Chloe Grace Moretz, Lester Holt, Elizabeth Banks and 13 More Stars Share Personal Convention Moments

7:30 AM 8/3/2016

by THR Staff

Hollywood and media stars flocked to Philadelphia (and a few to Cleveland too). Here, in their own words, are their most memorable experiences: "It felt like a field trip."

Barbara Kinney/Hillary for America
  • Chloe Grace Moretz

    'Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising'

    Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Dell

    "Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] was really, really sweet to me. He sat with my brother and me, and he said he’s a big fan of The Equalizer and that he was a big fan of me as an actor. (Laughs.) It was cool to be the youngest person in a crowd of such influential people — it really hit home how important this event was and how special it was for me to be a part of it. I want the 19-year-olds and 18-year-olds, my generation, to understand how important this election is."

  • Tony Goldwyn

    'Scandal'

    Robin Marchant/Getty Images

    "Stepping out into an arena of 20,000 people is only normal for rock stars and NBA players. After passing through layer upon layer of Secret Service, bomb-sniffing dogs and metal detectors (MAGs, in campaign parlance), we were ushered into the bowels of the Wells Fargo Center for 'speaker prep' and teleprompter rehearsal. The rehearsal takes place in a relatively small room with a podium at one end and a teleprompter at the other. I begin to read the words scrolling down the screen: 'Hello, I'm Tony Goldwyn. I'm here in Philadelphia standing in the Assembly Room of Independence Hall...' No I'm not. Wait. Wrong speech. This is the text for a speech I am to record for the last night of the convention from Independence Hall. There is much apologizing and I am whisked out of the rehearsal room while the correct speech can be found and loaded into the prompter. Thank God for rehearsal. I head into the green room with folks like Madeleine Albright and Eric Holder and make small talk, trying desperately to act as cool as they seem. Finally, my moment comes and I am taken to the wings of the convention hall. I give Elizabeth Banks a hug — she was the emcee for the evening — and go stand by the curtain separating me from the 20,000 people I'm about to address as I introduce the deeply inspiring Mothers of the Movement. I'm way more nervous than I thought I'd be. So I say to myself, only half-joking, 'I'm the fucking president of the United States. I got this.' And you know what? It helped."

  • Richard Kind

    'Inside Out'

    Dan MacMedan/WireImage

    "During rehearsal [for the July 27 "What the World Needs Now" musical number], after the bulk of the song had been sung, we were asked to walk downstage and form a line while continuing to sing the refrain, ‘What the world needs now.’ We were told to encourage the audience to join in. Maybe clap. In performance, as we walked down to the lip of the stage, the energy of 30,000 people met us halfway. I’ve never felt anything like it. The energy was overwhelming. I hate to be so cliched about this, but it was one group hug through song. We really do need love, sweet love."

  • Reid Scott

    'Veep'

    Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images

    "I went as part of the Creative Coalition. Elizabeth Banks, Dean Norris, Josh Gad, David Schwimmer — we all stayed at this flea-bitten hotel out by the airport, the best the Coalition could afford. In the morning, we’d all pile on the bus together and go to the CNN Grill or go to meet-and-greets, and then we’d walk through the heat and the security and wander around the DNC. It felt like a field trip. At one point I was joking that it was like kindergarten — we needed the magic rope that we could all hang on to together. On the first night, I went down to the floor for Michelle Obama’s speech because I think she’s incredible and I wanted to be as close as possible. There was almost this concert-like rush of people to get close to the stage. I got corralled into one area on some stairs. Everybody sort of looked around and realized the only way we could keep our balance on these stairs was if we put our arms around each other and supported each other. It was really sweet. People were helping each other not fall off the stairs during Michelle Obama’s speech, complete strangers, holding each other up. It was such a great metaphor for the whole convention."

  • Diane Guerrero

    'Orange Is the New Black'

    Gary Gershoff/WireImage

    "A powerful moment for me was on day two, when we watched a video of all the U.S. presidents throughout history, then that transitioned to the sound and visual of a breaking glass ceiling and seeing Hillary Clinton via satellite. When she spoke to every little girl who now knows that the presidency is within reach for them, too, I turned into my 6-year-old self and felt that I, too, am equal and that I, too, would have the ability to reach for any position that I want."

