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INTO THE NIGHT / BILL HIGGINS

'Line of Fire' Crowd Parties Without Clint

July 13, 1993|BILL HIGGINS

The Scene: Thursday's world premiere of Castle Rock and Columbia's "In the Line of Fire," starring Clint Eastwood as a tenacious Secret Service agent. The screening was at Mann's Village in Westwood with a party afterward in the theater's lobby. Eastwood might have been in the line of fire, but he wasn't at the premiere; directing duties in Texas kept him away.

Who Was There: Though a premiere without the star is a little like a baptism without the baby (or a Clint Eastwood movie without a wisecrack before blowing away the villain), there was still a good turnout. On hand were co-stars John Malkovich and a seven-months-pregnant Rene Russo; director Wolfgang Petersen; plus 1,500 guests including Billy Crystal, Charlton Heston, Sharon Stone, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Pat Riley, Esther Williams, Cesar Romero, Castle Rock's Liz Glotzer and studio execs Peter Guber, Michael Nathanson and Mark Canton.

The Buzz: The film should be a major hit. Since Columbia's "Last Action Hero" stumbled, this movie better do well or the studio's brass will be looking for Secret Service protection. One executive joked, "This is our ticket out of the line of fire."

Try to Suppress Your Enthusiasm: "Clint isn't here, for one thing," said Malkovich, explaining why he came to the premiere. "So I had to do it. It's part of the job to come to these. It's not the kind of thing I normally do. But I'm here and so be it. I'll get some popcorn and watch the movie."

Chow: A lavish display of desserts.

Quoted: Malkovich, who plays the assassin, on the need for movie villains--"It is rather hard to make drama out of nice people just behaving nicely." Though his performance was the talk of the screening, he said, "I thought I was half as good as the guy in 'Dirty Harry.' "

Tagline: "We wanted to make the quintessential American movie," said Castle Rock partner Martin Shafer. "So we got a German director, a British editor, an Italian composer and used Japanese money."

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