Other than Tony Soprano himself, in the person of James Gandolfini, Al Gore was arguably the most iconic figure on the red carpet before Sunday’s Emmycast.
The former U.S. veep was asked if he’d do a tour of award shows again (he was at the Oscars and Grammys as well) and he took a moment to think when his Current TV partner Joel Hyatt interjected: “Of course we hope to be back. We hope to win.”
There were roughly 30 members of the “Sopranos” cast on hand — “The family runs deep,” said one HBO exec — and they seemed to be everywhere.
“It’s the end of an era,” said the show’s Peter Bogdanovich. “There was TV before the ‘Sopranos’ and there was TV after the ‘Sopranos.’ Everyone’s now looking to do that edgier thing.”
And while the Sopranos were the prime choice for everyone doing interviews, there were some stars who fell through the cracks.
“Our publicist ditched us and we ended up not doing any press,” said Judah Friedlander of “30 Rock,” who mentioned he’d gone to the trouble of buying a Target suit and a George Foreman brand white shirt for the occasion. “I spent 80 bucks on this suit and no wants to interview me.”
He was accompanied by co-star Scott Adsit who said dryly: “People are itching to talk to us.”
It’s a quirky year for the kudocast — it will probably move to a different venue in 2008 — and the scene seemed oddly low key.
Not even the ubiquitous Christian protesters, the ones with the “Hollywood is Babylon” signs, bothered to show up.
Still, the arrival circus went on as it had for the past 10 years at the Shrine.
“Part of the basic, showbiz personality is that people seem to be self-renewing about these shows,” said “Broken Trail” director Walter Hill. “People get revved up for them every year.”
In describing the scene, one ATAS member said, “It seems like the same as past years. The big thing is how it will work in the round. And if Britney shows up.”
A perennial Emmy arrivals theme is getting stuck in traffic. The TV Academy has roughly 15,000 members and at times it seemed all of them, plus a guest, were descending on the Shrine. In reality the crowd was around 6,300, which is the Shrine’s max capacity.
“We’re oversold on seats and the governors ball,” said ATAS topper Dick Askin. “You try to make as many people as we can happy, and then you say: ‘hopefully, next year.’ ”
USA prexy Bonnie Hammer said she’d left her hotel at 2:45p.m. and had to exit her limo and walk to arrive by 4:45 p.m. Hammer’s advice on how to beat the crowd: “Go early or take public transportation.”
If there is a venue change next year don’t look for the crowd to shrink: L.A. Live’s soon-to-open Nokia Theatre seats 7,100.