Josh Duhamel says the key to enjoying the night is keeping “expectations low” and leaving by 10:30 p.m.
Hector Elonzo, who has appeared in all 17 of Marshall’s films, agrees.
“Expectations low, definitely,” he says. “I did have one lousy New Years, because I expected something from it.” He tells a story about being a musician “in the days of rocks and caves, before they knew the world was round.”
His jazz quartet scored a show — “New Year’s Eve was the big gig,” he says, “that’s when you made $50!” — to discover the audience didn’t go for their New York brand of cool jazz. “They were like an oil painting looking at us. That was a big let down for us”
“When I stopped wanting my New Year’s Eve to be perfect is when it started working out right,” chimes in Hillary Swank, who plays the producer of the Times Square New Year’s Eve show in the all-star film. “When I was young I was always looking for the best party to ring in the New Year, and I always ended up in a car saying, (sadly) ‘Happy New Year.’”
“I got to kiss the girl I really liked, and then she turned around and kissed seven other people,” says director Garry Marshall. “Not a good night.”
But not all his end of the year experiences have been bad. In the early ’60s he met his wife Barbara at a New Year’s Eve party, and the two are still married. In fact she has a cameo in the movie playing a nurse.
Abigail Breslin may have an Oscar nomination under her belt, but that doesn’t mean she can do whatever she wants on New Years.
“My parents are cool,” says the 15-year-old actress, “they let me do things.” But would they let her behave like her on-screen character and go to the biggest New Year’s party on earth?
“I was saying the other day in an interview, ‘I’m not really sure my mom would let me do New Year’s Eve in Times Square.’
And she was like, ‘You’re right. I wouldn’t.’ So I don’t think that’s going to be happening any time soon.”