Monday, July 25, 2005

The Twins of TriBeCa, Rachel Pine

As soon as I heard about this novel, I knew I had to read it. The Twins of TriBeCa has all the elements of a great novel- a juicy plot, fun characters, a behind the scenes look at fame and fortune plus gossipy Hollywood details. The only thing that could be better is if each novel came with a free pair of Manolo's.

I hung out with Rachel to discuss the novel a while ago, and I promised not to divulge how crazy we got when we went shopping in Los Angeles. We fought over the perfect pair of Prada heels and an imported purse from Italy. That Rachel can be vicious, but she has excellent taste in fashion and she promised to share.

Rachel, congratulations on the success with The Twins of Tribeca. It's getting awesome reviews and I'm dying to read it. How does it feel to have a book people are gushing about? It's a must read on everyones list.You're famous!

I'm very happy with the response from people who've read the book. A lot of readers have gone out of their way to find my site,, and send me an email to tell me how much they liked it. I'm so grateful that people take the time to do that. MediaBistro just had this fantastic party for me in L.A., at GeishaHouse, which Ashton Kutcher owns. I told someone that I felt like the Olsen Twins, but I didn't know which one. I can't tell those monkeys apart, but it was the one that eats.

Did you wrap the book in pashmina and sleep with it when you got your first copy? What does it feel like to be a published novelist? It must surreal and exciting.

Strangely enough, what really made me tingly was when I got the first typeset galleys of the book, in order to make any last changes and give it another once-over. Obviously, my name was at the top of everyother page, and it just threw me for a loop. I had a very hard time concentrating because I'd turn a page and it would say, "Rachel Pine," my stomach would flip over, and I'd lose my place. Turn page, stomach flip, lose place -- over and over. It was just as startling on the first page as on the last one. The other big gasping moment was when I saw the cover for the first time. The illustrator had gotten it exactly right -- the cover so conveys what the book is about. I love that the red carpet on the cover is really closer to the color of blood, and that the stripes on the curb remind one of a warning sign. By the time I got my first copy of the book, luckily I had calmed down a bit. But talk about psychotic -- when I heard it had arrived in stores, I wouldn't go near a bookstore for 2 days, because I was afraid of what my (over) reaction might be! Then I finally went in and it was very, very weird to just see my book for sale. I wanted topoke people and say, "See that purple book over there? I wrote it." But in New York you can't do that because everyone's blogging or calling Page Six and I would have definitely gotten busted.

Gwenyth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, George Clooney, Tom and Nicole …you personally know all the big names in Hollywood. How different are those stars in real life compared to their public persona, and what do you think the biggest misconception is about celebrities?

I've met many of them because we would host press junkets for nearly every film that opened. While I was at Miramax they were releasing as many as 48 films a year!But for a rundown -- George Clooney is as handsome and charming as he seems. Maybe even more. He is very kind and respectful of everyone else and the job they have to do. I once sat in a room with him for an entire day while he did 80 four-minute interviews with junket press. He was as polite and thoughtful for the first interviewer as he was for the eightieth. The questions were almost all the same, and yet he would pause, think for a second, smile (THAT SMILE) and then answer the person, and genuinely thank them at the end of each interview.

Ben and Matt are real guys' guys. I met them at the junket for "Good Will Hunting," so they weren't tremendously well-known, just kind ofon the verge of stardom, and they were both really excited that the early reaction to the film was so fantastic. Gwyneth Paltrow is extremely professional and takes her job very seriously - she does everything -- the acting, the media, the appearances -- everything, with a sense of understanding about how important her participation is to a film, and she seems to have a lot of respect for the people with whom she works. A lot of women are very jealous of her. In some ways, well, who wouldn't be? She's gorgeous and talented, and dated some highly desirable men before marrying a rock star, and picked up a Best Actress Oscar on the way. It's enough to make even the most level-headed woman want to scream,"ENOUGH - LEAVE SOMETHING FOR SOMEONE ELSE!" I think she handled it by holding herself to a higher standard and demonstrating how serious she was -- and treating the people around her very, very well. She really never gave the gossip columns much to write about it. Lindsay Lohan and some of that set could really learn a lot from Gwyneth's example.

The biggest misconception is nearly always the same -- that the celebs are wildly demanding, that they have to have all these things or they're going to have a tantrum, the stuff you read in the tabloids. Except in a few isolated cases, my advice is not to believe it. Every actor has "people," agents, managers, publicists, assistants and it always seems that before a media event you hear from every one of them about what "MS. X HAS TO HAVE." So you order the special flowers from Bali and the candles from Kaui and the figs from a very specific farmer's market booth in Santa Barbara, and then the celeb arrives and more often than not says, "What IS all this?" And they're fine and flexible and they're doing media because they want their project to be successful and being famous is much more fun than not being famous. This is an industry completely fraught with insecurity and subjectivity, and people need to have a good reputation, work-wise. They can be jerks or divas or whatever on their own time, but they are generally on their best behavior for studio business.

The book must have been a blast to write. I can only imagine all the experiences from working at Miramax and William Morris you were able to pull from. Is there a sequel planned? Talk of a movie deal perhaps? Who would be in the movie?

I'm working on a new project now, a book called "You Could Go Blonde From That," about women in New York City who have re-invented themselves, and are keeping secrets about who they used to be. It's darker, and a couple of the characters are really mean, but don't you know a few people who are hiding something?I've recently begun to think about a sequel because I want to knowwhat happens to Karen, and to Robert, and my experience has been that most people who work in entertainment want to continue in that industry. I'm not sure if Karen does, but maybe we'll find out. I doubt it will be a movie, but what I've heard from my agent is that there's strong interest from several parties for television. For Karen I think Jamie Lynn DiScala, Sarah Michelle Gellar, or AmberTamblyn -- all of them have had on-screen personas who were kind, and had a lot of backbone. But there are lots of talented actresses around who I'm sure would be terrific.

