La Costa Film Festival 2016 Honors Chris Noth

Chris Noth receives shining star awards at La Costa Film Festival

On October 14, 2016 the first La Costa Film Festival Star Award was presented to the talented Chris Noth. The event was held at the La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, dubbed as one of the top resorts in Southern California by Conde Nast Traveler. The award was presented by Dave Karger, an E! Entertainment correspondent and entertainment expert. Karger also interviewed the award recipient.

Dave Karger presents Shining Star Awards to Chris Noth

Dave Karger presents Shining Star Awards to Chris Noth

Based on Karger’s interview, Noth – at an early age – already knew what he wanted to do with his life: to be an actor. He graduated from the Yale School of Drama and is a two-time Golden Globe nominee and SAG Award nominated actor. Although best known for the pop culture phenomena, “Sex and the City” series movie, Noth also starred in other renowned TV shows such as “The Good Wife” and “Law and Order“. Michael and Ruby Callihan, founders of LCFF, mentioned that Chris Noth couldn’t be a better choice to be the first recipient of the award. “The La Costa Film Festival Shining Star Award was created this year to honor a film or television artist that has not simply exhibited great talent in their work in front of or behind the camera, but also represents the film and television industry with integrity,” Michael and Ruby Callihan said.

Chris Noth at the La Costa Film Festival

Noth – rockin’ a black suit – was such a delight to look at…just like his persona from Sex and the City. He had been doing the rounds of promoting his latest critically-acclaimed indie flick “White Girl“. Dave Karger, moderator of the event, took the audience through the early career of Chris Noth. Karger started with Noth’s first credited film “Smithereens” (1982), directed by Susan Seidelman, who he later introduced. Seidelman also directed the pilot of “Sex and the City”.

After talking about Noth’s first flick , Karger followed up by asking Noth what type of student he remembered himself being.

Dave Karger and Chris Noth at the La Costa Film Festival

Dave Karger and Chris Noth at the La Costa Film Festival

NOTH: I was incredibly grateful going to Yale Drama. I went through the pain of after college coming to New York City in the late ’70’s, and trying to throw my cap into the ring as an actor. It was really tough. The city at that time enabled a poor student to barely get by, but you could find a maid’s room for like $89/month. You could live in diners in terms of your food, which I did, but I got an ulcer for doing it. You could find bars where they had happy hours and they would put out food. The whole point was to be there and I was fascinated coming out of college, just meeting one of those mythic great acting teachers…..Sandy Meisner, Stella Adler, Uta Hagen. And I got to go to the neighborhood playhouse and I got to study with Sandy Meisner. I took script analysis for Stella. I thought like that was a prerequisite to being an actor. That was a must. And you did everything you could. All your money was spent on acting class. And it was really rough. I come from a middle class family; my mom was a working mom. She did pretty well when she was working but she wasn’t at that time. So I was kinda on my own with a lot of other actors. That’s when $5.00 meant a lot, really. I mean, it was really kinda like day by day. That’s why getting into Yale Drama at that time was so important to me: because I wanted to do plays. I wanted to do lots of plays and it was hard. You were just standing in line to get a bar tending job at that time. There wasn’t any TV going on except for the soap operas. Occasionally a movie would come in to New York. It was also really like the battle of the acting techniques: Sandy against Stella. There’s that famous story Stella Adler when Lee Strasberg died…she came into class and she said ‘Everybody…let’s take a moment…a great man of the theater has died.’ But I didn’t wanna be in the war of acting techniques. I wanted to act. And I knew if I went to Yale that that’s the place where you’re gonna be doing 20-25 plays in three years. That’s exactly what happened. So to get in for me was the most important thing in my life and I cherished it when I was there. And I think I didn’t take anything for granted. I think that was important.

Under the Stars With Chris Noth – Shining Star Tribute Moderated by E! correspondent Dave Karger

Under the Stars With Chris Noth – Shining Star Tribute Moderated by E! correspondent Dave Karger

The ’80s- Hill Street Blues
In 1986, the popular police drama “Hill Street Blues” was breaking barriers. It was “the show” of mid to late ’80s. And Chris was part of the show. Karger asked him, “What do you remember from that experience?”

