Radio DJ Paddy McKenna landed himself in a publicity spat when he grabbed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to snap Hollywood stars Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro at a press conference.
The 2fm DJ defied a PR ban on photos when he interviewed the stars for their new film Grudge Match in London’s Dorchester Hotel, but he insists he has ‘no regrets’.
The DJ told independent.ie that the opportunity to take the snap was too good to miss, and his prized photo is “one for the grandkids”.
“All of the Irish and British journalists were there and I was up first, and I met the publicist. And she said ‘there are two rules: no branding, and strictly no pictures’.”
“Everyone had said to me before I went over, ‘you gotta get the picture’. “
“When we were finished, I was walking out and I’d almost forgotten about it, but I turned around and said to the two boys: ‘by the way, can I get a picture?’”
“Everyone’s guard was down so I just took my chance.”
“The PR lady was standing there barring my way. But Robert De Niro turned around and said ‘you don’t realise that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for this guy.”
“To her dues, the PR woman took the picture, and Stallone got his fist up for the photo.”
By breaking the publicity rules, Paddy fears he won’t be welcome at other film press conferences.
“I met the English publicist on the way out and there was this stony silence, and she just said to me ‘I thought you were one of the nice guys’.”
“I wouldn’t want to get anyone in trouble. This lady told me I couldn’t get a picture but I had to. The boys then proceeded to allow me to take one so I wasn’t going to walk away. It was a gamble worth taking.”
“I’m not going to meet Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone again – I was meeting two of my heroes. It’s one for the grandkids.”
Paddy said he immediately built up a rapport with Robert De Niro.
“He said ‘ah, top of the mornin’ to ya’, and I said to myself ‘you’re Robert De Niro, you can call out any Irish stereotype you like.”
“De Niro was quiet through the interview but he lit up for the Irish question. I asked him about playing a boxer with Irish heritage and wearing the emerald cloak.”
“And when I was leaving he said ‘say hello to the old country’.”
“Stallone did a lot of the talking and they bounced off of each other. They’re definitely buddies which is lovely to see. They’re so warm to each other.”
“They’re two absolute gentlemen. They were so pleasant.”
Leading up to the interview, Paddy told independent.ie he was feeling nervous.
“Even before I met them, I was going in thinking ‘do I call them Robert and Sylvester or Bobby and Sly, or what do I call them?’”
Grudge Match is released on Jan 24.