Saturday, 9 November 2013
Naomie, Blake Lively, Harvey Weinstein and Hollywood Makeup Artists Create Teachable Moments at White House
November 8, 2013
It was all Michelle Obama's idea, gushed mega-producer Harvey Weinstein, as he and some of Hollywood's greatest gathered at the White House Friday for a careers-in-film workshop for high school students out of D.C., New York and Boston.
Weinstein, Whoopi Goldberg, actress Blake Lively and a handful of directors and producers gave the kids a serious pep talk, emceed by CBS News' Gayle King.
Weinstein said that the idea to bring Hollywood to Washington to talk jobs came about around the same time Michelle Obama was being tapped to announce best picture last year at the Academy Awards.
"This is what I want to do," Weinstein recalled the first lady saying in a meeting. (Weinstein also revealed that he couldn't believe it didn't leak that FLOTUS was going to play such a pivotal part in the Oscars. "Amazingly, enough, we did keep in a secret," Weinstein recalled.)
At the afternoon discussion, while Goldberg, producer Bruce Cohen, director Ryan Coogler, actress Naomie Harris and director David Frankel all spouted words of wisdom, Lively's story stood out as she talked about her unexpected path into the business.
Lively said in high school she was disinterested in acting, the family business, and interested in attending an Ivy League school.
"It was the only thing I knew I didn't want to do," she said of a career in Hollywood. "I wanted to get a great education."
To pursue this goal, Lively became class president and practically overdosed on extracurriculars, to the point where the school tried to tell her no.
"They said, 'you can't do this,'" she recalled.
But the acting bug eventually got Lively and high school administrators again came down on her, not allowing her to walk at graduation because she missed too many school days shooting the movie, "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants."
"They didn't let me do that because they wanted to shut me down," she said. (Years later, they asked the star to speak at graduation. She said no.)
Lively's breakout role came on the CW soap "Gossip Girl."
"I thought I tricked them," she said of landing the lead. "I was excited to get free food on set."
But, she told the kids, she still did have one minor regret.
"If I could, I would go back and I would go to college," Lively said.
In addition to hearing the experts speak, the kids -- brought in from film and visual arts programs -- learned a variety of skills: including makeup.
"And just so that the press understands, you maybe see some of our staff people with big gashes and cuts on their heads, it's just Hollywood happening here," Obama said when she took the podium. In particular, she called out her Social Secretary Jeremy Bernard.
"I was shocked that his nose was cut up," Obama said. "This stuff is pretty good -- very realistic."