I was just relaxing looking for something to watch on TV when I saw that, 25th Hour, was up next on HBO. Wow, I hadn't thought about that film in a while but as I did so many great memories came flooding back as I sat down to watch it for the first time in over ten years. 25th Hour is a 2002 Spike Lee film and was one of the first feature films to include post 9/11 NYC. The film's cast is outstanding: Ed Norton, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Rosario Dawson, Barry Pepper, Anna Paquin just to name the top billers.
I interviewed Ed, Phillip, Rosario and director Spike Lee. 25th Hour stands out as one of the most interesting group of interviews I ever had on a single film. Phillip Seymour Hoffman was grouchy. When I walked in for our talk my first impression was this guy's been up all night hitting it hard in the City. Phillip wasn't really down with doing PR interviews that day but getting the chance to chat with an actor of that caliber about a really solid NYC movie tied to 911 was special. My belief that Phillip had been partying all night was bolstered when I caught up with Ed. I walked in to Ed's set up and saw that he had his shoes off, one sock on and one bare foot, he looked at me with eyes that said, “don't ask” and he too looked like he had been out all night and was barely able to get through a long day of interviews. Rosario Dawson was just delightful, beautiful, alive, engaged just a joy to talk to. Spike was a great interview. Normally I would get about five minutes on camera for an interview until a year or so later when Disney asked me if I would do their “open ended” interviews along with my regular slot so I started getting double slots for most of my Disney interviews, I bring that up for what happened while I was talking to Spike that had never happened in any other interview in my career. I really wanted to know how important this film was to Spike being a New Yorker coming off the 9/11 attacks. He told me that this film was very important to him because of the real victims of the attack who were part of the story. He held a screening for the widows of the fire company, Rescue 5, Engine 160, from Stanton Island that was portrayed in the film and Spike told me that to him their reaction was the most important. Spike was so caught up in talking about the 9/11 connections that he looked at the time keeper for the interview and said, “ I'm going to take more time with this one, don't worry about it.” Not only did we talk about the film but Spike made sure we had time to talk about a documentary he was working on for HBO about Hall of Fame running back and former Cleveland Brown, Jim Brown.
If you have never seen, 25th Hour, you should. Spike Lee takes a story about an Irish punk drug runner's last day before a long prison stretch and spins a rich love story for NYC and in a way for the whole country. For me the can't miss moment of the film is when Ed's character goes to the restroom in his Father's bar and see's the words, “Fuck You.” etched on the mirror. At that moment we see Ed's reflection say, “Fuck me? Fuck you, fuck me and this whole city and everyone in it ” and then goes off on the most un-pc rant about who he hates in the city, doesn't leave anyone out, but saves his biggest attack for, “fuck Osama Bin Laden, Al Quaida and fundamentalist cave dwelling ass holes every where.” Watch 25th Hour it's a film that didn't get it's due at the time. Highly entertaining and it will leave you with so much to think about. I promise.