From Paul Feig to Robert De Niro: Their Top Holiday Gift Recommendations for Hollywood

8:00 AM 11/21/2018

by THR staff

Plus, Ken Ziffren's wine picks, Busy Philipps' crew gifts and Spike Feresten's fave cars.

Paul Feig-Robert De Niro-Split-Getty-H 2018
Ethan Miller; Jim Spellman/WireImage

The Hollywood Reporter enlists Hollywood's expert filmmakers and collectors to recommend gifts for industry colleagues. Robert De Niro uses his Nobu knowledge to give his sake picks, while menswear icon Paul Feig (Ghostbusters) offers ideas for pocket squares and ties for men. Busy Tonight host Busy Philipps shares her go-to industry gifts (spoiler: it's Helen's Wines) and the best crew gift she gave on set. Whether you want to give bags, books or cars, THR breaks down the year's hottest holiday gifts.

  • Robert De Niro on Sake

    I had experienced sake before [chef-restaurant partner Matsuhisa Nobu and I] met, when I was in Sao Paolo [filming 1985's Brazil]. There's a huge Japanese community down there. I went into a restaurant in Little Japan and they had cold sake in a box. I never knew there was such a thing as cold sake, let alone in a box, with a little salt on the end. It was always warm. Like spaghetti. In my collection, I only drink YK 35, very cold, with cucumbers and salt. For yourself or others, I recommend gifting the Hokusetsu YK 35 Daiginjo Sake ($95, — As told to Brad Japhe

  • Paul Feig on Menswear

    A gift should be a nice halfway point between the giftee and the gift giver. I'm known for turning out in suits and ties, so accessories are a sure path for the holidays.

    POCKET SILKS Where a lot of menfolk don't wear ties these days, they will sport one of these stuffed in their jacket over an open-necked shirt. Yet most don't buy them for themselves. When we did A Simple Favor, Anna Kendrick got me a beautiful Hermes tie and pocket silk. I loved and wore both to set two days later, and she was so happy to see a gift in use. Blue is never risky — every man wears blue. Pocket silks are also a chance to bestow pop with color (even pink) or a pattern (like paisley). Many guys are intimated by folding these handkerchiefs: You just grab the center, pull through your hand, fold it in half and shove it down into your pocket.

    BOUTONNIERE A boutonniere — a silk rosette, by a brand like Charvet ($150, — is less of a leap than a pocket silk. Men know what do with a boutonniere. If you know someone who's begun to wear suits and perhaps ties, it's a tool for standing out.

    SOCKS Socks, being basic, are the most dangerous category to gift. Offer high-end socks in batches of four or five and include at least one set that isn't plain. Barney's does great socks; I like Paul Smith and Happy Socks for fun options.

    CUFFLINKS If there's no way the person is going to don a French cuff shirt, don't give these. Look for links with well-formed backings and not posts. More than anything, cufflinks can be matched to someone's personality. When we wrapped Ghostbusters, my producing partner and our line producer gave me handmade cufflinks: replicas of the specter hood ornament on the Ectomobile in white gold with diamond eyes. They are such a nice trophy in my collection.

    P.S. Fashion is personal. Always include a gift receipt. — As told to Chantel Tattoli

  • Ken Ziffren on Wine

    Give high-quality cabernet (better with meats and fowl) from Napa (king of the roost) and, for snob appeal, it shouldn't be rated by Robert Parker (no one can check up on your taste).

    FOR YOUR TEAM Powerful with roasted earth, Double Diamond ($70) should be opened an hour before tasting.

    FOR CREATIVES YOU ADMIRE Bremer Howell Mountain is rich and well balanced (up to $125).

    FOR STUDIO HEADS Cult wine Tusk ($600), with a two-year waiting list, has black fruit and is scrumptious. Contact the wineries directly to buy.

  • Spike Feresten on Cars

    Unless it's a very well-chosen vehicle, people won't want it. Recently a network-show star did their research and gave a car to the happy network president. Their show will not get canceled for many, many years.

    If you are buying a car for talent, take care of taxes and license fees. Don't make them get the car from the dealership; send it to them and have them sign for it.

    Anyone in Hollywood making someone a lot of money should be receiving a car gift. If you are propping up a dinosaur network, it should be getting you a car. If you are getting that streamer a lot of notice, it should be getting you a car. The closest I've gotten was when Jerry Seinfeld gifted me a Porsche mountain bike after I helped him write a Mercedes-Benz commercial. I did secure a Porsche GT2 RS for Gordon Ramsay in exchange for him coming on my podcast. He hasn't yet. I trust he will honor his commitment. — As told to Jon Alain Guzik

  • Busy Philipps on Team and Crew Gifts

    I don’t even know if I want to tell you [my go-to gift] because that’s the secret, right? But actually, Helen’s Wines here in Los Angeles does these beautiful gift boxes for the holidays. I’m telling you, honestly, it’s the best gift for agents, managers. People that work for me, everyone gets the Helen’s Wines. I pick different ones for different people. They are so beautiful and they’re just so classy. Helen really knows what she’s talking about in terms of wine, so that’s my go-to for, like, corporate-y gifts ($224, Merry Little Christmas gift box).