  • Sophia Bush

    'Chicago PD'

    Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

    "My seats were behind a whole section of big Bernie supporters. There were a couple who were a little rowdy. And I get it; I want everybody to stand up for what they believe — but I also believe in decorum. I don’t think it’s classy to scream at a presidential nominee. A couple of these guys jumped up with their big Bernie signs right in front of us, and they were blocking the view. So I leaned forward and said, 'Hey, guys, I totally respect what you’re doing, but could you hold your sign in front of your own face?' They were like, 'Oh, sorry, we weren’t thinking.' It was kind of a nice moment. Everybody was cool."

  • Elizabeth Banks

    Director, 'Pitch Perfect 2'

    Barbara Kinney/Hillary for America

    "This picture was taken on the third night of the DNC, after Hillary appeared with President Obama," says Elizabeth Banks of her trip to the convention in Philadelphia. "It was an unexpected visit — she expressed her gratitude for the [‘Fight Song’] video, and we discussed the historic nature of her nomination." The Pitch Perfect 2 director — and her friend, American Beauty producer Bruce Cohen — got the idea to turn Rachel Platten's "Fight Song" into a DNC anthem a year ago, when they heard the tune playing at one of Hillary Clinton’s rallies. "It was the only song we considered," she tells THR. More than 30 celebrities appear in the star-studded video, including Aisha Tyler, Eva Longoria, Josh Lucas, Mandy Moore, Kathy Najimy, Mary-Louise Parker and Rob Reiner, to name a few. "We just got lucky that everyone we approached to launch the project said yes," says Banks. Production on the video took place throughout June, with recording sessions held in L.A. and New York. Some participants, such as Jane Fonda and opera star Renee Fleming, self-taped performances that they then sent to Banks and Cohen. "It doesn’t get much better than getting a self-tape from Renee Fleming," says Cohen.

  • Rosie Perez

    Former 'View' co-host

    Rommel Demano/Getty Images

    "I was on the credentials committee. Most people think that means I helped hand out the passes — but it was much more than that. [The committee resolves disputes and challenges regarding the seating of delegates at the convention.] The first day we met, I was very, very nervous. And I meet James Roosevelt Jr., the grandson of FDR. He’s telling me about Eleanor Roosevelt, his grandmother. He was telling me that he grew up thinking that having a grandmother who was first lady was normal. I was just blown away."

  • Jason George

    'Grey's Anatomy'

    Allen Berezovsky/WireImage

    "At the Planned Parenthood luncheon, [president] Cecile Richards gave us a shout-out and gave love to Maura Tierney and my boss, Shonda Rhimes. Wendy Davis spoke eloquently about her legendary filibuster in the Texas Senate, then Cory Booker told us about the 'conspiracy of love' that helped him thrive under tough circumstances and of the wise women in his life who told him to never lose sight of the positive aspects of the neighborhood or life."

  • Lester Holt

    Anchor, 'NBC Nightly News'

    Photographed By Meredith Jenks

    "Cleveland last week was a vision of a country that’s not only very divided but severely broken. Here it’s all about optimism, looking forward, feeling good about America. Celebrities make it more of a show — and let’s not fool ourselves: Conventions are television shows. They’re made for television."

  • Savannah Guthrie

    Co-anchor, 'Today' show

    Getty Images

    "The celebrity factor gets priced into the stock already. I think most people know that Hollywood tends to be liberal and most movie stars tend to support the Democrat. Whatever effect it has most people are already aware of this dynamic so I’m not sure that they’re basing their votes on whether this or that celebrity wants to supports Hillary Clinton. The question is, if you have Katy Perry perform, or Alicia Keys, are you going to get eyeballs you wouldn’t have otherwise gotten, and I think that’s part of the reason they do those things."

