2009 March 12

The Mentalists

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Valentino Garavani and Tom Hanks Valentino Garavani and Tom Hanks
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(NEW YORK) “The amazing Kreskin! I can’t believe it, the amazing Kreskin!” Tom Hanks cried out on the red carpet at the Brooks Brothers-hosted Cinema Society screening of The Great Buck Howard. Kreskin, the object of Hanks’ outburst, was the real-life inspiration for the film about an aging mentalist (don’t call him a magician!) longing for his golden days of packed houses and Tonight Show appearances; the real man seemed on cloud nine as he greeted the likes of Hanks, Emily Blunt, and John Malkovich--who plays mentalist Buck Howard in the movie. “My alter ego,” Kreskin said as he met Malkovich for the first time, pumping his hand up and down in his signature over-the-top handshake ("He about tore my hand off,” Malkovich said later. “It’s like he was in the UFC.”). “I am a tremendous fan!”

The red carpet was a reunion not only for actor and inspiration, but family as well: Hanks co-produced and had a small role in the film, but the real star of the show was his son, Colin, who plays Buck Howard’s assistant, much to the dismay of his father. We had to know how the real father-son relationship compared to the estranged (to say the least) one in the film? Had elder Hanks ever disapproved of his son? “Well, there was the time I ate the macaroni and cheese in the living room, he wasn’t too happy about that,” the charming younger Hanks joked. “I spilled the coke in the car…but really, nothing too bad.”

Malkovich himself mused on his role, though he admitted to be less than impressive at tricks. “We had a pretty decent dove trick in the movie, but I don’t have my doves today, so I won’t be performing,” he said. “I’m not overly gifted in magic. I’m not so good.” You may not catch the actor moonlighting as a magician anytime soon, but he did speak on another, little-known practice of his: designing menswear. Malkovich has designed 10 collections under the label Uncle Kimono, and hinted that he might be ready to get back in the fashion game. “I may start again,” he said. “I go to Italy at the end of the month to meet with some people.” His design inspirations run the gamut: “Anything and everything,” he said. “Whatever walks in front of me.” And he seemed hardly particular when it came to what he was wearing himself. “It seemed fairly clean, and it was in the closet,” he shrugged.

As always, post-screening was the time to party; guests like Jane Fonda, Parker Posey, Blythe Danner, Selita Ebanks, Rose McGowan, and Regis Philbin (who himself has a cameo in the film), moved up the block to the SoHo Grand Hotel, where the actor and the legend mingled with the father and the son over Grey Goose cocktails at the refreshingly familial fête. Nope, no magic here…

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