Ed Westwick joins Natalie Portman, Barbara Walters, Kate Winslet’s hubby Sam Mendes, Jennifer Garner’s BFF Victor Garber and David Hyde Pierce Tuesday for the opening of Jude Law’s Hamlet held at NYC’s Broadhurst Theatre.
Looking dapper in a gray suit, the Gossip Girl star, 22, waves as he plows through the crowd.
“Nooooooooo!” he responds to reporters calling out his name on his way into the venue.
Ed wasn’t always so shy. When I first meet him in October 2007 — one month after Gossip Girl premieres — the recently-relocated Brit is eager to chat as he waits in line for sushi, shrimp and caviar at the Reebok Springs Into Style party held at NYC’s Hotel Gansevoort.
Bonus: He’s joined by then-roommate Chace Crawford, who is dating Carrie Underwood at the time.
As he waits to fill his plate, he says, “There’s good food and drink, and there seems to be a lot of nice people around.”
His then-girlfriend Louise S-h-a-w (he spells it out) is on hand, and he is pleased that he cooked up a full English breakfast for her.
“We had the bacon, the eggs, the sausage, baked beans,” he tells me. “I found an English shop in SoHo, in Greenwich, to get the stuff I needed. It’s a little taste of home.”
How has life changed now that’s he’s on a hit TV show? “I get invited to things like this. I’m occupied with work a lot, but I’m still the same old person.”
He actually wishes to get into gossip columns. “Maybe I’m a boring person,” he says. “We’re working so much, it’s hard to get into trouble.”
Then, I see Ed again in March 2008 for the premiere of John Adams. He laps up the attention from the red carpet brigade.
Who’s the most fun cast member?
“Me. Isn’t that obvious? Me. ‘Cause I’m arrogant.”
He says people are naturally wary of him because of his villainous character, but he likes to win them over.
“I take everybody I meet out to dinner at McDonald’s,” he laughs. “That food is so bad out here — McDonald’s. It’s really not that great.”
A reporter tells him the sundaes are good there.
“Maybe you can take me sometime,” he tells her.
But he admits he has feelings for his co-star Jessica Szohr.
“We get on so well,” he says. “She’s quite a perfect girl. The way it was set up with the main group before, and then she came in a few episodes in, and it was fantastic. It was a blessing to have a friendship and a relationship with someone like her.”
I even have a 1:1 with him that May for his film Son of Rambow. Questions about his partying are deemed off-limits. Funny, he talks about his Breaking and Entering co-star Jude Law, who is the lead in tonight’s play.
“He’s a lovely, charming man,” Ed tells me. “A very kind person and as charismatic off-screen as he is onscreen. He’s a great person, and it was an absolute pleasure to work with him and know him.”
His hobby at the time? Shopping.
“I like strolling around, and I’m into shopping, which is getting more and more expensive. Which is crazy. Vintage things, whether it be t-shirts – I’ve seen lots of funny t-shirts around. Yeah, things like that. Play pool. We’re very busy with the show, so there’s not as much time as you’d like to do other things. There’s so much to do. There’s so much of the City I still haven’t seen.”
He continues, “I remember when I first moved here, I did a lot of things like going to the museums and going to the Met and things like that. I did the whole bus tour as well, which I felt like I had to do. I felt like I had to get my bearings and see the City.”
And, Ed‘s current Gossip Girl girlfriend Jessica, 24, is sweet as pie at Stand Up For A Cure during Fashion Week in September 2008. She expresses interest in dating older men. (Uh-oh – Ed’s younger!)
“Age is nothing but a number, right?” she says.
She continues, “I like Robert Downey Jr. a lot. There’s just something really sexy about him. I got a poster of Iron Man and put it up in my bathroom. My whole bathroom is Hello Kitty, and then I have a poster of Iron Man. My friends are in there, and they’re like ‘What is this? What’s going on?’”
But tonight, Ed wants to be left alone. Jessica is nowhere in sight – likely making a separate entrance, or enjoying a girls’ night on her own. He poses for photos, and goes into the theater.
Let’s hope he enjoyed the performance.
For more on Ed Westwick and Jessica Szohr’s romance, pick up the OK! on newsstands this week. “Kate Plus 8: Stop Wrecking Our Lives!” is the cover line.