Maui Film Festival
PHOTOS COURTESY RANDALL MICHELSON
Stars come out on Maui
Nothing appears to bother Pierce Brosnan. Then again, he's the former James Bond, with talent enough to sing and dance alongside Meryl Streep in the musical comedy "Mamma Mia," slated to open next month. And it's obvious that he's venturing into his 50s with the rugged grace one would expect from a leading man.
"This is a walk in the park compared to some of the things I've done," he said about the red carpet interviews that allowed him to sit in a lanai chair while members of the press rotated to him. Later in the evening, Brosnan submitted to questions from Maui Film Festival attendees when he received the 2008 Maverick Award for his environmental efforts and his commitment "to making movies that matter."
Looking European with a tropical flair in linen pants and a shirt open to the chest, Brosnan said he'd be thrilled to receive the same excellent reviews for "Mama Mia" that Richard Gere garnered for his musical performance in "Chicago," which surprised and impressed many critics.
"I had the greatest time of my life making the movie last summer back in London, back on the James Bond soundstage -- irony of ironies," Brosnan said. "Everyone's a sucker for Abba. You can be jaded and criticize it and be cynical, but you're going to get up and dance to 'Waterloo' whether you like it or not. I haven't seen the movie." He paused to tap the chair. "Touch wood that it will be a great success."
Brosnan had no trouble adjusting to the pace on Maui, which might have been a bit quicker than the life he's accustomed to at home on Kauai.
"I grew up in a small village in Ireland," he said. "Kauai is like Ireland with the heat turned up. It's green, it's wet, it's rural. They like to sing, they like to dance. We went there to create a simple life for ourselves, and something that would be meaningful to the boys (his sons with wife Keely Shaye Smith). My wife's a great gardener, I like to paint. We were very lucky to fall into it."
Dennis Quaid arrived on the modest red carpet near the pool at the Four Seasons Resort Maui looking bronzed from a day in the sun with his wife, Kimberly, and their twin babies. On the schedule for the following day? A round of golf for the scratch player.
Quaid attended the Maui Film Festival last week to receive the Galaxy Award for his continuing ability to deliver star-making performances. Festival attendees got a chance to listen to him chat with E! Entertainment Television host Jerry Penacoli, and answer their questions in the garden of the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort.
The busy actor has five new films coming out in the next 18 months, but still looks fondly on the recent "Smart People," which critics adored.
"Thanks, I really liked that film," he said, while settling into a chair for a conversation before the public presentation of his award. "I did it for the right reasons. It gave me a chance to do something very different, and work with those people (Sarah Jessica Parker, Thomas Haden Church, Ellen Page)."
The extremely fit Quaid, looking a decade younger than his 54 years, wore a fat suit for the role because, as he said, "I didn't have time to gain weight. Nor did I have the inclination. I lost 40 pounds for 'Doc Holiday,' and I've gained 20 or 30 pounds for other roles. It's a lot of work to go up and down."
The most challenging aspect of the part was "playing someone so different from myself," he said, flashing his distinct grin. "I mean, I consider myself to be, but I've never been known to be, the scholastic type," he laughed. "It was about very smart people who were real emotional dumbasses."
Asked what he does to stay in shape, he said, "Right now, I'm lifting infants. Two of them!"
Virginia Madsen loves Hawaii -- and the Maui Film Festival, in particular. "You just kind of go with the flow here," she said. "Tomorrow I think I'm probably going snorkeling. And maybe in the pool again. Life is rough. So stressful."
Madsen received the 2008 Navigator Award for "creatively carving a path of distinction through the turbulent waters of the entertainment industry" while maintaining a commitment to excellence.
"Everybody's chilled out here," she said of the festival. "Everyone is so happy! This is like the antithesis of Sundance, which is kind of chaotic, and very high energy. It's cold, it's winter, it's skiing, it's bustling here and there and jumping on buses and riding to all the different venues. It's very exciting and fun. But this is only about enjoying Maui and watching movies."
Her latest project is "Amelia," which she just finished shooting with Richard Gere and Hilary Swank, who spearheaded the project about aviator Amelia Earhart.
"It was a nurturing, loving environment," Madsen said. "It was very laid-back. I was surprised, because I was shooting at the beginning of the film. And they've got eight months, with a lot to do. But you know, when you work with actors like that, they're just so happy to be there. I think real actors are just glad to have a job."
She should know, because it's not easy to find quality roles in her mid-40s -- even though she's been working steadily since the 1980s. "It's more challenging, because I'm not 35," she admitted. "But I think it's challenging for all women. There's really just a handful of projects for us. And none of them star women. I don't need to be the star of the movie, but I'd like more stories about women to be told."