Sunday, January 23, 2005

Seeing Roger Ebert

I saw Roger Ebert last night. He has been a regular at Sundance for as long as I’ve been going, although he missed last year due to poor health.

I met Roger a few years ago in the lobby at Eccles Theatre, where many of the major movies at Sundance premiere. I wanted his feedback on my business (ClearPlay) and he wasn’t very complimentary. He had just gotten a camera, and asked to take my picture for some unknown reason. Roger is a recognizable celebrity, and I most certainly am not. But everyone in the lobby was wondering who I was that Roger Ebert would be photographing me.

The next day in his column he referred to me as “a candidate for the most hated man in Hollywood.” I ran into him later during the festival at a restaurant in Park City and gave him a bit of a hard time over the characterization. (Considering 99% of Hollywood has never heard of me, I was torn between being flattered and indignant.) He gently defended the column, and then introduced me to his guests, one of which was Darryl Hannah. So I figured we were even, and if ever there was the opporunity to meet J-Lo he could call me the devil incarnate if he wanted.

Last night he was sitting in his familiar place at Eccles. He is always in the same spot, and last year they should have left the seat vacant out of respect. I asked him how he was feeling (all is well, he said) and I told him very sincerely that we missed him last year. We chatted a bit, and talked about a few movies, including an obscure Sundance documentary from 2002 that was one of my favorites and that he liked as well.

It was good to have him back.


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