At a Spago luncheon on Friday, the conversation touched upon moviegoing demographics, the new film “The Giver” and the importance of branding — but the key talking point was solutions to hunger.
AARP threw the event to honor Jeff Bridges, the cover subject of the org’s August/September issue. The story is tied to the Weinstein Co.’s Aug. 15 release of “The Giver,” which AARP Media SVP-editorial director Myrna Blyth described as being based on a YA novel but focused on “the wisdom of age.” She also talked about the new alliance between AARP Foundation’s end-hunger program and No Kid Hungry, which Bridges has been championing for 20 years. The former is focused on needy seniors, while the latter focuses on children; the two have come up with programs to help both.
The actor spoke briefly, thanking AARP and praising the “Giver” team who were there, including producers Neil Koenigsberg and Nikki Silver (who praised Bridges for sticking with the project for the 17 years it took to get made), co-scripter Robert Weide and stars Brenton Thwaites and Cameron Monaghan.
In saluting his brother, Beau Bridges read a brief passage from the inspirational but non-denominational Daily Word, with today’s entry including the phrase “The essence of my being is ageless.”
Jeff Bridges told Variety he’s very proud of “Giver” — he has a producer credit on the film — and he was also eager to talk about the work of No Kid Hungry, including a summer-meals program (people can text Food to 877-877 to find the nearest site).
In addressing the guests, Blyth stressed that AARP is very interested in Hollywood and “we are delighted” that film executives are increasingly recognizing the importance of the AARP demographic. (According to MPAA stats for 2013, the number of frequent moviegoers — i.e., six times or more annually — increased among 50-59-year-olds and 2-11-year-olds, but fell among all other age groups.)
When Jeff Bridges asked Blyth what the AARP initials stand for, she said it’s just the name of the organization at this point: The last two initials used to mean “retired people” but that’s been dropped as they rebrand and they now prefer to think of it as “real possibilities,” since the over-50 age group are finding new opportunities. She also boasted that the magazine has the largest circulation in the world, reaching 35 million readers and growing.
Among those congratulating Bridges on the film and his philanthropic work were T-Bone Burnett (in photo above with Bridges) and Callie Khouri.