  • Scott Pelley

    Anchor and managing editor, 'CBS Evening News'; correspondent, '60 Minutes'

    Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

    "I think anyone who was at the Republican convention noted it was all about the threats to America, which are considerable, but it wasn’t about a great deal more than that. And so the entire tone of the convention is menacing. I think the Democrats went to school on that and said, we’re not going to do that. We’re going to give Americans a view of a brighter future, tearing a page, ironically, out of the Republican playbook. You remember it was Ronald Reagan with the 'shining city on the hill,' George H. W. Bush with the 'thousand points of light.' Well, it was a thousand points of darkness a week ago. The Democrats are trying to paint that brighter picture. Here’s their challenge: Never in our CBS polling has anyone ever been elected president with negative ratings as high as Hillary Clinton’s. Donald Trump’s are higher. We’re going to see history in another way in this election: We’re going to elect someone with the highest negative ratings since the early 1980s when we started asking those questions. They’re each trying to be the lesser of two evils."

  • Jay Sures

    Partner, UTA

    Jason Merritt/Getty Images

    "I went to Obama’s speech on Wednesday. I headed over there around 5 p.m. in an Uber car. But the line of cars was like an hour to get to the stadium. So I decided I was going to be the smart guy. I got out of the car and walked the two blocks to the entrance. But when I got to the entrance I realized I didn’t have the right credential with me. So I had to literally turn around and walk about a mile back to my hotel in 95 degree heat, with 100 percent humidity. I was sweating so hard I was almost unrecognizable. But I finally got the right credential and I got in. Once you got inside, the level of security was unprecedented. It was a militarized zone. There was more security almost than there were people. It was almost a one-to-one ratio. If you were sitting in the skyboxes, you couldn’t hear the speeches — everybody was talking. Until the real speakers come on — the president, the vice president — nobody paid attention. You might have heard a Bernie supporter shouting or something like that, but you couldn’t really hear what was happening on the floor. Unless it was the big speeches. But one of the moments I’ll never forget was outside the convention, outside the CNN Grill, the night Obama gave his speech. They had a giant screen outside, and all the employees — the security guards, police officers, workers — were watching Obama up on the big screen. And many of those people were crying. They were watching Obama and they were crying. It was just an incredible moment."

  • Chuck Todd

    Host, 'Meet the Press'

    D Dipasupil/Getty Images

    "One of the interesting things about both conventions is that they’re emblematic of both candidates’ status. This is very much what an insider convention is like. When the party establishment is all together. It’s somewhat orderly. A little messy on day one. There’s a hierarchy. The Cleveland convention felt like an outsiders’ convention. It felt like a bunch of outsiders took over the party and the insiders wanted no part of it. The two conventions reflected the two candidacies. Both parties hire former television professionals to put them on. What does that tell you?"

  • Charlie Rose

    Co-anchor, 'CBS This Morning'; host, PBS' 'Charlie Rose'

    Getty Images

    "These two candidates have been really interesting. Donald Trump is an individual who has captured the party. Hillary Clinton has been part of the Democratic Party for a long time going back to Arkansas and even before. She’s been part of a party. Trump has been not that. He’s been a businessman who in a sense went out there and won the nomination in the primaries. He did it as an outsider. It’s America. That’s what makes it so exciting to me. These are people who worked hard to come out here and see their candidate. These are the people who won. This is democracy in action. Now it’s the general election, a whole other stage. And they both acknowledge this: You are seeing two of the most unpopular candidates ever to run."

  • Michael Kives

    CAA Agent; Friend of the Clintons

    Vivien Killilea/Getty Images

    "I got the chills. I thought the president’s speech was absolutely perfect and there was something really symbolic and amazing at having the first African-American president pass the baton to our first female president. It was an amazing moment in American history. They both have talked about their rivalry as much as anyone. It was a hard, long fought primary campaign in 2008. They debated each other some 20 times. She probably was able to bury the hatchet far earlier than I was. She got over it pretty quickly and went to serve in his cabinet. I still was a little angry. But only for a brief time because you can’t not like Barack Obama."

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