NOTH: I remember – believe it or not – when we were having lunch…I was like, ‘Amazing spread!’….I was like, ‘Holy cow! Prime rib….lobster!’ But right across the fence were all these homeless people. And it was the weirdest dichotomy. We were filming in downtown Los Angeles. A little bit painful for me to watch the old Hill Street Blues stuff. I kinda feel, ‘Gosh what are you doing’.

Chris Noth_Mr. Big at La Costa Film Fest

Noth also added that the show was his stepping stone to one of the iconic TV shows “Law and Order.”

Law and Order (1990-1995)
Noth described that he was not good in the audition, and the casting director told him that he should work on it because it would be an important show.

NOTH: I remember the casting. I was a terrible auditioner. I didn’t think I was going to get it. And I got it. I was surprised. I just felt the competition would be so incredible.
At that time his competition was another great actor, Michael Madsen.

Karger continued to asked Noth about Logan, his character from Law and Order: “What people liked about Logan is that he was the most badass among anybody from that show. Did playing that role mess with you at all?”

Under the Stars with Chris Noth

NOTH: No, not at all. It was as badass as you can get for NBC TV. He was a little tough. I apprenticed with some of the most amazing detectives in New York, Jerry Giorgio. He cracked the case which is called ‘Murder in the Met’. It was big case of the 70’s and early 80’s. It afforded me a view into the difference between a New York detective and any other detectives in the country. There’s something…an intangible quality. I think it has a lot to do with their sense of humor and their sort of instinct. I remember the detective telling me, ’You know the guy is guilty as soon as you see him in the cell….he has fallen asleep and you know you got ’em’. It’s kinda like he’s caught, and he’s relieved, and he’s just knocked out.’ I saw some interrogation. That was fantastic. And these guys were so on it ….with such a wry sense of humor. That’s what I’m trying to capture. And writers writing in Hollywood for New York detectives always see that, so you gotta sort of bring in your behavior.

Noth also talked about seeing the reruns of Law and Order on TV.

NOTH: I like, actually, to see the early Law and Order because they’re so different from the later Law and Order. And I see the old New York which disappeared also. I think New York has gone away and Law and Order has too. New York sort of started with the old Law and Order and it became Sex and the City. But it’s fun to look at it and remember. It also seems like yesterday, it also seems like 30 years ago.

Ruchel Freibrun popbuff blogger and Chris Noth

Ruchel Freibrun popbuff blogger and Chris Noth

The Rise of Sex and the City
Karger asked Noth, “You guys didn’t know what this franchise was going to be. What did you think? 1997…Sara Jessica Parker, 80s TV star. She had made some movies but she wasn’t SJP as what she is now. What were your hopes?”

Noth: I was kinda like, ‘Ok. This looks like fun.’ I love the last line of the pilot when she said. ‘Have you ever been in love?’ And he goes, ‘Absof%$^&lutely.’ I don’t know about this name, ‘Mr. Big’. That’s kinda odd. But then it was a New York Show and I immediately bonded with Sarah. We both love musical theatre. The one role I wanted to do more than anything in life was Sweeney Todd. I am deeply honored working with her. I just adore her. She is so bright and so witty, so fun, professional and full of energy. It really lightened up the room, and it was just ‘Let’s have a bash!‘ And we did. And then we got a call it was coming back. And ‘Oh, ok!’ And the whole four seasons again were so much fun. HBO wasn’t HBO. It was also like, innocent in a way, and spontaneous. And then it suddenly became the gorilla, ‘Sex and the City’. I’ll never forget after the first season had been shot, I was at the outdoor cafe with a buddy of mine in the Upper East Side, and they repeated it through the summer. And these girls were walking down the street… (I’m not exaggerating) I heard this kinda murmur and it became a little louder. ‘Easy, Easy – is that him?!’ And they started screaming. It was like they were coming at me. Then they started screaming. I was like, embarrassed…’What was that?!’ It was like…that was kinda how the show ended.

Ruchel Freibrun and Chris Noth

And of course, this question had to be asked: “Will there be third ‘Sex and the City?”

Noth: I don’t know. There’s always a rumor. I don’t know…is there any audience out there for another movie?

And the audience yelled, “YES”!

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