For Stephen Hunter, a Turning of the Tables (and Cameras)

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Thursday, October 5, 2006

All you folks skulking around the downtown set of "Shooter" yesterday, trying to ID the actor filming the scene in the back of the limo -- was it Mark Wahlberg (who charmed waitstaff Tuesday at the Palm)? Co-star Danny Glover ? Nope, none other than our film-critic colleague Stephen Hunter .

"I could see people trying to see who the movie star is," he told us, "and being disappointed."

Hunter , whose 1993 thriller "Point of Impact" inspired the movie, was supposed to be an extra. Instead, director Antoine Fuqua plucked him from the crowd and gave him a not-insubstantial speaking role when the real actor failed to show.

It helped that Hunter came wearing a classic Washington power suit and thus looked just right yakking on a cellphone in the back of that limo, which was packed with camera guys and gear and towed around to get the Capitol as a backdrop. Hunter was given several pages of cryptic dialogue -- having to do with an archbishop's murder, multinationals exploiting African oil reserves, special-ops cowboys, blah blah blah -- but was encouraged to improvise.

"Right toward the end," he told us, "I did ask the director a key question: 'Who am I?' " Best he could figure, some sort of shadow-government power-player.

Will he get an Oscar to go next to that Pulitzer of his (for criticism, 2003)? "Most of the acting," he said, "was done by the suit."

Daddy's Diplomatic Excuse

Poor Poppy ! Former president George H.W. Bush had every intention of getting to his daughter's book party Tuesday night -- after all, Doro Bush Koch 's "My Father, My President" is about, well, him. But he had a prior commitment -- the German Embassy's 16th anniversary of East-West reunification, where he and former chancellor Helmut Kohl spoke to some 2,500 guests washing down yummy Schnudendunker with yummy Riesling -- and the crush of people and traffic and security on Foxhall Road made party-hopping impossible. So Doro was kept company at 701 restaurant downtown with a crowd that included Laura Bush , Josh Bolten , and former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft (who was also supposed to go to the German Embassy but couldn't wait out the stupendously long lines). And daughter and dad met up to tape an episode of "Larry King Live," airing tonight.

Lil' Kim's Kid Rap

So what was rapper Lil' Kim , just three months out of prison, doing at a wonky D.C. summit on "at-risk youth" with the likes of John Kerry and Princess Dalal Al-Saud ? Well, Lil' Kim knows from at-risk youth, as she regaled the dinner crowd in the closing hours of the "Children Uniting Nations" event at the Ronald Reagan Building.

"A lot of time we all make bad choices," she said, a coy reference to that stint for perjury. "But it's that experience that helps you make the right choice the next time."

Gone were the pasties and the porn-star makeup; the 32-year-old showed up in a black pantsuit and straight chestnut hair, ready to talk about How to Help the Kids. Even as she told her sad story about her parents' split and the loser guys who filled the void, the old sauciness peeked through: "I moved to my dad's beause I felt like I could get away with more, heh heh heh . . . yeah!"

Kim gave a shout-out for youth mentoring, proudly describing the teenage girl she said she's volunteering with. "I was so honored, even through my adversities, she still looks up to me."

The Ballad of Bobblehead Bob

Bob Schieffer at the Spina Bifida gala
Bob Schieffer, goin' country at Tuesday's roast.(Roxanne Roberts - The Washington Post)
CBS anchor Bob Schieffer endured jokes about his age, his Texas roots and his successor, Katie Couric , at Tuesday's Spina Bifida roast at the J.W. Marriott hosted by Al Hunt and Judy Woodruff . "He's the first man on either side of the family to become a bobblehead," said brother Tom (also known as the ambassador to Japan). The 69-year-old newsmaker upstaged all his roasters ( Don Imus, Tom Daschle, Mark Shields, Tony Snow, Alan Greenspan ) with a corny country ditty about life as a teevee anchorman: "They wrote some lines and taught me a style, put a happy face on the script where I should smile, And the key demographics went right off the chart." Can't sing a lick, but got a standing ovation anyway. Keep the day job, Bob.

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