Jet Set Jen's Blog: A Week of Movie Premieres
It’s been a week of premieres, premieres, premieres, a sure sign that the summer blockbuster movie season is upon us. I’ll do reviews of all the flicks as they come to theaters, but here’s a wrap-up of what went on this past week in and around Hollywood.
On Friday, May 29, my volleyball pal Consuelo Galvan and I hit the Fox Searchlight “My Life in Ruins” premiere, held on the lot at the 20th Century Fox Studios in Century City, CA. Nia Vardalos stars as Georgia, a Greek-American living in Athens and working as a tour guide; she hit the red carpet looking fine in a purple strapless Nicole Miller gown, hoping that this will be the flick that brings her back some of the glitter that “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” gave her back in 2002.
That classic romantic comedy made her so rich she never really has to work again, of course. It grossed over $240 million in theaters in the USA alone and cost five million to make; you do the math. Her best pal Rita Wilson made the premiere scene, too, looking sweet in a cream satin Dolce & Gabbana strapless cocktail dress, but left husband Tom Hanks at home. Wilson and Hanks produced “Wedding,” so they too made quite a killing on that comedy; that’s one reason that she also produced “My Life in Ruins” (http://www.foxsearchlight.com/mylifeinruins/) and has a cameo in the comedy. And here’s another:
“Should I go and make a movie with Nia in Greece? That one didn’t take a second to decide!” Wilson laughed.
The gals posed and chatted up reporters while partygoers munched on an all-Greek menu, then everyone – including “CSI: NY” star Melina Kanakaredes, actors Dermot Mulroney, Beau Bridges, and Billy Zane – trooped over to the Zanuck Theater to enjoy the film. Most of the assorted characters that ride the tour bus to romance in the movie were on hand, and took to the stage before the screening; everyone from Harland Williams, Rachel Dratch, Ian Oglivy, and Maria Adanez to the breakout star of the flick, Greek hunk Alexis Georgoulis. That film opened Friday, June 5.
Late Saturday afternoon, I headed to Hollywood to meet www.JetSetJen.com contributor Andy Gordon to take in the “Land of the Lost” (http://www.landofthelost.net/) premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theater right in the heart of the beast on Hollywood Boulevard.
Stars Will Ferrell, Anna Friel, Danny McBride, and Jorma Taccone all seemed to be having a blast, both on the red carpet and at the massive after party held in the ballroom atop Hollywood & Highland next door. Anna’s one of our current favorites, so great in ABC’s “Pushing Daisies,” which sadly is no more. She wowed in a Grecian-inspired grey sheath designed by fellow Brit Osman Yousefzada and massive gold necklace created by Lara Bohinc, and brought along that show’s stars Lee Pace (swoon!) and Ellen Greene, who looked terrific in a super-soft animal-print Moschino coat that she stroked and admitted to us that “Anna gave me this for my birthday.”
I need more friends like Anna.
Brooke Shields, Randy Jackson, Michael Strahan, Rufus Sewell, Josh Hutcherson, and Bruce Vilanch turned out for the fun, too, and even Sid and Marty Krofft, the original creators of the Seventies television series that the movie is based on, turned out for the celebration.
More movie madness on Monday, when galpal Erika Schlarmann and I took a ride back to the heart of Hollywood to catch the premiere of “The Proposal” at the El Capitan Theatre (across the street from Grauman’s). That’s the new romantic comedy with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, http://www.myspace.com/proposalmovie, and both were looking sharp as the bright lights flashed, Sandy in an asymmetrical-hemmed Alexander McQueen little black dress, and Ryan in a khaki Dolce & Gabbana suit.
It’s a funny thing about Ryan Reynolds, who is married to Scarlett Johansson. The poor guy has had three movie premieres this year in Hollywood (“Adventureland” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”) and his wife hasn’t shown up for even one of them. To make matters worse, at the premiere of Johansson’s latest, “He’s Just Not That Into You,” back in February, Ryan was there, following her around like a puppy. Sure, she is one of the most beautiful women in the world, so Ryan should keep her happy, but he’s an awfully good-looking guy himself, and deserves a little spousal support, we think.
