Bill’s Partyline June 1st, 2007
For their Blood Diamond promotion, Warner brought in the director Edward Zwick, actress Jennifer Connelly, and actor Djimon Hounsou. There was a full house of media at the press conference at the Grand Hyatt. Unfortunately, Leonardo DiCaprio couldn’t be here. He was busy doing a documentary film he wrote on global warming. Leo visited Japan about a month earlier with director Martin Scorsese to promote Oscarwinning Departed for Warner Bros.
Zwick was last in Japan three years ago to promote his film The Last Samurai-also from Warner Bros. He said the film was shot, for the most part, in Mozambique, “a country that’s had 20 years of trouble, but is now settling down.” He added, “it’s a very poor country, and I’m happy our film, in one way or another, brought 40 to 50 million dollars to the local economy.”
I met Jennifer many years ago. She was a beautiful brought her family with her this time, so hoped to get out and see more of Tokyo and the countryside. She had nothing but raves for “the super director – an informed, concerned human being with a real knowledge and talent for making epic films.” She also had nice words for Leo, “one of the most generous actors I’ve ever worked with-so unselfish and so helpful.”
In regards to Jennifer’s acting, Zwick said she felt and portrayed the real feeling and energy of a journalist in a dangerous situation. Djimon Hounsou is very proud he was able to be an African man playing an African hero in Africa. He really earned the right to be proud of his highly acclaimed performance.
In regards to the diamond industry, Zwick feels South Africa and Botswana are doing a good job, and there are now some changes in other countries. He did point out there’s still smuggling in many countries, and ti1is, of course, keeps most of the people in those countries from getting any benefits from their resources.
For Mitsuo, Lilo, and Helge Maruyama’s annual Chinese Feast. This was the first time the Maruyamas held this culinary event at the Hilton, and the hotel’s general manager Christian Baudat made sure his staff (they’re the best) went all out to make it the special evening that it was. The menu for the dinner was course after course of Chinese favorites—all specially prepared for the Maruyama dinner. What a feast. It was a totally relaxed dinner where guests frequently changed tables and had the opportunity to chat with everyone there. Lilo, Mitsuo, and Helge, as well as the Hilton staff, really know how to do a get-together like this—and do it well. Still at the Hilton, the General Manager Christian Baudat, a true European (he’s Swiss) had a special lunch-time ribbon cutting a six meter long cake-cutting to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the European Union. Romanian Ambassador Aurelian Neagu took time out of his busy schedule to join Christian in the ribbon-cutting. The Hilton’s marble lounge is always busy for both their luncheon buffet and afternoon dessert buffet. Most there had cell-phone cameras and were busy photographing the half-a-dozen Hilton staffers when they made a grand entrance carrying the cake.
Later that day, the E.U. Commission here and members of the Union held a huge celebration on the 52nd floor of the Mori Tower Building in Roppongi Hills. Prime Minister and Mrs. Shinzo Abe were special guests, and I’ll have photos and a rundown on the celebration later. I’ve covered several of the many, and I do mean many, sayonaras for Turkeys super and super-popular Turkish Ambassador Solmaz Unaydin. This week we will run a few photos of the sayonara that the sharp, charming, chic and very popular lady hosted at her residence. It was, as ex; petted, wall-to-wall interesting people, great Turkish food, and all with a warm laid-back ambiance. The only downer was knowing that Solmaz would be leaving. We wish her all the best back in beautiful Turkey.
Wow! I never win anything, and now I’d be sleeping where Madonna, Al Gore, and so many other famous people had slept when they were in Tokyo. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to that. Photos and a run-down on the Hyatt reception later. Word spreads fast, and when I went downstairs after the party to get my car I received a lot of enthusiastic applause from the hotel’s super staff in the lobby and the parking area. Nice people all.
I never realized that the “Samantha Thavasa” bag line modeled by Paris Hilton, Penelope Cruz, etc. was actually designed by a Japanese man. Seems, as successful as he is, the guy doesn’t always get his way. A few people I know got “some sort of flyer” saying Michael Jackson was going to be in the Samantha Thavasa store at a certain time on a certain day. They went to see the star, but he didn’t show, and from what I heard, Michael had not made a commitment to be at Samantha Thavasa’s. He did spend considerable time at the huge BIC Camera store in Yurakucho. The management obligingly closed the store to other visitors during Jackson and his entourage’s visit. ACI’V’s Dan Smith worked closely with Michael during his visit, and told me that he was really surprised to find him so pleasant and for a celebrity, quite easy to work with.
*First published at the Tokyo Weekender
*Images Copyright: Tsukasa Shiga