Feig on the Road: Bringing Home "The Heat"
The 11th and final part of Paul Feig's sartorial tour of the press junket.
[Catch up on all past entries from Paul Feig's daily travel journal. To see what all the fuss is about, download "The Heat" in digital HD, or order it on DVD or Blu-Ray, available today.]
June 19th – On a plane right now flying to Boston. Had a full day of press yesterday with all the German reporters. A lot of them asked very interesting and different questions, which was fun because it kept me from falling into my standard answer mode. My wife got to take a walking tour of Berlin and really fell in love with the place. When I finished up all my interviews by mid-afternoon, she took me to see a store that she really liked. It's a handmade belt shop and I have to say, it was very impressive. You could pick out the buckle you like and then choose from all different textures and colors of leather and then they measure your waist and custom-make your belt for you. Since I'm not much of a jeans guy, I didn't take full advantage of some of their cooler buckles. But they had a lot of selection and the prices were extremely reasonable. The place is called Hoffnung if you ever find yourself in Berlin and in need of something new and snappy to hold your pants up. And who isn't in need of that, right?
Suit worn: The blue Brooks Brothers Milano cut two-piece again. I felt like I'd been photographed in my three-pieces a good amount already and so figured it was time to show more shirt than I normally do. That and it was sort of hot today. A function-over-form decision. Live with it.
We had dinner with the Fox Germany team, the very nice people who helped organize the Berlin junket and kept it running smoothly. We ate at a very famous restaurant there called Borchardt, which is about as traditional German as you can get without wearing lieder hosen and drinking out of a giant beer stein. They apparently invented wiener schnitzel there and if you take one taste of it, you know it's true. I have to admit I'm not a huge wiener schnitzel fan because I don't love all the breading but this was amazing. Whatever spices they used in this coating was so savory and flavorful with a little bit of a kick that I was tempted to order an entire one after I finished my very safe and non-adventurous beef filet. I had two bites of my wife's dinner and spent the rest of the night regretting my former wiener schnitzel prejudice. Only the fact that I'm currently sitting on a plane flying back to the U.S. is stopping me from heading back to the restaurant and ordering a couple plates of breaded veal. (And, no, it's not sitting on a pile of small penises. Those are white asparagus. But they really do sort of look like ...)
Ended the evening having drinks and oysters in a restaurant called Grill Royal, which is on the river that runs through the center of Berlin. The great thing about Berlin, as with much of Europe, is they have an amazing café society. There are so many places throughout the city where you can sit outside and watch the world go by. It was a beautiful night and the drinks were great and the oysters were fresh and briny and we all wished we had a few more days to enjoy the city. Sadly, we don't and have to head back to Boston. But my wife and I will definitely come back to Berlin. There's just way too much to see and do and eat.
And, of course, as we were heading to the airport to catch our flight home today, Barack Obama was about to speak to thousands in front of the Brandenburg Gate commemorating the 50 year anniversary of John F. Kennedy's "Ich Bin Ein Berliner" speech. So, I basically flew halfway around the world to miss a historic moment with my President that was happening a few blocks from the hotel I was staying at. Oh, well. That's show biz. (Not complaining!)
Tonight, once we land, something amazing is going to happen. One of my heroes in life is a woman by the name of Barbara Lynch, a chef who owns and operates some of the best restaurants in Boston. Every one of her places is amazing and every one of them is different. She has an oyster bar called B&G Oysters, a meat and charcuterie place called The Butcher Shop, a gourmet Italian eatery called Sportello (where everyone sits at a long winding counter), an amazing bar called Drink, her flagship restaurant Number 9 Park, and what I think is the best restaurant in the U.S., a fancy French temple to food and fine service called Menton. Ever since we were in Boston last summer shooting "The Heat," I've been obsessed with Barbara. I couldn't believe that one person could be responsible for so many amazing restaurants. The quality of the food at each of them is superb, the design of each restaurant is unique and inviting, and each one is a completely different dining experience. I put out feelers that I wanted to meet her but was always told she was too busy, which makes perfect sense when you're running that many amazing places.
But then Esquire asked me to host one of the episodes of their new Esquire Network show "The Getaway," and they wanted to know what American city I'd like to do my episode in. I immediately said Boston. I really fell in love with the place last summer when we were shooting "The Heat" there and was desperate to get back. But the first request I made was that I could interview Barbara on camera. I was told that she never does interviews and doesn't want people to film in her restaurants. But I wouldn't take no for an answer. I hit up every person I knew who had any degree of separation from her, as did the gang organizing my shoot, and eventually we were told that she'd do the interview with me at The Butcher Shop, along with her protégé and new chef at Menton, Kristen Kish (who also won "Top Chef" this year). I was ecstatic. And very nervous.
I met Barbara and Kristen at the restaurant and from the very start, they couldn't have been nicer. Barbara was so warm and funny and she arranged an amazing lunch for us of charcuterie and lamb chops and homemade hot dogs and then she had them bring out this enormous bottle of French rose from Provence. We ate and talked and laughed for an hour but in the middle of it, I asked Barbara if she liked a Parisian bistro called Chez L'Ami Louis. Her eyes lit up and she told me it's one of her favorite restaurants in the world. She said she occasionally has L'Ami Louis nights at Number 9 Park where she would recreate some of their most famous dishes. And then she said the words that almost made me faint. "Hey, when you're back in town, you should come over and I'll make a L'Ami Louis dinner for you and your friends."