Sandy Bullock had her man right by her side at the after party at the Roosevelt Hotel, and a big man he is. Jesse James didn’t budge from her all night, almost as much a bodyguard as a husband. She’s the greatest, so glad she found herself a real man.
Earlier, she joked about doing a very funny nude scene in the flick, which opens on June 19.
“Sadly, my first and last nude scene got laughs,” the still-in-top-shape fortysomething chuckled. “I had to be very secure with that. It was all about choreography. I mean, literally when you read it on the page you saw it and then you realized, ‘Okay, there’s no way to shoot this unless you’re buck naked.’ Then I went, ‘Go to the gym. Cut out the carbs.’”
Ryan’s buck naked in that scene, too, and we can tell you, if Scarlett doesn’t want him any more, there are plenty of us that do!
Then it was on to Thursday night’s bash in Westwood celebrating the opening of “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3” (http://www.catchthetrain.com/) on June 12, where the streets of that UCLA town had been transformed into a NYC subway platform. This one was a kind of sad event, despite the presence of stars Denzel Washington, Luis Guzman, Ramon Rodriguez, and Gbenga Akinnagbe and a phalanx of pretties like Kim Kardashian, Amanda Righetti, Aisha Tyler, AnnaLynne McCord, Taraji P. Henson, Melinda Clarke, and Anna Maria Perez de Taglé. For there was one face missing in the well-heeled crowd: John Travolta stayed away, still mourning the loss of his son Jett in an accident last January.
I’d guess it is the first premiere of one of his films that Travolta has ever missed, for he’s always the first to support his work both with interviews beforehand and at the premieres; but this one was just too soon for the bereaved actor.
“John sends his love and thanks to everyone in Hollywood for all the support you’ve given him at this difficult time,” explained “Pelham” producer Todd Black.
And Denzel concurred, saying, “I talked to John [recently.] Needless to say, he’s struggling. He’s struggling. More than talking to him, I listened to him, for about two or three hours. It’s going to take time. What can you say but just be there as a friend? He’s such a sweet, sweet person. Our prayers are with he, his wife, and family.”
Finally, on Friday night, I hit the last premiere of the week with my sometime partner in crime Karl Unkenholz, who was in L. A. for a quick visit. It was back to Hollywood one more time to the Egyptian Theater, where Kathryn Bigelow’s new Iraq war film drew an impressive A-list of supporters.
Look one way, there was Oscar winner James Cameron (Bigelow’s ex-husband), escorting his current wife, actress Suzy Amis. Look another, and spot Oscar winner Charlize Theron, with longtime love Stuart Townsend. And the scoop of the night was watching Drew Barrymore (we sat in her row) canoodling with her on-again, off-again Mac-boytoy Justin Long; sure looked like things are full speed ahead there.
Bigelow’s film is a look at the Iraq war through the eyes of three bomb-disarmament specialists. All three compelling stars, Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, and Brian Geraghty, made the scene, and chatted up teen heartthrob Zac Efron and “Twilight” director Catherine Hardwicke afterwards at the party held on the long patio in front of the theater.
Opening June 26, “The Hurt Locker” (http://www.TheHurtLocker-Movie.com/) is a terrific war movie, but as Bigelow knows, it may be a hard sell to American audiences. So she wants to reassure potential moviegoers that it isn’t like the Iraq-themed films that have come out and bombed at the box office in the last couple of years.
“I think the issue of audiences rejecting films about the Iraq experience is definitely last year’s problem,” she said. “Those films addressed the effect that the war had on the people at home, and audiences didn’t want to see that. ‘The Hurt Locker’ is a real war movie, like ‘Full Metal Jacket’ or ‘Platoon,’ and I think there is always an audience for that kind of film.”
Two romantic comedies, one science-fiction romp, a terrorist subway thriller, and an action-packed war flick. Quite the week; and if it wasn’t obvious to everyone out there, the summer movie season is going great guns right now.
Party scenes by Jenny Peters.
Red carpet photos courtesy Getty Images.