It may have been bad memories of Celebrity that kept Woody Allen away from this weekend's press junket for his latest film, a London-based feather-weight who-done-it comedy in the vein of Manhattan Murder Mystery called Scoop. Allen, along with star Hugh Jackman, was conspicuously absent from the various Scoop-related goings-on at a posh Manhattan hotel. Word has it there was a heroic attempt to connect Jackman via video link-up from Australia, but nothing materialized during the Sunday events scheduled for lowly online journalists. Maybe the TV interviewers were more lucky. Those who did manage to show up for us included grizzled Deadwood star Ian McShane, sporting some rather perfect dentures and an un-Swearengen-like clean shave. In Scoop, McShane plays a recently deceased journalist so eager to pursue the scoop he was chasing at the moment of his untimely death that he haunts young reporter Scarlett Johansson to pass on the tip.

Johansson also showed up for a roundtable discussion with online journos, although for one reason or another, she was over an hour late. (She may have been preoccupied with the elaborate breakfast buffet laid out by the hotel) Upon entering the room, and before even getting settled into her chair, Johansson was hit with a barrage of questions ranging from the off-topic -- "What are your politics?" -- to the borderline insulting -- "This character you play has a lot of energy -- was that a challenge for you?" -- to the Liptonesque -- "What career would you like to pursue instead of acting?" Her answers, in turn, were "I'm very liberal-minded," "I have a lot of energy, as long as I have some breakfast first," and "I'd like to direct."

As always, there were a few breaks in etiquette. One questioner made a rambling assertion that Scoop is reminiscent of more innocent 40s comedy fare, and that this film therefore has a sneaky interest in promoting a kind of conservative purity. He eventually came around to asking Johansson for a general comment on purity in society. Another journo asked loudly for her to pose for a picture after the roundtable's conclusion -- she refused, and good for her. Having gotten our scoop, we pocketed the remaining complimentary muffins and cleared out.

categories Movies, Cinematical