And guess where I'm going tonight? I will definitely be reporting back in tomorrow, fatter and happier than I am right now.
June 20th – Well, if Barbara wasn't my hero before, she is now. (And she already was.) Not only did we get to eat an amazing meal, we got to watch her make it from scratch. She roasted a "freedom chicken" and potatoes in duck fat, along with asparagus and morel mushrooms and put out two big pots of foie gras covered with duck fat and mixed with some Madera. What's a freedom chicken, you ask? My question exactly. It's a chicken raised by a friend of hers that is allowed to live a month and a half past when chickens are normally slaughtered. (Cripes, there has to be a less violent term than "slaughtered," but then again that technically is what's happening to those chickens. If they weren't so delicious ...) I've never in my life had a more flavorful chicken. I didn't even get to eat the white meat, which my wife said was unbelievable, because the legs and thighs were so good. We had lots of wine and tons of fun. Barbara is a hoot, one of the funniest people I've ever met. She's warm and honest and brash and hilarious. I couldn't believe we were getting to share such a carefree evening with her. By the time we rolled out of there, I felt (and looked) like I was pregnant. This press tour has been an orgy of eating and drinking and me talking about myself way too much, while at the same time being a drought of exercise, moderation and self-restraint. In other words, the perfect vacation.
We had the Boston screening of "The Heat" tonight. We wanted to do something for all the law enforcement who had helped with the movie, the Boston Police Department and FBI members who had been in the film and consulted with us to make sure we were being as accurate as possible with our crime-fighting, as well as any other first responders who wanted to come and see the movie. We also had a lot of our Boston cast there, mostly people with less than a few lines but who all make a big impression in the film. We showed it in two theaters which were side by side and both crowds really seemed to enjoy it. But the best was getting to see the men and women of the BPD and Boston FBI. After the way they all got the city through the aftermath of the Marathon bombings, it was an honor to be in their presence. No joke.
Off to New York City in the morning. I'm so excited to take the train. It was my favorite thing to do while we were prepping the movie. My wife and I have an apartment in New York City and it's my favorite place to hang and write. We're taking the Acela, which is the faster, nicer train. It has big windows so you can sit and watch the world go by. It travels next to the water in several places and so you really get some relaxing views. If I could, I would make it my office and just get on and start writing and do two round trips in a day. Perhaps I'd buy my own train car eventually and live like that bad guy in "Once Upon a Time in the West," just without the getting-killed-and-dying-next-to-a-puddle part. (Oops. Uh ... retroactive spoiler alert.)
Thanks for the good time, Boston. Manhattan, here we come!
June 26th – Okay, after all that build-up, I missed several days of journaling because New York City turned out to be a whirlwind. (If you want details of what I ate during my time in New York City—and how could you not?—check out my Grub Street journal from my time at the NYC press junket. I'm now sitting on a plane flying back to LA and feeling good about getting home. The press tour was fun but in many ways it was so fun that it feels like I've been on vacation for too long. Dying to get back home and get back to work.
The press junket went well and the premiere was a lot of fun. The movie played great in the cavernous Ziegfeld Theater to an almost packed house. The place holds over 1100 people and so when that many people are laughing, it's quite an overwhelming sound. We had several parties afterward and much alcohol was consumed. I mean, it usually is when I'm involved but the boozing extended to pretty much everybody, which means it was a good evening.
Premiere suit worn: The infamous dark purple Thom Sweeney three-piece with a white Anto shirt and a black and purple Ralph Lauren Black Label tie. The guys at Thom Sweeney were nice enough to rush this spicy plum bespoke number when I told them I needed it for the premiere. I did my fittings when I was in London for the press junket and then they put the pedal to the metal to get it done and sent to me in time for our New York City gala. It was extremely nice of them because normally you simply can't rush bespoke. But they did for me and I was very grateful because the suit looked great. One show biz pet peeve: When you do interviews on the red carpet, nobody asks men who they're wearing. They always ask the ladies but as far as reporters are concerned, a suit is a suit is a suit. Let's put an end to that and give credit to the designers who make men look good too. Harumph. (For the record, my beautiful wife was clad all in Etro. She couldn't have looked prettier.)
I then spent the next few days doing various interviews and appearances and even ended up doing an interview on the CBS Morning Show this morning before getting on the plane. Last night I did a big interview in front of a live audience at the Tribeca 92Y space in front of a large crowd. It was really fun, or at least it was for me. People seemed to enjoy it but I've hit that point after weeks of talking that I can't imagine anyone doesn't want to strangle me the minute I open my mouth. Tonight I'm appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live and that will basically put an end to my talking-too-much tour. It's been a lot of fun and now I just have to stress out endlessly about whether our movie will do well this opening weekend or not. Fingers crossed we don't bomb!
Thanks for reading my press junket journal. I really hope the movie doesn't tank because if it does, this is going to look even more indulgent and pathetic than it already does. But, hey, at least I had fun writing it. Whether you had fun reading it is a completely different matter. I'll think good thoughts that you did. Many thanks! —Paul Feig
"The Heat" made 39.1 million dollars on its opening weekend, exceeding all expectations. It also received an A- Cinemascore, which means that audiences liked it enough to tell their friends to see it. The movie ended up earning 159 million dollars domestically and over 220 million dollars total worldwide. Paul credits fine tailoring for the movie's success.