I’ve officially been initiated into the Cougar Club compliments of NBC Universal and Rachael of TodaysMama.com. Two weeks ago I received a message from Rachael, CEO of TodaysMama.com, asking if I would be available to attend a press junket for the upcoming Zac Efron movie, Charlie St Cloud. My reaction…Press what? Zac who? Um, yes, sign me up! And a week later, after shuffling my schedule, frantically piecing together child care, breaking the bank at White House Black Market and watching High School Musical 1,2 & 3, off I went to the City of Angels for one of the most memorable experiences of my life.
Prior to two weeks ago I had only heard of Zac Efron via Perez Hilton and Entertainment Weekly, but had never much paid attention since all I knew him as was a teenie bopper icon whom my daughters had been too young for, and I too old. But for the sake of good journalism, I started paying attention. Serious attention. And I have a strong feeling that women of all ages are going to be paying attention to this young superstar as soon as this movie hits the theaters.
So after having a leisurely drive to LA, with no kiddos screaming and no Yo Gabba Gabba music blaring, I checked into the swanky Ritz Carlton in Marina Del Rey, ogled the view from my room
and then promptly headed to the lobby to size up meet up with my competition fellow mom bloggers. Immediately the chatter began and bonds were formed.
At 3:00pm we were transferred to a private screening theater, located right along the Santa Monica pier…
…and anxiously awaited the movie to begin. I had seen the previews and knew I would most likely need tissue, so I snuck into the key-coded restroom and shoved some toilet paper in my purse—classy stuff. Then I heard my stomach growling and considered busting out the bag of Annie’s organic Cheddar Bunnies hiding in the bottom of my purse, but decided against it, as that would have just pushed the classy envelope too far. So snackless I sat, a little worried that my grumbling tummy would not withstand a two-hour movie. But, as soon as the lights went down, not one thought of hunger crossed my mind until the lights came back up, thanks in part to the amount of eye candy on the screen (more on that in my full review, out later this week).
Back at the hotel, Seana our contact from NBC Universal, had organized a lovely poolside cocktail party for all of us, complete with a veggie crudite platter and a specialty martini. Nothing like Ranch dip and a lemon-infused martini to get the party goin’.
We gabbed about Zac, the movie, and other famous people we have met in our lives. I dared not tell them about my Depeche Mode debacle for fear of them not letting me into the press room the next day. Seana briefed us on what to expect during the round table and she gave me permission to ask Zac about his love for the Flight of the Conchords, if time allowed. Oh, it was on.
Saturday morning I awoke and ate only half of my $40.00 room service breakfast, as the jitters had already begun infiltrating my innards. I worked on my questions for the stars, director and writer of the movie, and said a few prayers to the gods of eloquence that I would not stutter, spit or trip over my words, as I have been known to do, particularly in the presence of hawtness.
Before the main round table began, I was called into a private hotel suite to interview the little cutie patootie, Charlie Tahan, who plays Zac’s brother in the movie. My one on one with the adorable 10 year old was priceless. Both of us were novices at the press junket thing, so it allowed me to work out my jitters and gave him a feel for what it would be like to be hammered with questions.
Once in the main round table room, aka the Big Love Cougar Den, the pressure was on. All eight of us “mommy bloggers” gripped our pages of questions, reviewed the production notes, and snuck in one last tweet before the stars arrived.
When Zac and Charlie entered the Den, the swooning, lash-batting and nervous laughter were in full swing. Oh, and the cougar claws were out, though slightly tempered by the fact that we didn’t want to scare off the innocent Charlie who accompanied him. I’ll be posting a full recap of the interviews later this week, but to answer the hot, burning question undoubtedly on your mind, yes, he’s really that good looking in real life. And even more impressive than his dreamy looks, was his charming, down-to-earth personality (okay not MORE impressive, but nonetheless impressive). He gave great eye contact when speaking and was very forthcoming with his answers. And the rapport he had with Charlie was just adorable. It was clear why their on-screen relationship was so believable.
I was able to squeeze in 2-3 questions directly to Zac, none of which had anything to do with Flight of the Conchords or GLEE (I really want to know if he’s a GLEEk. He’s got to be, right?). I’m sure my face turned red as soon as my first question left my lips, and I’m positive that I was guilty of at least four or five overly-zealous outbursts of laughter, complete with head toss and hair flip. My inner tween was taking over, which is truly the epitome of cougardom.
However, my official initiation into the Cougar Club came at the end of the interview when we all gathered together for a group photo. I swiftly headed directly towards the back of the pack, since my height always lands me there anyway, and lo and behold, I found myself directly behind Zac. As the photographer raised her camera, nervous laughter abounded and I, in an attempt to get my face in the shot (and next to Zac’s), moved in a little closer. So close, in fact, that the left side of my chest was touching his back. Yep, I said it. I got chest to back action with Zac Efron. Notice my flush cheeks in the picture.
I’m never washing my left side ever again.
Stay tuned later this week for my full review of the movie and my full recap of the awesome interviews given by Zac, Charlie, the director Burr Steers, and the writer/producer Ben Sherwood.