2009 June 17

Pearls of Wisdom

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Michelle Pfeiffer in Valentino and Rupert Friend Michelle Pfeiffer in Valentino and Rupert Friend
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(NEW YORK) While the rest of the city was recovering from the previous night’s CFDA festivities, Andrew Saffir and his Cinema Society screenings march on. Tuesday night’s showing? Chéri, the gorgeous Belle Epoque-set story based on the novels by French literary legend Colette. Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathy Bates, and sublime Rupert Friend came out to the Director’s Guild of America Theater, along with moviegoers like André Leon Talley, Donald and Melania Trump, John Demsey, and more.

“I love the way she describes our characters,” said Bates of the Colette work, about a Lea, an aging courtesan (Pfeiffer) who falls in love with Chéri, the young son played by Friend of her former colleague, Bates’ Madame Peloux. “She describes Madame Peloux and her son as ‘having the souls of barmaids off duty.’” And as for the film? “It’s a beautiful period piece, like looking at a Renoir painting,” she said. “There was one dress that had a panel that was actually from the period, from the House of Worth. It was stunning.” The set wasn’t without a wardrobe malfunction or two, however. “I inadvertently put the arm of a director’s chair through a lace skirt at one point, which was horrifying,” she recalled, “but other than that I was ok!”

“Lea is the one in charge of the relationship, and Chéri is very much the object of desire, the arm candy,” said Friend, referring to a scene in which Chéri struts around Lea’s room wearing her pearls. “I’ve always sort of had a real male sensibility about my life,” said Pfeiffer of her character. “It was actually a lot of fun. It was fun watching Rupert parade around in my pearls!” For his part, Friend was clear that the role was just that. “I don’t have any pearls in my real life, no!” he laughed.

After the screening, the cast et al decamped to the nearby Hudson Hotel’s private park, where they were joined by the likes of Melissa George, Mickey Boardman and perpetual partygirls Dree Hemingway and Scout and Tallulah Willis. No, it seems the chic set never slows down…

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