No one was especially surprised to see Whit Stillman at Artisan’s Gotham premiere of John Waters’ “Cecil B. Demented” on Wednesday. He’s known to attend movie parties in Cannes and New York.
But it was a curious moment when the indie director whipped out a notepad and revealed that he was collecting gossip for the New York Post’s Page Six column.
Was Stillman slumming? Doing research for a film? (Doubtful, given that his film project, “Red Azalea,” is a coming-of-ager set in Maoist China).
“Whit is helping us out for a day,” explained Post staffer Chris Wilson, as regular Richard Johnson was vacationing in Ibiza and Jared Stern, who typically fills in, was busy editing.
“It’s really great. I’m really having fun,” Stillman told Daily Variety Thursday from the Post’s New York office, where he was typing up his notes. “Do you have anything for me?”
His after-party items, which the paper plans to run Saturday, will not include quotes from Waters. Stillman demurred from interviewing his fellow director, said a Waters spokesman, because he’d not seen “Cecil” and felt it would be disrespectful.
Despite all the fun, Stillman said he didn’t fly into New York from his home in Paris just to work for Page Six (for which he will receive a paycheck). He came to promote his new book, “The Last Days of Disco, With Cocktails at Petrossian Afterwards,” which Farrar, Straus and Giroux will release next week.
Not a stranger to journalism, Stillman wrote for the Harvard Crimson while in college and exec edited Access News Summary from 1979-80.