You don't have to follow French politics to know how David Martinon came to be the consul general in Los Angeles, though it helps. Something of a wunderkind as the young spokesman for President Nicolas Sarkozy, he had a falling out with his political mentor and got the Los Angeles post as a consolation prize in 2008. The job comes with plenty of entree to Hollywood and an official residence in Beverly Hills where Martinon and his staff entertain producers, directors, journalists, bloggers and assorted hangers-on. He has shown up at Scott Kaufer's monthly right-leaning media gatherings at Yamashiro, and is positioned by Laurie Pike in the March issue of Los Angeles as the representative of France who will have to deal with the Roman Polanski situation should the director ever make it back to L.A.
The writers of Hitch, Gran Torino, and Shakespeare in Love take turns saying thanks, then line up for a buffet lunch. Martinon sits among them at a poolside table on the lawn of the Residence of France, a cream-colored house that is understated compared to its McMansion neighbors in the flats. He is 38, and his wavy brown hair is going gray. In sunglasses and a dark suit, he looks like a young Bobby Kennedy cast in Men in Black. He apologizes for the shades, adding that he has spent a sleepless weekend on the phone with government ministers in Paris discussing Roman Polanski’s fight against extradition to the United States. When Polanski was arrested, Martinon says, the filmmaker’s lawyer called right away. “I knew before everyone.”
Speaking of: There's a dinner this evening at the British residence in Hancock Park for Dominick Chilcott, who is visiting from Washington where he is deputy head of mission at the British embassy.
Photo: Gregg Segal / Los Angeles magazine