    But crew gifts are so funny and I always want to try to be creative. One year on Cougar Town, we gave our entire crew bikes because we just wanted to give something different than just, like, a zip-up hoodie, you know what I mean? So that was the best one we ever gave. Like we all banded together and did it. But I don’t think first year on Busy Tonight, they’re getting bikes. Sorry. Maybe next year! — As told to Alex Cramer

  • David Lynch on Transcendental Meditation

    Think about the word “transcend.” This is the key to everything. It means to experience the deepest eternal level of life. That is the field we want to experience, because when a person truly transcends and experiences that field, within it is pure consciousness. And this consciousness has qualities of unbounded intelligence, happiness, creativity, love, energy and peace for every human being.

    Get a certified, legitimate teacher and learn this technique and meditate regularly and you can’t lose. It’s a big, big, big blessing. A big gift you can give yourself.

    Research has shown that it’s good for your heart, your blood pressure, your brain. You’re going to get more love, relationships will improve, you’re going to get more creative, more ideas will flow. Kids' IQs can actually go up when they’re transcending every day. They say true happiness comes from within, not out there.

    At The David Lynch Foundation, we raise money to give transcendental meditation to those who can’t afford it. There is a Vedic expression: "The world is my family." It’s what we all want. We don’t want a suffering world. Bliss is our nature. — As told to Alene Dawson

  • Executive Stylists on Bags for Assistants

    Clare V. Midi Sac, $325 Stephanie Gisondi-Little styles Anonymous Content’s Joy Gorman Wettels, among others. The Midi Sac “fits perfectly into a work tote beside a laptop and shows that you hold your assistant in high esteem,” she says.

    Gucci GG Marmont Camera, $980 Abby Arad dresses Paramount president of production Elizabeth Raposo. The Camera is “a perfect transition piece when your assistant works crazy hours and can’t switch bags at night,” she says. — Kathryn Romeyn

  • Hollywood Travel Concierges on Experiential Trips

    What do you give to someone that has it all? Experiences. Top travel concierges recommend industry gifts to give a co-worker or longtime friend the gift of relaxation with luxe vacation packages.

    Jaclyn Sienna India, founder of Sienna Charles and Voyage Magazine

    With clients including top producers, studio execs and George W. Bush, India recommends taking a party of 12 to cruise around the French Polynesian islands. “Fly to The Brando for two nights before boarding a private 200-foot yacht where you are welcomed by local dancers and musicians. Every day you arrive at a different island and are taken by 4WD vehicles to private lunch setups, water sports, private beaches, local villages and pearl farms,” India says. To finish off, spend two nights in the overwater bungalows at the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora.

    Estimate: $750,000 for 12 people,

    Teneisha Collins, director of PR and client relations for Pure Entertainment Group

    Pure offers VIPs some of the most uncommon experiences — requiring background checks — like The Titanic Survey Expedition. “[I'm] in disbelief that this exclusive expedition is even available to us mere nonscientist mortals,” says Collins of exploring history's most famous shipwreck. In teams of nine, guests can join an 11-day research mission, including at least one submersible dive to the RMS Titanic, Helicopter Underwater Egress Training (HEUT), dive planning, shoreside and ship accommodations in St. John’s.

    Estimate: $130,000 per person (excluding airfare to St. John’s, Canada), — KR 

  • CAA's "Secret Weapon" for Gifting Stars

    Espionage, open on Beverly Boulevard for seven years, has become the de facto gift shop for CAA agents who need to send their clients one-of-a-kind gift packages. The relationship began two years ago, when shop owner Taylor King, 31, met agent Michael Kives, at a New Year’s Eve party in 2012 and asked which agents did a lot of gifting. Kives sent her a list, and King sent each agent a candle – with a witty handwritten note assuring that she’d handle any gifting needs from now on.

    “We’re pretty much CAA’s secret weapon,” King says of the six years she has worked with the agency. In March, she received a request to make a package for Renee Zellweger, congratulating her on the Judy biopic. King included a Rascal stuffed dog (in reference to Toto, and made out of recycled newspapers), a vintage wicker basket, baby pink slippers as “ruby slippers” and a magic wand.

    King has made packages for Oprah, Kate Hudson, Peter Dinklage, Matthew McConaughey, Salma Hayek, Annette Bening and many more. — Stacy Suaya

  • The Hollywood Reporter's Starry Book Picks

    The Mamba Mentality: How I Play The first nonfiction book from Kobe Bryant since he retired in 2016 dives into his “biblical workouts” and more.

    GIVE TO Lakers fans like Jeffrey Katzenberg, Jack Nicholson, Steven Spielberg or Leonardo DiCaprio ($35, Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

    The Endings The photo book — with Julianne Moore, Tessa Thompson, etc. — is for “women with wild hearts,” with foreward by director Mary Harron.

    GIVE TO Execs at Lionsgate and Paramount, studios with the fewest female-directed movies out of the 1,100 highest-grossing films from 2007 to 2017, according to the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative ($30, Chronicle Books). — Lindsay Weinberg

    A version of this story first appeared in the Nov. 19 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.