Cornering Sting, Mark Wahlberg and the creepy guy from The Office at HBO's Golden Globes party
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- He's one of the coolest rock stars in the world. But when Sting decided to present an award at the Golden Globes last night, he wore a beard that would have looked scruffy on Snuffy Smith.
So, when I saw the ex-Police-man loitering near the red carpet at HBO's Globes party, I had to ask:
What's the deal with the beard?
"I thought it looked good, so I kept it," he said, after I guessed that Sting grew the beard for the Paris opera he, son Joe Sumner and Elvis Costello recently performed, Welcome the the Voice. "And nobody recognizes me . . . its wonderful." Isn't that just like a rock star; move heaven an Earth to be world famous, then systematically destroy your leading-man looks to blend in.
HBO's Golden Globes after-party is notorious; held one level below the hall when the awards ceremony is telecast, at the Beverly Hilton hotel, it always fills up quickly, prompting the fire marshal to bar any new people from arriving until someone leaves. Fortunately, I had been warned by a colleague, so I got in early enough to hobnob pretty extensively.
The Office co-star Rainn Wilson (left) was huddled with ex-SNL star Amy Poehler and her husband Will Arnett (Arrested Development), regaling journalists with his tale of standing backstage beside Pierce Brosnan and Salma Hayek and being terminally intimidated. "I'm actually a very shy person," said Wilson, who posed for the DVD cover of his movie The Rocker in his underwear.
Entourage co-creator Mark Wahlberg stopped by to greet a colleague, and I couldn't resist. "I know you probably hear this all the time, but say hi to your mother for me," I said as he prepared to leave, referencing Andy Samberg's now-classic impression of him on SNL last year. Fortunately, he got the joke and didn't sic security on me, breaking into a wide smile and grabbing my hand.
On the red carpet, Adam Duritz (left) of Counting Crows was talking up a TV project he's developing with HBO, while Michael Emerson, the guy who plays creepy Ben Linus on Lost walked alongside his wife, actress Carrie Preston, who was nearly unrecognizable without the flaming red tresses and thick Southern accent she uses playing waitress Arlene Fowler on True Blood. (Yeah, imagine Ben Linus and Arlene, you know, together. Ugh.)
Usually, the life cycle of Hollywood parties is simple; stars show up and leave early, off to more glamorous and private shindigs as soon as possible. But HBO's party was just the opposite -- 90 minutes after I arrived, Leonardo DiCaprio walked in, just a few feet away from John Adams star Paul Giamatti, still stalking around the room with his Globe statue. Statuesque and stunning as ever, 6-feet-tall-and-counting Sigourney Weaver swept by, causing us critics to scratch our heads for a minute, trying to remember why she would be at the Globes (she did a voice in animated film winner Wall-E.)
Susan Sarandon, Mad Men co-star John Slattery, Sex and the City co-star Evan Handler, former L.A. Law star Harry Hamlin, comic Bill Maher . . . the list of notables only grew as the night went on. And even as I dragged my jet-lagged behind out the door, I ran into pundit Arianna Huffington (I occasionally write for her mega-blog the Huffington Post) and Privileged star JoAnna Garcia (she's a Tampa native whom I've profiled many times). It was odd enough for me to be at such a star event in the first place, without running into two celebrities I actually know within minutes of each other.
In all, it was a party befitting the network that cleaned up most at the Globes this year. Just wish I could have convinced Sting to ditch the chin carpet.