In a lot of ways, a red carpet is like a crime scene. As officers of the peace, the P.R. people keep the snoopy reporters and photographers at a safe distance from the fashion-crime-committing celebrities, and the barricades put the gawking public out of eyeshot. In a fabulous Poparazzi column, debonair gossipeur Ben Widdicombe’s comparison was to a war zone, with photographers as “heavy artillery,” television crews as “cavalry,” and print reporters as “light infantry” hoping to “stick a ball-point pen into a celebrity body while it’s still warm.” His aphoristic conclusion: “That’s probably why the red carpet is red: to soak up the blood.” —
For Hollywood events, Widdicombe’s comparison is spot-on, but this Monday night at the 12th annual celebration of an organization called Only Make Believe, my crime-scene metaphor might have been more apt. After all, longtime Law & Order: Special Victims Unit co-stars Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay were reunited upon arriving for the event. Meloni, who played tough-guy Elliot Stabler on SVU for 12 years till he was cut at the end of last season, was honored by the charity with their first-ever OMB Child Advocacy Award. His onscreen partner Hargitay showed up—completely unbeknownst to the reporters and PR people on the red carpet outside Shubert Theater.
If it was a crime scene, though, the pair were certainly not in character. Meloni handed Hartigay something, and then she screamed, “Chris!” and began belly-laughing. From my faraway perch, I couldn’t make out the laughter-inducing object, so I approached Mariska for some role reversal. On Law & Order: Red Carpet Division, I got to be the interrogating officer. What was all that laughing with Meloni about? “There’s so much history there. There’s just so much. You’ll never understand it!”
Mariska had high praise for the charity, Only Make Believe, which sends actors to perform at children’s wards in hospitals, where chronically ill and terminal kids often live. “I’m here because of Chris, but I’m also here for such an incredible organization. Unleashing creativity is just such a huge process of healing. They inspire the kids in such a way where they forget their circumstances for a moment. I’m a huge advocate of healing, and doing it joyfully.” In addition to amazing hair, the lovely lady also has a sense of humor. When I asked her about her recent motherhood—she has adopted two kids in the past year—she joked: “Yes. I have 42 children.”
Meloni proved to be a jokester too when, during the gala’s Broadway-style show in the Shubert Theater, he pretended to be too busy with new projects to show up to receive his award, airing a hilarious parody video in his “absence.” What’s better than seeing bad-cop Meloni doing Broadway, singing a showtune version of the Law & Order theme song? He also roughs up a number of people, Eliott Stalber-style, and I must say that his guns are still looking quite nice. Hasn’t let himself go in his unemployment! I respect that.
Mariska and Chris weren’t the only two ex-co-stars reliving their star-crossed pasts. Also having a mini-reunion were Professor Snape a.ka. Alan Rickman and his seven-time pupil Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe). Neither of the Brits did interviews on the red carpet, perhaps because the press in the U.K. is so shitty to public figures (see Rupert Murdoch phone-hacking scan for evidence). Both are currently in New York for Broadway roles: Radcliffe is just finishing up his run in How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Rickman is just kicking off Seminar, in which he plays an acerbic English professor. Since the charity sends actors to children’s wards in hospitals, Radcliffe joked during his and Rickman’s brief on-stage cameo, “We know first-hand how great it is to bring magic into the hearts and imaginations of children.”
On the red carpet, co-hosts and Addams Family co-stars Brooke Shields and Brad Oscar both voiced their deep support of the organization. I asked Shields how she chose to support this charity, seeing as I’m sure a lot of organizations are gunning for her celebrity endorsement. “If we said yes all the time, I would be saying yes to every Monday night. Brad and I have worked together before, and I really respect and love him. He said, ‘Look, I just want to show you this.’ He showed me some footage, showed me some literature, and it just felt like the right thing to do.” Brad had his own special connection to Only Make Believe—his partner and fellow actorDiego Prieto helps put on the shows for the kids.
At the John’s Pizzeria afterparty, there were fried mozzarella wedges and vodka cranberries in abundance, but no Mike Myers, who skipped the red carpet but made the show. Apparently he just had a son named Spike two weeks ago, and I thought that would be nice to talk about, in the spirit of People mag. Khalimah, the charming hostess at John’s, gave me another scoop, saying that Alan Rickman had briefly shown up earlier but was “dragged out by two old ladies in red pants.” Love it.
Of all the celebs at the show, only Meloni and Hargitay made the post-show celebration. I chatted with Meloni to see if he really did have any new projects post-L&Obesides playing a general in Superman. He pulled out a classic line (my dad loves this one): “If I told you, I’d have to kill you.” So, you see, afterparties can be quite akin to crime scenes too.