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Multitude of pics ‘plexes publicists

Publicists fret about thesps touting wrong films

Everybody has a professional nightmare scenario. Publicists are no exception.

“I worry about sending an actress in to promote the wrong film,” says Lisa Kasteler. “That’s my nightmare.”

She and her business partner, Annett Wolf, recently celebrated their 15th anniversary presiding over Wolf-Kasteler & Associates, one of the higher-profile agencies in town. And come Oscar time, it all becomes a blur.

Certain thesps have a plethora of parts. When Kasteler is in charge of coordinating, say, Cate Blanchett’s publicity efforts involving more than one film during kudos season, naturally she is extra cautious about making sure the film the actress thinks she’s promoting in a particular interview is indeed the one she’s scheduled to promote.

Blanchett has “Babel” out now, and “The Good German” and “Notes on a Scandal” following shortly. Alec Baldwin has “Running With Scissors” and “The Departed” out, with Robert De Niro’s “The Good Shepherd” due in December. Matt Damon has “The Departed” and “The Good Shepherd.” Maggie Gyllenhaal may be considered for “Sherrybaby,” “World Trade Center” and “Stranger Than Fiction.”

Gyllenhaal not only has multiple films to keep track of, she also had to monitor her pregnancy while doing publicity.

“I did a lot of press for ‘Sherrybaby’ pregnant,” Gyllenhaal says, “and then I had to stop and take care of myself. The only downside was that it alerted the tabloids that my baby was coming. Aside from that, it was fine.”

“The one sad thing is that I love ‘Stranger Than Fiction’ and couldn’t do anything for that. When I was doing press for ‘Sherrybaby,’ I was so pregnant. I went on ‘Jon Stewart’ and I was so big and I was like, ‘Look at me. Please, come see my movie.’ ”

For a Hollywood publicist, it is a hectic time, but often a rewarding one, too.

“It’s a nice problem to have,” says Kasteler, whose firm also handles Emilio Estevez (with the upcoming “Bobby”), Tim Robbins and Nicolas Cage. “Until the end of February, it’s crazy if you have a few clients in this situation. I also have many others who are not Oscar contenders and they still have work to be promoted. We can’t just focus on possible nominees.”

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