Several New Yorkers braved a post-Sandy Gotham on Monday to see “Inventing David Geffen,” for PBS’ “American Masters,” at the Paris Theater.
Since filmmaker Susan Lacy said that David Geffen defines “an American story of self-invention, reinvention, self-invention,” it was apt to ask the many notables at the screening about their fave example of people who’ve self-invented and/or reinvented themselves.
“I directed a funky little Disney movie about 15 years ago and one person had one line, ‘Kill the zombie!,’ and it was Matthew McConaughey,” Bob Balaban recalled. “Philip Seymour Hoffman played a jock in high school who got eaten by the zombies. Even then you knew he was going to be amazing. Look where they are now.”
“Robert Redford! Whoever heard of him?” Mike Nichols said of his “Barefoot in the Park” discovery. “And Finn Wittrock. I just put him in ‘Death of a Salesman.’ He was nothing when I found him — and I always remind him.”
“I’d have to say Warren Beatty, who made ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ happen,” said Robert Benton. “He was an actor who became a director who became a producer.”
“It seems every rock star has reinvented himself or herself for years and years and gone on forever,” Barbara Walters said.
“I can’t help but mention my dad, Dominick Dunne,” Griffin Dunne said. “He was a producer and then he was banished and came back as a writer and celebrity. Two of the most complete acts you can have in a life.”
“Ralph Fiennes has been this amazing actor forever and now he has this second movie as director,” said Andy Cohen.
“Unfortunately, I can think of so many I can’t think of one to tell you,” said Fran Lebowitz. “It depends by what you mean by ‘themselves.’ ”
As for Geffen, he refused to be photographed or interviewed, and just let Lacy’s doc speak for him.