It's not often in your life that you hear a heckler cry out, "hoo-ah!" or even "Attica!!!" But at Al Pacino's One Night Only event at Hard Rock Live, this happened more than once. In fact, it happened many times.
You can call it a show -- there's storytelling and laughter -- or you can liken it to Inside the Actors Studio, but really, there's not much else out there exactly like One Night Only. My mother actually said it restored her faith in humanity. And that's something you can't say about James Lipton's Proustian question-asking.
With tickets starting at $100, the room wasn't brimming with people, but every person in there was a crazed super fan. The second he walked onstage, the crowd sang and clapped "Happy Birthday" and Pacino graciously replied, "I appreciate this so much." The whole night went like that. Though the actor was onstage being asked formal questions by a host, the event was really about a back and forth between Pacino and his audience.
About the first hour involved behind-the-scenes Godfather and Scarface tales. When recounting the time Coppola called him to offer him the part of Michael Corleone, someone screeched, "He gave you an offer you couldn't refuse!" He took it all in stride, not inviting dramatics, but accepting them as they came.
And as all the catcalls from the audience mounted, instead of Pacino ignoring them, or getting aggravated that he couldn't complete sentences, he simply revealed himself as more and more of a wonderful person, not simply a wonderful actor.
Examples of this include: His story about refusing more money at first to do Godfather 2 with a script he didn't respect, displayed his integrity as an artist. As did the fact that he started making his own movies (like one he showed the trailer for, Oscar Wilde's Salome) after 1985's Revolution, which he felt wasn't fully finished before it was released. Someone sneezed in the audience, Pacino said, "bless you." We learned he was raised by his grandmother, mother, and two deaf aunts in the South Bronx and became close with his father later in life. He spoke about a teacher he had that helped him in his acting when he was a kid. He did more than one silly jig, and at 73, looked as spry as someone in their twenties.
When it came time for the question portion of the night, one that, at the audience's insistence, overtook the organized Q&A, he got asked to marry. The lady claimed to have been "passionately in love" with him since she was 13. That his 37 year old girlfriend was even in the audience didn't matter much to her.
After the moderator ended the show, Pacino leaned over and shook hands, signed posters, and even continued telling one last story. You could tell he wasn't out onstage enjoying it for the purposes of ego, it was a genuine exchange of good energy. He managed to represent something true and valuable, and from an actor, especially one that famous, those aren't always things we've come to expect.