"The more arthouse films I watch, it fuckin’ pisses me off," Joshua
Jackson began the roundtable interview at the press junket in a New York hotel.
"It’s some bullshit – even if it reaches that level – intellectual
wank and shittily made movie."
The roundtables took place in one of Central Park South's most elegant hotels in the
heart of Manhattan. Rarely has a collection of such good-looking under-thirties been
assembled in one place, be it this self-proclaimed culture capital of the world or some
backwater locale in any other country. Kate Hudson's golden locks may have outshone the
raven-haired curls of Lena Headey, but it was clear, both from Headey's turn in Gossip and
her stunning performance as the tortured main character in Norsk Film's Aberdeen, that her
star will eventually shine much brighter as a serious actress than any of her
handsome Gossip co-stars.
The assembled press corps was your typical collection of representatives ranging from
the UK dailies to German weeklies, each reporter with his or her specific agenda. The
result was a cacophony of questions that resulted in a lack of continuity, as questions
about Marsden's role in X-Men were followed up by Norman Reedus' new role as a father. Even
as Reedus expressed heart-felt fascination with his new-born, questioners put questions to
Joshua Jackson about future episodes of Dawson's Creek.
One thing's for sure, though, Joshua won’t have to worry about anybody
mistaking Gossip as a film destined for art houses. This film is being cannily marketed as
a teen thriller, packed with a cast that should appeal to anyone interested in what could
be termed the neo-brat pack. Along with Jackson, the film features Kate Hudson, daughter
of Goldie Hawn, Norman Reedus, best-known for his Prada ads, James Marsden, whose star has
skyrocketed with his turn in X-Men, and Lena Headey.
If you can’t tell by the cast, this film is an attempt at ever-so-stylish
filmmaking that succeeds in gloss even if fails in most every other area. The story is
actually intriguing, on the surface – with emphasis on surface. It’s
about three roommates – Marsden, Reedus and Headey – who start and track a
rumour as part of a sociology class project. Not surprisingly, the rumour takes on a life
of its own, and the consequences are disastrous.
In the end, more intriguing than the film itself is the marketing campaign. The press
book, TV ads (in the US, at least) and theatrical trailer are all packed with images of
the films best-known performers, i.e. Joshua Jackson, known for his role in the popular TV
series Dawson’s Creek, and Kate Hudson who has made a name for herself in a handful
of indie productions in the US. The emphasis on Hudson and Jackson in the ad campaign is
clearly the brainchild of PR flacks. The two are barely in the film. The real stars are
the relatively unknown but bountifully talented Marsden, Reedus and Headey who appear in
something like 80% of the film.
Nevertheless, it’s a comment on entertainment journalism that something like 80%
of the questions put forward by the assembled international press in a New York hotel
suite are aimed at Hudson and Jackson, a situation not unnoticed by, at least, Marsden and
Reedus, who, at one point, exchange knowing looks as Joshua fielded something like his
fourth question in a row.
Joshua Jackson, of course, has become somewhat used to the limelight, although he
speaks of "the ruckus" he often creates in public places in a self-deferential
manner. "It’s usually like ‘hey, man, you’re in that show, yeah,
what’s the name of it? Hey, good work!’"
Reedus is a bit more shy about his public persona, and still able to admit to some
things that most actors would rather not have the public know. "I went to LA,
following a girl. But I didn’t know she was going there to meet her
boyfriend…They left for Australia and got married," he says somewhat sheepishly.
Marsden, on the other hand, quickly digs into himself and pulls out that quote that all
publicists love to hear. "Let’s start with how fortunate we all are to be here
today," he begins.
But, then, referring to his work in X-Men, he says, "I do ten times more acting in
Gossip than in X-Men. But I really wanted to do it because it was an opportunity to work
with people I used to watch when I was growing up in Oklahoma."
Marsden’s middle-American upbringing is, perhaps, not dissimilar to Headey’s,
though we can’t really be certain since Headey seems almost intimidated by sharing
her roundtable with Hollywood’s child, Kate Hudson. Headey will say only that her
family "is very normal," and refuses to elaborate, even when pressed.
Neither of the women nor any of the guys, for that matter, have gone to college, but
that doesn’t restrain any of them from admitting that the college life depicted in
Gossip is far from realistic. The three roommates in the film share an enormous loft with
low, sexy lighting and a fully stocked bar. At one point, they all sexily sip cognac from
big and expensive-looking snifters.
"It’s not the college anybody goes to," says Hudson.
Headey tries to justify it by saying that it’s "a highly tuned reality,
focusing on the ‘cool’ people."
"After all," seconds Hudson, "it’s got to be about those people. I
mean, who cares about Mary from the Science Club."
Well, maybe someone suffering from cancer, heart disease or some other life-threatening
illness may be a little more concerned about the trajectory of Mary’s life than that
of an actress.
"all of these young stars know something about"
Of course, gossip is something that all of these young stars know something about, but
both Hudson and Headey disdain the whole Hollywood gossip industry.
"It’s not intriguing to me anymore," Headey says, "though I have to
admit that I’m still guilty of buying the stuff. I start to read it in bed,
sometimes, but after a sentence or two, that’s all I can take."
Hudson, who was once rumored to be engaged to TV star Matt LeBlanc whom she had never
met, complains, "People who don’t know the world are taking it as gospel, like
‘this is the way I want to be.’"
Oddly enough, this comment about gossip columns could well apply to the movie, Gossip,
Publication date: 14/9/2000