Wednesday, March 17, 2010

When in Rome

When in Rome: Do as the Romans do
By Raymond de Asis Lo, L.A. Correspondent (The Philippine Star)
Updated March 18, 2010 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Josh Duhamel walked in late into the function room inside the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills during an early January junket for When in Rome, the new Touchstone Pictures’ romantic-comedy starring him and Forgetting Sarah Marshall star Kristen Bell, and for this he was subjected by his petite co-star Kristen and comedians Will Arnett, Jon Heder and Dax Shepard to a series of teasing and heckling.

It didn’t help that when the stars started to introduce themselves, Kristen playfully switched the pattern and introduced herself as Josh Duhamel. The good-looking actor, who is singer Fergie’s husband in real life, only nodded and remained silent. “You are supposed to introduce me,” prodded Kristen. Josh, who seems to have been jolted by Kristen’s nudge blurted out, “Oh yeah, I am Josh Duhamel!” Kristen and the entire cast all laughed.

“If you love this mic check, you’re gonna love When in Rome,” comedian Will joked after the journalists laughed along with them.

The stars’ introduction practically set the tone of the half-hour press conference. The cast were all pretty much light-hearted that day and most of our questions were either addressed with a funny made-up story or just a plain joke which cracked everyone in the room every now and then.

To have comedians in the panel is always a daunting task to any journalist. To get a really good response from them, one must be creative on how he phrases his questions.

In the movie, Kristen is Beth. She is an ambitious but loveless museum curator who flies to Italy for her sister’s weekend wedding only to be chased by a bunch of love-struck men after she plucks some magical coins from the fabled Fontana D’Amore or the fountain of love.

One of the men who fall madly in love with the workaholic and love-phobic Beth is Josh’s character Nick who finds himself competing for Beth’s affection along with a street magician, a sausage magnate, a lovesick painter, and a male supermodel. It’s a hilarious romantic romp that starts in Italy and ends on the streets of New York.

Using this plot as a jumping board, we asked the beautiful Kristen if she is as much a workaholic as her character in real life and whether she would fall for a guy who is also as workaholic as her.

“I think your significant other should be way more important than your work,” she said. “Personally, I love working, but I don’t know if I can say I am workaholic because I also like relaxing. I can say that I am in a place right now that’s lovely.”

If one were paying close attention to what she was saying between the lines, we would not have asked the following series of questions:

Does she believe in magic and love at first sight?

“I am not superstitious at all. I never have been. No, not at all, I walk under ladders, so who cares?” she replied.

“One of her hobbies is breaking mirrors, in fact,” supplied Dax.

“Absolutely, I like to smash mirrors every chance I get. No, I am not superstitious at all,” Kristen added.

If she were to choose among the guys, who would she want to end up with?

“I will choose Josh!” she immediately exclaimed while co-star Jon was softly whispering to the mic, “Pick me, pick me.”

Later she would correct herself and say, “I will pick the funny guy.”

We didn’t catch on to the hints she was giving us and we assumed she was still engaging us with candid replies because if we did we would have found out that very day what would happen a mere three weeks after our interview.

On the weekend after When in Rome opened in the US, Kristen announced her engagement to co-star Dax by parading down the red carpet at this year’s Grammy Awards with a sparkler on her finger.

The couple has been apparently dating for over a year and kept their relationship mostly under wraps until after the movie came out.

So we know who won Kristen’s heart in real life, but who she ends up with in the movie is for the moviegoers to find out.

“What I like about this movie is that it’s not about the girl chasing the guy which is what you often see,” Kristen stated. “This is not the sad downtrodden girl who is just chasing after this guy and sort of revolving around his world. This is sort of the opposite — and who wouldn’t want all of these guys chasing after them?”

When it was Josh’s turn to speak about the movie, he stammered a bit and said, “She and I,” he was immediately stopped by Kristen who said, “It’s Kristen, my name is Kristen,” and everyone laughed again before Josh could continue with his reply.

Unlike his funny co-stars, Jon, who is famous for his title role in Napoleon Dynamite, stayed mostly quiet but when asked about it replied, “I am playing in character. I am the creepy mysterious guy who is smiling but is taking your watches now.” He portrays the street magician who performs various tricks to win over Beth’s attention.

For Kristen, being with the funny guys “is so flattering because I have a style of comedy that is laugh-out-loud funny,” she said. “I am just grateful for this opportunity, I am glad that they had the faith in me to pull it off and I tried the best I could…” she paused and whispered to the microphone, “Guys, cover your ears,” she commanded and said, “This is so lame. This is just lame!” Everyone laughed again. They just couldn’t get serious — and we just couldn’t stop laughing.

When in Rome is now showing in theaters.

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