Billy Crystal walks red carpet in N.O.

Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Actor Billy Crystal babysat for his granddaughters for five days, and from the experience, a movie was born.

On Friday, Crystal walked the red carpet for a screening of his latest film, "Parental Guidance," which opens in theaters later this year and co-stars Bette Midler and Marisa Tomei.

"It was exhausting," Crystal said of his babysitting experience as he walked the red carpet in New Orleans. Crystal said the movie is a fun, touching and comedic take on "the phenomenon of being able to take care of your kids' kids."

The film's director, Andy Fickman, said it was "a dream opportunity as a director to work with two comedy geniuses" in Crystal and Midler.

Fickman, who also walked the red carpet, said he was drawn to the story because many people can relate to the subject matter.

"Every generation thinks they know more than the previous generation," Fickman said. "We all like to talk about how we were raised."

Crystal starred in the hit films "City Slickers" and "When Harry Met Sally" and has hosted the Academy Awards nine times. He said he hasn't been approached to host the Oscars for a 10th time but he'd be up to the challenge.

"I'm always willing to do it," he said. "We'll see what they decide, and if it's me that's great, and if it's not, then good luck to whoever is going to do it."

Crystal turns 65 next year and has made a career out of turning his life into comedy: "City Slickers" was a story of mid-life crisis. The actor is also working on a book that will be part memoir with jokes about getting older.

"It's about learning how to navigate the world when the world is moving faster and you're not," he said.

Friday's "Parental Guidance" screening coincides with the AARP's national convention in New Orleans, which was the site of a visit Friday by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's running mate.

Crystal said he didn't sit in on Ryan's address to the AARP, nor President Barack Obama's address via satellite. He joked about a flap that arose after the vice presidential hopeful misstated the time he ran in a marathon by more than an hour.

"I've never met him, but anyone who lies about how fast they run in a marathon I can't trust," he said.

The "Parental Guidance" screening is one of several films with baby boomer appeal showing at the AARP convention. Others include "The Descendents" with George Clooney, the British comedy "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," the romantic comedy "The Oranges" and the documentary "Paul Williams Still Alive" — about the musician and actor whose songwriting credits include the Carpenters' "We've Only Just Begun."

On Saturday, there will be a screening of "Arbitrage," the recently-released dramatic thriller starring Richard Gere as a billionaire hedge-fund magnate juggling scandals that could destroy him personally and professionally. The film co-stars Susan Sarandon and Brit Marling.

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