Life - Entertain

Amber Tamblyn Rallies Her Troops to the Red Carpet

The actress, poet and new director celebrates her film “Paint It Black” with family and a sisterhood of famous friends.

Amber Tamblyn at the after-party for “Paint It Black,” which she directed, at Fishbowl, a bar at the Dream Midtown hotel. Krista Schlueter for The New York Times

The actress and poet Amber Tamblyn has just added “director” to her résumé, with the new indie film “Paint It Black,” which opened on Friday. Still, there’s multitasking and there’s multitasking.

“I’m going to sneak out in the middle of the movie tonight to go pump,” she said at home on Monday night before the film’s New York premiere at the Museum of Modern Art, shoving lactation supplies into her bag. “Modern woman!”

Veterans of “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” from left: America Ferrera, Ms. Tamblyn, Blake Lively and Alexis Bledel, at the after-party. Krista Schlueter for The New York Times

Three months ago, Ms. Tamblyn and her husband, the “Arrested Development” actor David Cross, had their first child, Marlow. She was born seven days after the couple moved into a Brooklyn townhouse, where Ms. Tamblyn was getting ready for the film’s big night.

Breast pump: check. Stella McCartney pantsuit: check.

The hard part was rallying the troops. Upstairs, watching CNN, was her father, Russ Tamblyn, the veteran actor and dancer who played Riff in the 1961 film “West Side Story” and who is reprising his role as Dr. Lawrence Jacoby in the reboot of “Twin Peaks.” Downstairs was her mother, Bonnie Tamblyn. They had both flown in from Santa Monica, Calif., for the premiere.

There was cake, as Ms. Tamblyn had turned 34 the day before the New York premiere of “Paint It Black.” Krista Schlueter for The New York Times

“I was in the movie, but she cut me out,” Mr. Tamblyn said.

When Amber was 10, he recalled, she played Pippi Longstocking in a school play. He brought along his agent, who was so impressed that he started sending her on casting calls.

Mr. Cross came back from walking their dog, Ollie, then changed into a gray sweater to match his mountain-man beard. “All right, kids, let’s walk,” Ms. Tamblyn said. She was due on the red carpet by 7, and her father was insisting on taking the subway.

The comedian David Cross and Ms. Tamblyn, who are married, have an infant daughter. Krista Schlueter for The New York Times

As if a newborn and a new film weren’t enough, Ms. Tamblyn is starring in the Off Broadway play “Can You Forgive Her?” She usually hates red carpets, she said on the C train, but there is less pressure as a director. “It’s like my baby,” she said. “My other baby.”

The film, about a party girl who feuds with her dead boyfriend’s mother, is based on a novel by Janet Fitch, which Amy Poehler recommended to Ms. Tamblyn 10 years ago. “It was a constant uphill battle all the way up to shooting it,” she said. “I understand who I am now in a larger way. I never really felt like I knew who I was as an actress.”

Mr. Cross joined her at the subway pole. They met at an awards show, they explained, then crossed paths again when Ms. Tamblyn was shooting a film in the East Village, where he was living.

“I gave my number to the P.A.s and said, ‘If she’s looking to find out anything about New York, she can give me a call,’” he said. She never called, but about a year later they saw each other on a plane to Shreveport, La., where she was shooting “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” and he was doing “Year One.” They wound up at a bar where it was swingers’ night.

From left, Alia Shawkat, Jenna Lyons, Abbi Jacobson and Amy Poehler were among those who took to the dance floor. Krista Schlueter for The New York Times

“We were like, ‘These people are so friendly and nice!’” Ms. Tamblyn said.

Their subway pulled into Rockefeller Center around 6:45. Ms. Tamblyn had a friend waiting outside Radio City Music Hall with jewelry. “Curbside delivery!” Ms. Tamblyn said, choosing a bracelet from one of the zippered plastic bags that an antique-jewelry purveyor named Carrie Imberman pulled from her coat pocket, as if doing a drug deal.

Ms. Imberman eyed Mr. Cross and deadpanned, “You’re wearing your fancy sweater.”

Arriving at MoMA just in time, Ms. Tamblyn hurried onto the red carpet, posing with her friend Amy Schumer and the film’s stars, Alia Shawkat and Janet McTeer. After the screening, more famous friends joined her for a party at Fishbowl, the arcade-themed bar downstairs at the Dream Midtown hotel.

Sandra Bernhard and Steve Buscemi caught up by an aquarium, while the comedians Jon Benjamin and Jon Glaser (collectively, the Fuggedabuddies) sat at a table made from a pinball machine. Blake Lively spotted Mr. Cross by the Skee-Ball lanes. “It’s a good way to break the ice,” she said, as he started bowling.

Ms. Tamblyn downed a crunchy rice ball and circled the room, dispensing hugs. Toward the back, she found Ms. Lively, Alexis Bledel and America Ferrera, her co-stars from “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.” Someone brought over a birthday cake (Ms. Tamblyn had turned 34 the day before), and the sisterhood sang as photographers snapped wildly.

The D.J. cranked up the music, and Ms. Tamblyn hopped on the dance floor, where friends, including Ms. Poehler, Abbi Jacobson (“Broad City”) and Jenna Lyons, were letting loose to “Thriller.” Even Mr. Buscemi joined in, like the weird uncle at a hipster-comedian wedding.

“I’ve been going since 7 in the morning,” Ms. Tamblyn said, exhausted and elated. It was nearing midnight. She was planning to pump again on the cab ride home.

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