Postcards From Hollywood: My Very Own Notting Hill Moment

Daniela De Carlo recalls an incident early on in her career when she was wondrously oblivious to the fact she was talking to a huge movie star …

Once upon a time, before kids were in the picture, my husband and I went on an impromptu dinner with a dear friend of ours: Brazilian director José Padilha. My husband, composer Pedro Bromfman, has collaborated numerous times with him and we used to go out a lot back then. Like me, José has the most varied taste in friends and people in general, and I’ve met many fantastic individuals through him over the years.

That night, he introduced us to a new friend who was on crutches and had a brace around one of his knees. He was a tall, strong guy, and he looked to me like he played sports. “Are you a professional athlete? Is that how you got hurt?” I asked.

With a Southern accent, he sweetly replied: “No, ma’am. I’m an actor.”

Oh, cool!” I said, as the waiter proceeded to show us the table.

I sat next to José, across from my husband, and my new acquaintance sat next to me. We talked a lot, about old movies we loved (The Big Chill and Stand by Me, among others) and about life in general, marriage, the idea of having kids someday, and places we had been and wanted to go. He was a lovely, smart and sensitive guy, and we had similar taste so we engaged in fun, effortless conversation throughout dinner and dessert.

As espressos were being served, two giddy teenage girls shyly approached the table and asked if he would take a picture with them. They turned red and giggled with excitement behind their braces as he kindly and humbly complied, standing up with his hurt leg and gently hugging them, one on each side. I offered to snap the shot.

When the girls left, I told my new friend: “You’re pretty famous, aren’t you?”

He was Channing Tatum.

Daniela De Carlo’s latest feature, The Blackout, was released by Gravitas Ventures and is now available for streaming on Amazon Prime. Originally from Argentina, she worked her way up from P.A. to writer-director-producer, collaborating along the way with a myriad of industry heavyweights such as Alexander Payne, Martin Scorsese, Peter Bogdanovich, David E. Kelley, and Tony Scott. In 2010, she helmed the romcom Qualquer Gato Vira-Lata for Buena Vista International, which opened wide in Brazil to unprecedented box office success, and was one of six Hispanic directors on the 2014 feature drama Blue Lips. She was awarded the NBC/Universal Directing Fellowship and appointed to the USA Network show Royal Pains, and as a recipient of the inaugural NBC Female Forward program, recently helmed an episode of the primetime show Chicago Med. She is currently developing a biopic series about Xuxa, the most famous Brazilian pop star of all time. Daniela will exec produce, write and direct, in partnership with Xuxa and Gullane Filmes. She lives in Los Angeles. (Photo by Sari Thayer.)