When it comes to promoting a potential flop (can Owen Wilson’s charm really battle You, Me And Dupree’s indifferent reviews?), publicists can be ruthless, and sometimes they decide that the best way to avoid bad publicity is to avoid making any comments at all.
Kate Hudson, who plays the put-upon newlywed wife of Matt Dillon in the film, proved unsurprisingly reluctant to face the press on the red carpet, given that she was almost certain to be grilled (by sources other than Empire) about her personal life. So it was announced at the last minute that she wouldn’t be coming, but Owen Wilson stepped up and did a good job of circulating the red carpet, resplendent in beige suit and Nike trainers as befits his slacker character.
He even poses with the cast of ‘How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria’ (just how his PR managed to allow that happen is something to ponder) and all went well until he caught sight of the assembled press inside, at which point he turned pale and walked quickly upstairs. In retrospect, Empire’s brandishing an engagement ring might have been somewhat premature.
With all three of the central cast out of action (Matt Dillon is, presumably, in the States) and a supporting guest-list mostly incorporating Ben Fogle and members of Big Brother, it was left up to Michael Douglas to charm the press, which he did primarily by looking about 10 years younger than he does in photos. Weird.
“I’m beginning to feel old y’know,” he said, grinning wryly at a particularly grizzled hack. “All of a sudden you wake up and there’s Kate – I changed her diapers! Matt and I worked together on a comedy years ago and Owen: for all that surfer, laid-back feeling he’s a very hard worker, always working to make a line better. It was nice to work on an old-fashioned Hollywood movie for a fair amount of time. And my filming was in Hawaii so I’ve got nothing to complain about!”
What’s this we’ve been hearing about a new Romancing The Stone-type picture? “I had an idea for one in India and I’m working on it now, but thinking about making it more kid-orientated.” Does that mean he’ll be bringing his missus, Catherine Zeta Jones, on board?
“I certainly hope so! Nothing romantic, I’ll be the bad guy, give her somebody young as her husband – make it interesting.”
At this point a journalist fired off questions about Wilson and Hudson’s on-set chemistry and Douglas got all flustered. As did Empire, who on leaving managed to fall head over heels and land at the feet (or bosom) of Lea Big Brother. We’re not embarrassed at all. Not even when photographers start taking pictures. This red carpet stuff’s really hard – no wonder Owen Wilson wore trainers.