Mediabistro.com’s West Coast office chief, Taffy Brodesser-Akner, sends in the following:
A source reports from the trenches on how the body count in Apocalypto went up at last Friday’s screening for journalists:
“I was invited by Disney’s press dept. to a screening of Mel Gibson‘s Apocalypto last Friday, and while their were scores of vivid decapitations and more than a few hearts torn out of chests, by far the most gut-wrenching thing I witnessed was the behavior of CNN’s Larry King.
“Seated amongst half a dozen other journalists, the film got started on time, and uneventfully.
“Then it happened. Larry started talking. I’d say that talking is something that Larry does almost involuntarily, like breathing. Larry proceeded to actually stand up about 25 minutes into the screening, and turned around to actually address to one of his entourage, a similarly older-than-dirt CNN producer lackey.
‘So, it’s about the end of the Mayans,’ Larry pronounced, loudly and obviously.
“The assembled journalists were astonished; at this point, it wasn’t completely clear that it was Larry King. Then the on-screen images shifted to daylight, and suddenly, a squinty-eyed King came clearly into view.
“King carried on his conversation in a loud, normal tone of voice, without any regard for his fellow audience. At one point, Jean Oppenheimer, reviewer for New Times and a contributor to KPCC’s Film Week, spoke up and asked King to be quiet, that other people were watching the movie.
“At this, King’s lackey yelled at her to be quiet. ‘No one talks to Larry at his screening!’
“Finally, after three minutes of back and forth dissing of the film between King and his lackey, King announced, to no one in particular that he’d seen enough, and was leaving — about 45 minutes into the film. (No doubt, this constitutes due diligence on a subject, since he’s a guy who admitted on air Tuesday that he’s never once been on the Internet.)
“The prize winning moment, however, comes at the end, when King’s lackey approaches Charles Aidikoff, the ancient owner of the screening room, about Oppenheimer’s temerity in telling Larry not to speak. Once again, incredulously, this lackey sneered at Oppenheimer, just leaving the screening in the hallway: ‘You don’t talk to Larry at HIS SCREENING!”;
“Aikidkoff, looking wild-eyed and confused, chimes in with words to the effect of ‘That’s right. Show respect to Larry.’
“Just as I felt as if we’d left the Earth’s atmosphere and were headed into out-of-this-world weirdness, the projectionist informs Aidikoff that it wasn’t Larry’s screening, and that the people who are now gathered in the hallway to defend Oppenheimer from King’s lackey are, in fact, invited guests of Disney, and working press from national and regional media outlets.
“At this, both Aidikoff and King’s lackey clam up, and ignore everyone, whereupon Oppenheimer and the rest of the incredulous journalists leave.”