Julie Andrews, Patrick Stewart and Kumail Nanjiani attended the Hamptons International Film Festival on Saturday, part of a celebrity-packed weekend that also included an appearance by festival co-chair Alec Baldwin.
Others who showed up Saturday included Danielle Macdonald of the rap-themed drama “Patti Cake$,” Daniel Kaluuya of the hit horror film “Get Out” and Timothee Chalamet of the gay romance “Call Me By Your Name.”
Those actors and others kicked off the morning as part of Variety’s annual “10 Actors to Watch” panel, which included Nanjiani, the Pakistani-American star of “The Big Sick.” During an informal conversation at East Hampton’s Rowdy Hall restaurant, the mostly young actors (Nanjiani, 39, was an elder statesman) talked about their fears of failure and recent triumphs.
Macdonald, who never expected to receive critical acclaim playing a New Jersey rapper, pointed out, “I can’t rap, and also I’m Australian.” Grace Van Patten, a star of Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)” said that despite holding her own with co-stars Dustin Hoffman and Adam Sandler, “I still wake up in my bed thinking I’m in a scene.” Nanjiani recalled trying to pitch a terrible idea to his eventual producer, Judd Apatow: “One of my ideas was about a ghost witch, about a woman who dies and then comes back as a ghost — but she was a witch. He was like, ‘Do you have any other ideas?’ ”
Tales from a more seasoned actor, Stewart, came later in the afternoon when he sat for an interview with Variety executive editor Steven Gaydos. The 77-year-old Stewart, who began his tenure with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966 before gaining widespread fame as Captain Jean-Luc Picard on television’s “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” entertained an audience at the East Hampton Middle School auditorium with tales of acting alongside Ben Kingsley, Ian McKellen and Vivien Leigh. Stewart also spoke about using acting as a way to escape from a household plagued by domestic abuse.
“I never had stage fright,” Stewart said. “The moment I stepped onto the platform, I knew who I was and what I had to do. It was when it was over that life got difficult again.”
Toward evening, Andrews accepted the festival’s lifetime achievement award at East Hampton’s Guild Hall after a screening of her 1982 musical “Victor/Victoria,” directed by her late husband, Blake Edwards. (She also blew a kiss to Virginia Mancini, the widow of the film’s composer, Henry Mancini, in the audience.)
Andrews, 82, spoke with Baldwin about her career on Broadway and her Oscar-winning role in “Mary Poppins” — her very first on-screen appearance. She also admitted to some regret over losing the lead in “My Fair Lady” to Audrey Hepburn.
“Somewhere inside there was a little twinge,” Andrews said, but she added, “It’s very hard to be frustrated and upset when Mr. Disney comes along and says, ‘Would you like to do Mary Poppins?’ I wasn’t angry, believe me.”
The festival continues Sunday with live interviews with Annette Bening and Rob Reiner. Margot Robbie is expected to close the festival with a Monday night screening of her new film “I, Tonya,” in which she plays disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding.