7:00am PT by Chris Gardner
Jennifer Lopez Hits Bizarrely Early NBCUniversal Pre-Emmy Lunch
A version of this story first appeared in the April 1 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
Getting a very early jump on awards season, NBCUniversal Television hosted its second-ever pre-Emmy lunch March 7, a full six months before the TV Academy's awards take place. The event, held at Eveleigh in West Hollywood, was intimate — only about 40 attendees— but plenty of NBC talent was there to work the room.
Shades of Blue star Jennifer Lopez held court in a corner banquette with co-star Ray Liotta and her producing partner Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, who reminisced about her days as an agent, when she landed Julia Roberts her historic $20 million paycheck for Erin Brockovich ("That door is closed," she notes of today's financial environment for actresses).
“It was like she had to overperform to get it, and we are still fighting. It certainly isn’t always about the money; it’s about the quality and the opportunity. And that’s why being partnered with Jennifer is extraordinary, because she literally looks at everything and says, 'OK, let’s scale that mountain,' " Goldsmith-Thomas tells THR.
Lopez adds that she’s always down to do battle. “It’s always going to be a lot of fighting — it is the world we live in. The truth is that women are just as viable and important as men are,” Lopez says. “And Elaine is relentless. That should’ve been the name of our company.” (For the record, it’s Nuyorican Prods.)
Across the room, Master of None co-creator Alan Yang hobbled to his table with his left leg encased in a medical walking boot. Turns out he'd torn his Achilles during an industry basketball game. "I heard a loud pop," Yang describes the Jan. 31 mishap, "and I said very calmly, 'I tore my Achilles, guys. I'll be back.' "
For approximately eight years, Yang has been playing in an industry-heavy pickup league (Black-ish creator Kenya Barris is a regular) at West Hollywood’s Poinsettia Park, and the Jan. 31 game didn’t have a happy ending for his ACL. “Jerry Ferrara from Entourage was there for the first time that day, and he maliciously severed my ankle,” Yang jokes, before getting serious about the “boring” details. “It was very routine, I was doing a crossover left to right."
Surgery and a short hospital stay followed a few days later, as did the care packages. His Master of None partner Aziz Ansari sent flowers, the book Conversations With Woody Allen and meats from Zingerman’s. “That was a good care package,” he laughs. As for the hoops, Yang is hanging up his kicks for a while. “I’m moving to New York to work on the show,” Yang explains. “It was fun while it lasted.”
New Yorker Seth Meyers also was in attendance, talking about the unpredictable 2016 presidential race. "The nice thing about this election," he notes, "is you don't have to think too far ahead. If you did, you'd be wrong."
Sort of like the Emmys.