Sunday Espresso: Sam Rockwell Dancing, Ed Norton, Towel Man

    It all went down like this. One day I walk out of the steam room at Club One, delirious and disoriented.

    Sunday Espress Editorial Clint

    Sunday Espresso Editorial - Clinton Stark - Stark InsiderI admit I didn’t really know much about Sam Rockwell prior to the Mill Valley Film Festival. Then someone mentioned he was in Charlie’s Angels. Aha! Yes, now I remember, the bad guy that could dance. He played the kind of badie that was cool. That movie was mostly summer blockbuster fluff, but I remember it for his performance and also because there was Tom Green  — in full-on Drew Barrymore romance mode — jumping off a boat with a frying pan. Priceless. Ottawa!

    Sam “the scarf” Rockwell is a bona fide A-lister. But if I had only known about his dance moves, then perhaps the Stark Insider interview (“sound bytes” more accurately) might have transcended “quirky” as Loni describes it.

    Any man that can make an entrance like he did one evening on Jimmy Fallon’s show is worthy of the highest regard; and more than just a bit of envy from this stiff-white-Canadian-boy. I don’t got game (my Zumba career lasted one class).

    If I could have one wish, one shot… it would be to dance like Sam Rockwell… check it out…

    He said once that growing up he used to smoke pot and pretend he was black. Case closed.

    I stumbled upon his wildly popular Fallon entrance by accident after searching aimlessly on YouTube. After watching the 30-second intro (and several other clips that include an entertaining audition for Confessions of a Dangerous Mind) I realized that the guy not only had game, but he had the moves and the talent to pull off what every guy secretly desires: cool moves that can impress the ladies. Travolta has it (obviously), as did Michael Jackson and Fred Astaire — indeed, rarefied air.

    It was all the more surprising as in person he was way laid back, and absolutely polite and patient before the screening of his film Conviction at the MVFF opening night reception which included big-time donors, Weinstein Company publicists, industry folks, and even us wall flowers. You’d just never know the guy was a wildly talented dancer.

    Edward Norton

    Speaking of failed research… as much as I try, there are some things that are next to impossible; like prepping Loni for an interview with one of the greatest living actors of my generation (I think we’re about the same age, and yet I wonder: how does he keep all that hair? Rogaine is my sole, crumbling defense). I don’t even think she’s seen a single Ed Norton film. Of course I think I’ve seen almost all of them (but not The Incredible Hulk… come on now): American History X (edgy), Primal Fear (a great, pre-Sixth Sense twist) and Fight Club (another awesome twist in an uber-slick nihilistic Fincher film).

    So I create a quick list of bullet points. We don’t know how much time we’ll have, if any at all. We review it several times over in advance. What’s the film again Loni asks? Stone, I say. Stone. With De Niro, living legend of film.

    Ed Norton - Loni Kao Stark
    This is even worse than working with Drew Barrymore. (photo: Tommy Lau

    She decides to ask him about his hair, the cornrows (which do add menace). That works. But my favorite part is when Loni asks him what it’s like to work with “Robert.” All he can say, of course, is how great it was. But Loni doesn’t want the stump speech; although, to be fair, I don’t know how else I would respond give the same circumstances. So we employ a choice edit to remove the somewhat stilted exchange (although I did leave the part where he asks everyone to “keep it civil” before looking back to Loni sizing her up… watch at end for outtake). I wanted to leave it in, but Loni felt it wasn’t right. To me it was just fine and was extremely pleased he spent the time talking with us. And I still think he has more than a passing resemblance to my cousin Dave up in Vancouver. So it was like hanging with family. Well, except for the red carpet, flashing cameras, security detail, and small talk.

    Quick thought on MVFF: I don’t recall watching this many quality screeners and films in a long time. Superb.

    Towel Man

    I think I have a new movie idea.

    The pitch: a towel man at a local gym goes off the rails because people keep walking across his freshly mopped floor.

    He goes so crazy that he even attempts to crash his towel cart into said offenders. Yes, I am one of them, apparently.

    It all went down like this. One day I walk out of the steam room at Club One, delirious and disoriented for my fair skin can not handle heat above fifteen degrees Fahrenheit for more than a minute before bubbling over in welts and boils. I need water. Better yet I need a Diet Coke, a Toblerone and Twitter.

    So I am wobbly and wandering across the change room hallway, not exactly down the center along the corrugated riser.

    Soon I hear, “Señor. Señor!

    I am in such stupefied condition, that all I can muster is a less-than-enthusiastic, “Eh.”

    He points to the floor. Nothing registers. Vangelis still rings through my head, the glorious soundtrack to Alexander. I am in another world. It’s one of the reasons why I must get to the gym as much as possible. He shakes his finger solemnly and says something about the floor. I look down, slowly. Very slowly, stuff dripping off me all over the place, presumably sweat. I look behind me. Oh, okay I think I get it… you’re cleaning the floor, and I’m making it dirty. Then I wonder, again in super slo-mo, why the heck am I not walking down the middle like everyone else?

    So flash forward (yes, none too soon). Now every visit to Club One now has an awkward exchange whenever I must make my way from the steam room to the showers. Last time I swear — I’m convinced! — that he tried to ram the towel cart into me. I’m not so sure I’d say that on the stand per se. This time I had Green Day’s American Idiot blasting, so I was most certainly in some kind of anarchic mindset.

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