Could somebody give Eddie Murphy some gum?
“I’m talking to really cultured people,” the comedian is saying. Oh, he means us. “Are you with The Times? I don’t want to have ‘I spoke with Eddie Murphy. His breath was horrendous.’ Anybody have any gum?”
Fortunately for both of us, the newspaper isn’t published in smell-around. We are chatting with Murphy at Monday’s packed premiere party for “Life,” his new buddy picture with Martin Lawrence. Within seconds, someone tucks a roll of Certs and a grape Blo-Pop into Murphy’s palm. Murphy unwraps the Blo-Pop. Apparently, we didn’t rate the Certs.
“Well, it lasts a little longer,” Murphy says.
Can’t argue with that. In the film, which follows the characters’ long friendship in prison, Murphy and Lawrence age from 30 to 70. Since we’re also planning to make it to 70, we asked the boyish Murphy what the view looked like from there.
“When I’m playing an old man, I don’t really feel like an old man. I’m just bending over and talking in a gravelly voice. I’m not really a method actor. I’m not really an actor.”
Behind Murphy were overripe paintings and sofas appropriate for “Ray’s Boom Boom Room,” the speakeasy his character dreams about opening in the Imagine Entertainment film. For the party, Universal had transformed the top of a Westwood parking lot into two sets--the speakeasy and a Southern prison farm. A thousand people or so, including Arsenio Hall, Will Smith, Sinbad, Val Kilmer and John Singleton, partied at the event, which raised $120,000 for Big Brothers of Greater L.A.
At a table on the speakeasy side, producer Brian Grazer happily ticked off the projects he’s done with Murphy and hinted at one in the works, which he described as “a comedy about abduction.”
“Eddie and I are really good friends,” Grazer said. “It took a long time for that to happen because both of us are guarded people, and we’ve been around a while. But I would count him as one of my very few friends.”
Sounds like a Certs man to us.
Art buffs familiar with a notable Las Vegas installation by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen at the University of Nevada probably see a giant flashlight. The collaborating couple see something else as well--their first argument.
Naturally, the lady won, which is why the 1981 sculpture is called “Inverted Flashlight,” the Oldenburgs said at Tuesday’s Regent Beverly Wilshire luncheon benefiting the American Friends of the Israel Museum.
“Las Vegas is all about light going up in the air,” Oldenburg said. “But Coosje said, ‘Let’s make something about light not going up in the air. Let’s turn the flashlight upside down.’ And what happens is there is a little light at the bottom, very subtle light. It’s probably the only subtle light in Las Vegas.”
The couple’s two-decade collaboration has had its testy moments, but Oldenburg told us he’s been mellowing with the years.
“I’m very nice now. But still, you know the American male artist has this responsibility to be very individualistic and macho and narcissistic. It’s difficult to live up to all those things. Certainly I did back in the ‘60s. But I think I’ve changed.”
The pair were in town this week to inspect a giant safety-pin sculpture headed for Venice, Italy next month that was fabricated by L.A.'s Carlson & Co., which also made the huge typewriter eraser that’s being installed next week in the sculpture garden of the National Gallery.
Brad Pitt is so tasty, we think it’s time for another Brad Pitt, so we went to the source--Mimi Polk-Gitlin. The “Thelma and Louise” producer discovered Pitt in a cattle call many moons ago, and she happens to have another one on tap--Jimmy Tuckett, the star of “Clubland,” the new film by music producer and now writer-director Glenn Ballard.
“He just had a special charm about him,” Gitlin said at the indie film’s very loud premiere party at the El Rey Theatre on Monday. “After he auditioned he put his hand on his heart and looked to Glenn and said, ‘I want you to know I’ve been in L.A. for three weeks from Rome, and I’ve been dying to meet you. Thank you.’
“A few people were really cynical, but I said, ‘Are you kidding? This guy is sweet and genuine. He has passion for his music, he doesn’t live in Hollywood and he isn’t affected by the industry yet. This is the kid in the movie.’ ”
Like the kid in the movie, Tuckett is holding out for the perfect record deal for his band, Sub Bionic, which includes members of Alanis Morissette’s band.
“We want absolute freedom,” Tuckett said. “It’s not about the money, but the more they put up, obviously the more security we have that these people believe in us.”
He’s a quick learner.
Irene Lacher’s Out & About column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on Page 2. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.