Awkward Moments in Entertainment History: A Steady Ringtone

Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig had already established themselves as international film stars by 2009.  Each achieved superstardom thanks to involvement with powerhouse movie franchise: Jackman was “Wolverine” from the X-Men series, while Craig landed the  coveted role of James Bond in that venerable cinematic institution.

Yet, neither lost his appetite for the stage.  In fact, they joined forces to play the characters in a two-man Broadway production of “A Steady Rain.”  The play follows the complicated lives of two Chicago police officers.  It received strong reviews upon its debut, broke the record for highest weekly gross by a non-musical, and drew interest from Steven Spielberg for a movie adaptation.

However, the play’s original run will likely be best remembered for an unfortunate (but funny) incident involving a cell phone.

The two characters grapple with several personal and professional issues during the course of the play.  There’s one moment in particular when Jackman’s character is explaining that he’s haunted by a decision he made on the job that led to the death of a young boy.  He’s recounting for the audience that he’s unable to sleep, because, whenever he attempts to do so, he sees the face of the boy who was murdered.

In the midst of this very intense moment during a September 23rd, 2009 performance, this happened:



You can see an even longer, more awkward version here, at the TMZ website.

Of note is the fact that neither man broke character.  To that point, Jackman handled the situation with about as much grace as is possible under those circumstances.  Some reports said he reacted “with anger,” but, in hindsight, it seems more like humor delivered in a voice entirely consistent with the character he was playing at the time.

Jackman later discussed the incident in an interview with Katie Couric:



In an increasingly self-centered world in which the idea of being disconnected from a ubiquitous information stream is anathema to many, it was probably inevitable that something like this would happen at such a high-profile play.  Furthermore, the person to whom the phone belonged was in such embarrassed (or narcissistic) denial that he wouldn’t even turn his phone off when afforded the opportunity.

It’s also somehow fitting that the someone illegally created the recording that revealed all of this.


Unrelated “programming note” – No SitCombat this week, as 30 Rock is “unopposed.”  The feature may or may not return next season.  We’ll see.

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