There are not many press screenings out there for which consenting to a $200 last-minute change-of-flight fee seems like a good idea. Hell, last week I failed to make a 20 minute trip on the 7 train in time to make a screening of The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things. So whilst a new Robert Altman film alone might not have been enough to get me on the phone with AOL Travel, a new Robert Altman film, rumored to have been ghost-directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, in which Meryl Streep plays Lindsay Lohan's mom? You couldn't pay me $200 to stay away.
And so on Thursday afternoon I'll depart for Austin, one day earlier than originally scheduled, in order to make the Friday morning press screening of Prairie Home Companion. Starring, in typical Altman fashion, an ensemble cast of what seems like thousands, and based on and around Garrison Keillor's radio show of the same name, the production produced a swirl of ink last summer, when two items of interest hit the 'net. First, we learned that P.T. Anderson, who was nominated for an Oscar for the decidedly Altmanesque Magnolia, was hanging around the Companion set. Though some brushed his presence off as owing to the fact that his pregnant girlfriend, Maya Rudolph, was in the film, P.T. confirmed to the New York Times that he was in fact "pinch hitting" for the 80-something honorary Oscar winning director. This was apparently necessary because the wheelchair-bound Altman, as the second item of interest reveals, was busy giving young Miss Lohan some extra special tutelage.