "Seven Psychopaths" and "Cloud Atlas," starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry.