Maybe They'd Seen It All Before


The Scene: It must have been dizzying for the throngs of celebrities and industry VIPs who descended on Mann's Chinese Theatre on Thursday night to watch art imitate life imitate art imitate life and so on. The occasion was the premiere of "Get Shorty." The movie, starring John Travolta, Rene Russo and Danny DeVito, is adapted from an Elmore Leonard novel about a gangster who comes to Hollywood to collect a gambling debt and ends up trying make his own story into a movie. The hall-of-mirrors experience continued after the screening with a bash across the street at the Hollywood Colonnade, which was decorated with many props and set pieces from the film.

Who Was There: Among the 1,400 or so guests were cast members Travolta, DeVito (who doubled as producer), Dennis Farina, and Delroy Lindo; Leonard; director Barry Sonnenfeld, and co-producers Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher. Other celebs spotted were Jim Carrey, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kelly Preston, Rhea Perlman, Kirstie Alley and Parker Stevenson, Ben Stiller, Tia Carrere, Meg and Jennifer Tilly, Maria Conchita Alonso, Martin Landau, Kathy Najimy, John Hurt, Andie MacDowell and Christian Slater.

Entertainment, Chow and Freebies: Never a dull or hungry moment as waiters cruised this quad-level party with goat cheese hors d'oeuvres, chicken taquitos and chocolate-dipped strawberries. There were also buffet tables stacked with lamb chops, beef, asparagus and salad, and a dessert-laden "sweet station" in the ballroom; paella of chicken, sausage and shrimp, plus black beans, ceviche with shrimp and scallops, and fresh fruit in the "Jungle Room," and a pasta and chili bar upstairs in the "Las Vegas Room." Music was provided by the bands Jump With Joey and Ollywood. All guests were issued shamelessly promotional material courtesy of Oldsmobile, whose vehicle figures prominently in the film, as well as on a paperback copy of the novel and black "Get Shorty" T-shirts. And finally, everyone got a $100 casino chip that could be redeemed for a raffle ticket or gambled upstairs for more tickets. The lucky winner took home the leather coat Travolta wore in the film.

Most Ubiquitous Men's Accessory: Cigars were so prevalent that you'd think they were given out as well. But no, everyone seemed to have brought their own--DeVito, Travolta and Sonnenfeld were all seen with stogies. "A good cigar gets you incredibly high," Sonnenfeld said. "So when you're directing, if you drink a martini, the studio would think you were irresponsible. If you smoke a cigar, you get equally high but the studio just thinks you're a jerk."

Reality Check: How many parts of this movie about a movie rang true to people who make movies? "There's a few," Travolta said. "Actors don't ever order off the menu. People pretend they've read scripts and they haven't. Actors never know their home numbers. And everyone in Hollywood wants to produce or direct." Of these, he copped to going off the menu and not knowing his home phone or address. Supporting actor Farina, however, said, "I'm thankful they have a menu because I wouldn't know what to order. I don't want to produce and I don't want to direct and I've always read the script first and then wanted to change it."

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