Despite Hollywood’s cutthroat reputation, the industry’s penchant for helping one another was a common refrain at the 4th annual Reel Stories, Real Lives event at MILK studios Hollywood on Saturday, benefitting the Motion Picture & Television Fund.
Kevin Spacey was the man of the hour, receiving a special tribute for his enduring support of the Fund. But the rest of the evening entailed a series of stories about people the Fund has helped, written by top industry writers including Jason Fuchs, Bill Dubuque and Beau Willimon, and read by familiar faces like Lizzy Caplan, Tony Goldwyn and John Stamos, who joked that since the “Full House” Netflix reboot is officially happening, he and Spacey should combine shows to create “Full House of Cards.”
In addition to being a longtime supporter of the hospital and the Fund’s work to provide homes for members of the industry who need help, Spacey shares a personal connection to the cause, having known people who have sought the services of the Fund and seen their quality of life improve substantially because of it. He said he loves that, as the facilities continue to grow (including the recently added dog park), so do the residents’ spirits. He noted that they’re never ones to shy away from a dirty joke. “I heard a couple tonight,” he said mischievously.
But all jokes aside, Spacey emphasized the power of listening to stories as a guiding force behind the Reel Stories event. “What makes life incredible, and … what makes storytelling incredible, is that the moment you hear a personal story — whatever your situation is — everything falls away because you identify with somebody’s experience.”
Spacey practiced what he preached, recalling one woman he’d talked with earlier in the evening, whose husband worked his entire career as a sound man, and started in the days of talkies. “And you think, ‘wow this is someone who watched the business actually change — go through seismic change.’ And they’re still around,” Spacey said. “There’s much to be learned.”
Fellow fictional prez, Tony Goldwyn, attended the event with his daughter, Anna, in honor of his late father who created the Samuel Goldwyn Foundation Children’s Center for the Fund. Goldwyn introduced a short film that highlighted how the center helps create a specific service for parents in the industry. “[It’s] for workers in this industry to have a place to take care of their kids, working the long hours that we do,” he said, referring to that fact that the center opens early and stays open late to accommodate exhausting and unpredictable industry schedules. “That’s really why I’m here,” Goldwyn said. Several of the parents featured in the video attended the event as well.
In addition to Goldwyn, other celebrities who took the stage throughout the evening included Tobey Maguire, Alessandro Nivola, Mira Sorvino, Yvette Nicole Brown and “Dancing with the Stars” dancer Kym Johnson, who attended with “Shark Tank” investor Robert Herjavec.
As one of the evening’s storytellers, Caplan expressed excitement about being a first-time attendee, calling it her “maiden voyage.” She said the evening mantra of “Hollywood Helping Hollywood” is important to her, and should not be taken lightly. “This is very much a community,” she said. “And at times it can be a contentious community — competitive and all the things that we like to gossip and complain about — but at the end of the day, I really believe that this community will take care of me when I need them to.”