I was in Beverly Hills and saw a guy in an Armani suit walking around with a shiny folder from William Morris in his manicured hands. He was wearing an ear piece and looking official and serious. What's the atmosphere like in a place like that? I imagine very cold air, designer clad men and women, modern furniture and lots of big egos. Am I close?

You've hit the nail squarely on the head, for L.A. I worked atWilliam Morris in New York, which is very different from the L.A. office. At WMA in Los Angeles, agents had interior decorators design their offices and there is a whole hierarchy about where the valet parks your car in the company garage and how many times a month they wash it for you and other perks that don't mean very much on the EastCoast. Not to mention the whole code of what the different cars mean. And everyone was very fashionable and stylish all the time, and people always ate/wore/worked out/therapied according to what the trend of the second was. The assistants have to be ahead of the curve so that their bosses are always in the right cardio-funk-judo class and only drinking grapefruit juice from hydroponic orchards, and then a week later it's something else. In New York we'd just laugh about it.

In The Twins of TriBeCa I was trying to show the really marked difference between the Hollywood studios and an indie studio in NewYork. Miramax had a very different ethic. People there cared much more about what was in your head than what you drove or wore. Not that people weren't fashionable there; many were, but people were very proud of their individual sense of style. Most of the people I encountered at Miramax were extremely smart and talented, as well as being highly competitive. One thing I was always curious about was if there was some correlation between everyone being so difficult all the time, and how great the movies were. Because they seemed to be completely intertwined. There was a shocking lack of civility at Miramax, but there was also a status quo that no one wanted to disturb.

There's a part of the book where Karen describes the open plan office as being so jam-packed that 30 people were close enough tosay "Bless you," if you sneezed, but no one ever would. And she wasn'tkidding!

I heard a rumor about a certain young starlet being offered a trip on the casting couch from a slobbery studio head with drooling trout lips…Im sure you know who I am talking about but we won't name names. Tell me, from what you have seen in your experiences, does the notion of a casting couch really exist?

Honestly, honestly, honestly -- I never heard the rumors you describe, but think about the person(s) to whom you are referring. Could anyone want to be in a film that badly? SHUDDER! The whole world of filmmaking has become so corporate that I'm not even sure who you'd need to sleep with to get ahead. The entire Board of Directors? The reclusive foreign investor? There is so much money on the line these days that it doesn't seem likely that sleeping with any one particular person can do too much for your career. That said, I'm sure people on both sides of the game try to convince each other that it might still work!

The character in the book is loosely based on you. How would you describe her and how is she much different than yourself?

Karen is based on me a bit, but not as much as people think. I'm older than she is, so I like to say that Karen knows then what I know now -- she's the beneficiary of 20/20 hindsight! She's far more independent than I was at that age, and she's also more strategically-minded and far less emotional. Most importantly, Karen is at Glorious Pictures for exactly one year. I worked at Miramax for three and a half years, during which time I heard tons of stories about things that had happened before I was there. Then there were the five years in between my leaving Miramax and writing the book, and I heard plenty about that time, so Karen's got about 15 years worth of stuff going on drawn from things that happened at Miramax and a tremendous amount that's made up, too.

When I'm writing, I actually laugh out loud and talk to myself, am I crazy? Also, I need many cups of espresso-infused coffee to keep the momentum up, what helps you stay motivated?

You're not crazy! I used to sit in my office and literally talk to my brain! How's that? I decided that if my mind and I could be partners in this, it would be less lonely. And I'd look up and say, "Have you got anything for me today? Will you please do your job?" I had also sold the first three chapters of the book, along with an outline, so I had a deadline to make, which is pretty motivating. The thing I did that kept me moving forward was having a list of tasks that needed to be done that didn't necessarily involve writing on a blank page. The list would have things like, "name such and such character," or "find out what that pose in yoga is called," or "decide on what the furniture in Robert's apartment looks like." In that way, I always felt that I was doing something, and invariably doing those things would provide both a little break and an inspiration -- when you give a character a name, all of a sudden, they've got some more personality traits that come with it. When you decide what a room looks like, it gives you more details about the person who lives in it. Before you know it, you're right back into your story, and you've crossed something off your list.

What are your plans now? How do you top what you have already done- a huge hit novel!

I am the director of marketing and communications for a new magazine called "Justice." Think of it as People Magazine meets Law & Order and that's pretty close. It's got celebrity cases and gossip, as well as stories of regular people who are trying to get justice for themselves or their families. It has great writers, including Nancy Grace, Mark Geragos, Marcia Clark, and Lisa Scottoline, and working on Justice takes up most of my time.

Additionally, Lauren Baratz-Logsted asked me to contribute to an anthology that she's putting together. It sounds like a lot of fun and the story I'm going to write for that will be a piece of "You Could Go Blonde From That." Depending on how that goes, I'll see when I can finish a second book. As far as topping what I've done -- I'm not really looking at it like that. I'd love to write another book, and have one that people enjoy and challenges me to do something new. A lot of people have said that they think I can only write about an experience close to my own, but I know that's not true -- now I've just got to go and do it!

I have a free book to give away- be the first person to email me and you could win this fabulous book! (if you've already won, please refrain from emailing me! I know its hard)


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