Final Portrait is Stanley Tucci’s directorial debut. He also scripted the film, which stars Geoffrey Rush, Armie Hammer, Clemence Poesy, Tony Shalhoub and Sylvie Testud. Given that it was Tucci’s film debut and he was listed as going to be present on the Red Carpet on Friday, March 9th, at the Stateside Theater in Austin during SXSW, I was surprised that only Armie Hammer showed up.
Final Portrait is the story of the touching and offbeat friendship between world renowned artist Alberto Giacometti and American writer and art-lover James Lord. It is based on Lord’s memoir.
When Armie Hammer walked the Red Carpet, he commented to one of the interviewers that he had never co-starred with a harder-working actor than Geoffrey Rush and gave the man high marks for his devotion to the film. [I couldn’t help but wonder if the Harvey Weinstein-style “Me Too” rumors had failed to reach the ranks or, having reached them, had been thoroughly debunked, I hope.]
We all waited in the lobby of the small Stateside Theater for quite some time. I finally went in to the theater itself and had almost gained a seat when a theater person kicked me out, saying, “We’re not ready yet.” The reason soon became apparent. Two projectors had broken down. Someone was seen carrying a laptop computer in with the hope that they could stream the film “live.”
The Stateside (and the Paramount) are old theaters and things go wrong. I understand this.
Nevertheless, I had a decision to make: stay here and hope that Final Portrait actually made the screen (somehow) or go next door to see the Opening Night film “A Quiet Place.” I definitely feel I made the right decision, as “A Quiet Place” is one of the best movies I’ve seen in years and my interest in James Lord and Alberto Giacometti was not nearly as high as my interest in photographing Armie Hammer, fresh off his co-starring role in “Call Me By Your Name.”
Therefore, all I can report is that Armie Hammer and his lovely wife are as gorgeous in person as he is onscreen, and that Stanley Tucci, whose work we all admired in “The Hunger Games” and many, many other films (“Road to Perdition,” for one, plus his Oscar nomination as the killer in “The Lovely Bones”) probably should have shown up.
Tucci has been married to the older sister of Emily Blunt, Felicity Blunt, since 2012 (Emily introduced them after Tucci co-starred with her in “The Devil Wears Prada”) and Emily Blunt’s film opposite her husband John Krasinski was showing right next door at the Paramount Theater this opening night. It could have been like Old Home Week.
So, given the fact that there was absolutely no guarantee that there would even BE a movie at the Stateside Theater this night, I went next door to see Tucci’s sister-in-law, Emily, fight for her family in “A Quiet Place.” I’m quite sure that was the right decision for me.