Celebs come out for Fox junket

Owen Wilson, Steve Martin and Jack Black really did try to keep on topic at Friday’s junket for Fox’s “The Big Year,” about a trio of competitive birders.

“One of the highlights for me was seeing an eagle,” Wilson said at Gotham’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel. “Then it turns out we saw thousands of eagles. So it lost its excitement.”

“I saw an eagle on the boat while we were out in the water,” Martin added.

“With other birds,” Wilson interjected.

“Does that diminish the experience?” Martin asked. “The other birds parted.”

Black said that’s because eagles are “kind of a bully” and actually a buzzard-like scavenger. “Could we change the subject?” Black moaned. “I’m very patriotic.”

So how accurate were those bird calls they make onscreen?

“Jack did extensive research,” said Martin, “and we asked him about it.”

Otherwise, there wasn’t a great deal of actor bonding on set.

“Mainly for me,” Martin said, “it’s this: Is Jack on the set? I won’t be there until he is. And you tell me when Owen leaves his trailer.”

- Stephen Schaefer

* * *

In the midst of an anomalous London heat wave, meteorologically ill-advised “Being John Malkovich” scribe Charlie Kaufman concluded BAFTA and BFI’s Screenwriters’ Lecture Series on Friday, baking in his woollen suit.

“I’m not a writer. I do what I have to. I put it on my income tax form. It’s not what I am,” Kaufman mused over his generic lacking. “I’m just telling you, off the bat, that I don’t know anything, and if there’s one thing that characterizes my life, it’s that I always start from that realization.”

Following in the series’ footsteps of Paul Laverty, John Logan and Guillermo Arriaga, Kaufman delivered a monologue that was not a one-hour methodology of screenwriting but rather an insight to self-loathed, self-accepted creativity.

Kaufman mused over the infamous critic grumble, “that’s two hours I’m never getting back.” He deadpanned, “But the thing is, every two hours is two hours he’ll never get back. You cannot forge your two hours!'”

As his 60-minute slot came to a close, Kaufman leafed through his many remaining pages of notes, satirically concluding, “This is all gold.”

– Helen Jackson

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