Harlan Coben Expresses Solidarity With Writers Guild of America at Premiere of ‘Shelter’ at Monte-Carlo Television FestivalJune 16, 2023
Best-selling novelist and showrunner Harlan Coben kicked off the 62nd edition of the Monte-Carlo Television Festival Friday with an expression of solidarity with the striking members of the Writers Guild of America, of which he is a member.
Coben, the co-showrunner and executive producer of Prime Video series “Harlan Coben’s Shelter,” which opened the festival with the world premiere of its first episode, said he wouldn’t be taking part in the promotion of the show at the festival to demonstrate his support for the strike.
Standing on stage alongside Monaco’s Prince Albert II, the festival’s honorary president, Coben said: “I am just going to say I am supporting the Writers Guild of America, my union, that is striking right now, so I am not going to participate in any of the question and answers, and none of the media – I’m just here for the prince, and will introduce you to the wonderful cast who will take over for you.”
Earlier, after Prince Albert presented Coben with a honorary diploma for his “outstanding contribution to global literature, arts and entertainment,” the novelist shared an “embarrassing story” from his college days.
Coben, whose books have sold more than 80 million copies and have been published in 45 languages, said that when was 18 years old and first went to Amherst College – “I was a freshman, I was scared, and I didn’t know anybody” – a friend introduced him to a friend of his named “Alby,” who was a senior.
“Alby was the nicest guy. He was a senior and he still treated me so kindly – it was really quite a surprise,” Coben said. “And he lived on campus. He was just a normal guy. He always wore a green sweat suit.”
Every time he saw him on campus, Coben would greet him with “Hey Alby!,” but then, two months later, another friend said: “What did you call him? His name isn’t Alby. It is Prince Albert II of Monaco.”
Addressing Prince Albert on stage at the festival, Coben said: “There were other high-profile people who had fancy houses, but you had one of the worst dorms on campus, a terrible black-and-white TV … and it was just a wonderful experience of how kind this man was. So, I just wanted to say thank you to your highness, and … ‘Hey Alby!’” The anecdote was greeted with warm applause and laughter by the Prince’s loyal subjects.
Coben was joined at the premiere by “Shelter’s” lead actors, Jaden Michael, Constance Zimmer, Adrian Greensmith and Abby Corrigan, its executive producer and director Edward Ornelas, and Rola Bauer, head of pan-English scripted TV at Amazon Studios, who initiated and steered the project.
At the start of the ceremony, the juries for this year’s Golden Nymph Awards were introduced on stage, including Hollywood star John Goodman as president of the fiction jury, and Emmy and Peabody award-winning documentarian Tom Jennings as president of the news and documentaries jury.
The International Golden Nymph for Most Promising Talent was presented to French actor Julia de Nunez, who recently played Brigitte Bardot in “Bardot.”
In his speech, Prince Albert said: “This year is particularly special for me, for my family and for the people of Monaco, as 2023 marks the centenary celebration of the birth of my father, Prince Rainier III. My father was among the first to recognize the incredible capacity and power of television to entertain, inform and educate people throughout the world. By creating the Monte-Carlo Television Festival in 1961, he pledged to honor the outstanding women and men who build cultural bridges between countries throughout the world.”
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