The new warmhearted comedy Ghost Town, starring Ricky Gervais and Téa Leoni, has all kinds of comforting messages about life and death. Turns out if you get hit by a bus but still have unfinished business on Earth, you get to resolve all your issues with loved ones before a beam of light appears and you fade out blissfully on the way to the next world.
After a Cinema Society screening on Monday, Sept. 15, everyone at the Soho Grand’s courtyard restaurant seemed under the spell of this sweet, hilarious movie. So we decided to bum everyone out by asking if Armageddon was right around the corner.
“Are you speaking from a religious point of view?” asked a Buddha-like James Lipton. “I have no interest in that theory. I think it’s utter foolishness.”
It looked like he wanted to return to the nice pile of buffet din-din on his plate and/or the woman next to him, who was either Carol Alt or a Carol Alt look-alike, but he let us continue. So how about that Wall Street crash?
“That’s real, that’s real,” Mr. Lipton said. “People should be worried about that, not about some magical event. I mean, I’m not an economist; I think we are heading into very dark times.”
The Transom moved on to socialite Ann Dexter-Jones. “I think it’s been coming for a long time,” she said of the apocalypse. “But I’m very optimistic. Everything we do to change our life for the better and the people near us makes a difference. I mean, I’m not saying that like I’m a guru, but I really believe that ‘the coming apocalypse’—I don’t believe in doom and gloom. I think that’s something you fight. I don’t roll over.”
Ms. Dexter-Jones cited five things that recently put a bounce in her step: The jewelry line she started. Her new apartment, which is going to be fabulous. Her five children—Mark, Samantha and Charlotte Ronson; and Annabelle and Alexander Dexter-Jones. Orchids. Going out on the town.
“Not once in a while; I go out a little too often,” she admitted. “I love coming across people who have a good energy and a good feeling about them. I love to be out and be among good people and love.”
Greg Kinnear, who gets hit by a bus at the beginning of Ghost Town, stopped by for a quick chat.
“Signs of the apocalypse? I’m an optimist, you’re talking to an optimist. My Talk Soup days are behind me! I’m a changed man. I believe in a 200-plus day on Wall Street. I believe in a better New York. I believe in an L.A. where the conversations become clearer and sharper. I believe in a Midwest—you know, it’s not all just about ethanol.”
What’s made him cheerful lately?
“Well, my daughter turned 5 the other day, and that put a big bounce in my step. There’s a sense that in the world that is foreboding, dangerous and overwhelming—I try to keep my optimism peaked because I have two beautiful daughters who are entering the world. I’m inherently a cynic and I’m telling you, with two daughters I’m no longer a cynic.”
Any other messages of hope?
“Oh, I don’t know, it’s a full moon tonight,” Mr. Kinnear said. “The moon is completely 100 percent lit up tonight. It’s still there, it’s beaming. You’re looking for hope? Talk to anybody under 8, you’ll find it, you’ll find it. By the way, it used to be 10.”