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Adrian Grenier Takes On The Paparazzi

 

"I am not a celebrity, but I play one on television", actor Adrien Grenier wagged from the stage at the School of Visual Arts Theater last night after the presentation of his documentary film TEENAGE PAPARAZZO at the Gen Art Film Festival in New York. Grenier, best known for his role as young movie star Vincent Chase in the Hollywood buddy comedy ENTOURAGE, has had his own run with the paparazzi, the aggressive photo hounds who are desperate to catch an unposed photo of celebrities to sell to the tabloid newspapers, magazines and websites.

Grenier, who has dated some of Hollywood's most eligible bachelorettes including Paris Hilton, Mandy Moore and Lindsay Lohan, has been the magnet for some of the most aggressive shutterbugs. One evening, after leaving a chic Los Angeles nightspot with a lovely on his arm, he noticed a 13 year old boy among the aggressive photogs attempting to snap his picture. This young man, a streetwise fellow named Aaron, was already well versed in the world of these street hawks.

Grenier determined to explore the world of the paparazzi by creating a relationship with this young man, to understand the motivations of those who staked out Hollywood hotspots and the homes of celebrities to capture an image that they hope to sell for thousands of dollars. "Like most people who feel their privacy is violated by these people, I felt a strong dislike for t"hem and what they do", Grenier explained. "But by following my young friends around and meeting more of the photographers, I started to understand that for these people this was only a living and that their interest in taking my picture is part of the whole celebrity game of promotion and publicity."

In the film, which was produced by HBO Documentary Films and will be seen this summer on the pay cable network Home Box Office, Grenier not only breaks on through to the other side of this cat-and-mouse game, but he explores the colliding interests of the photo agencies, the magazines and the general public with our current celebrity obsession. He even gets memorable interviews with academics and researchers, who explain how the celebrity culture has created a sense of community for people who no longer have village or family elders to look to for commonality of experience.

Grenier offers an intelligent take on the synergy between the celebrities who need publicity, the paparazzi who feed the frenzy for unposed photos of celebrities at their best or at their worst, the photo agencies and  magazines that are hungry for original materials, and, of course, a public that is more curious about the lives of the rich and famous than they are about people that they interact with everyday.

TEENAGE PAPARAZZO features choice clips from interviews with the likes of Matt Damon, Whoopi Goldberg, Alec Baldwin, Eva Langoria, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and others who tell horror stories of how the invasion of their privacy has shaped their attitudes and what is left of their personal lives. As Grenier explores the double-edged sword of celebrity status and attempts to find a deeper understanding of how the different forces at work rely on one another, he offers a stimulating and thought-provoking think piece that reveals many layers of meaning and motivation.

"I want the film to examine the hall of mirrors involved in capturing the private moments of recognizable names and faces and the effect it has on both those taking the pictures and those whose pictures are being taken", Grenier concluded. "Somehow, as much as we celebrities complain about it, we need these people to keep our names and images in front of the public, and the public seems to need to feel closer to us as a way of examining their own lives." A cautious tale, indeed, and a well executed one.

Sandy Mandelberger, Film New York Editor

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Mandelberger Sandy
(International Media Resources)

The Ultimate Guide to the New York Film, Video and New Media Scene.

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