This account of a snippy confrontation adjacent to the red-carpet for last night’s premere of Ang Lee‘s Lust, Caution is the best piece of writing that The Reeler‘s Stu Van Airsdale has ever posted. Great stuff. More of this, please.
Tang Wei, Ang Lee at last night’s Lust, Caution premiere
“No sooner had Lust, Caution star Tang Wei blown me and my decimated ego off then I felt a nudge at my right. That’s common, really; the carpet’s a claustrophobe’s nightmare, this time with seven writers squeezed into a space made for four (a portion of which was blocked by a security guard, further compromising the area). But no one complains; it won’t get you anywhere, and anyway, you don’t have time.
“Suddenly the nudge became a shove accompanied by an insect clicking noise. I turned to find a professional photographer — an Asian man — snapping photos of Tang.
“‘What are you doing?’ I asked. He looked down at his camera, studying his shots. ‘Hey, listen,’ I told him. ‘The photographers’ well is over there.’ I pointed across the carpet, at least three-quarters of which had been apportioned for cameras. It was crowded, naturally. He glanced over, then raised his camera again. ‘Dude,’ I said, ‘you wanna get here an hour early like the rest of us, then you can get your shot. But we’re doing a job. Get the fuck out of here.’
“He took a few more photos before stepping away. Minutes later he returned on my left-hand side, where a woman was interviewing Tang in Chinese. This time he was joined by two more photographers, younger Asian men, all but climbing over me and my colleagues from Radar and New York Magazine.
“‘What the fuck are you doing?’ I said, pointing once again. ‘That is the photographers’ well. You belong there. We can’t get our jobs done with…’
“‘We’re doing a job, too,’ one replied. The other muttered something in Chinese.
“‘Not here, you’re not. You don’t see us over there. We got here at 6. You’re an hour late. I’m not gonna ask you again.’ Now, you’ve seen enough of me on ReelerTV to know that I’d be the underdog in 100 out of 100 fistfights. But after two and a half years of dealing with animals with cameras at these events, I couldn’t take anymore.
“‘You guys, hey,’ the security guard shouted. ‘Pipe down.’
“‘We’re doing an interview in Chinese,’ the woman said as Tang walked away. ‘Can’t you hear that?’
“‘I don’t give a shit — these guys need to back off.’
The woman, the older photographer and the Chinese-speaking photographer finally went around to the photo well. The other photographer stayed behind, lowering his camera and peering on tiptoe at Lee, who was almost to the miserably congested writers’ well. I prepared my notes when I heard the voice to my left: ‘White trash!’
“I paused, processed. Did that just happen? I turned to the photographer. ‘What did you just say?’ He ignored me, continuing to stare at Lee. ‘Did you just call me white trash?’
His eyebrows arched a bit. ‘Are you fucking kidding me?’ I said. He didn’t break his stare. I think I winced before telling him not to fuck with me — the lamest possible comeback, I know, but the only expression I could summon in the face of such immediate, lazy, unalloyed stupidity.
“A few seconds later he departed, saying something indistinguishable as he passed behind my back and disappeared into the Houston Street throng. I shook my head and got my cracker ass ready to interview Ang Lee.”