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Suspense, Drama--Both On, Off Screen

January 17, 1994|BETTY GOODWIN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

After a few weeks' lull since the Christmas onslaught, the fund-raising machinery went into high gear Friday for the first mid-winter, red-carpet movie premiere.

Almost 700 people, from ICM's Jeff Berg to Maria Shriver (sans Arnold), trooped out to be the first to see "Intersection"--"a beautiful movie about relationships," as premiere committee chairwoman Mimi Meltzer put it.

The crowd filled two theaters on the Paramount lot and raised about $400,000 for the Women's Guild of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, which will direct the money to a Hospice Program, AIDS and Immune Disorders Center and to a new women's health care project. Although the movie's lead, Richard Gere, didn't make the premiere, Sharon Stone did, arriving with a whoosh of excitement, her beau Bill MacDonald and her family from West Springfield, Pa.

"I'm more proud of this than anything I've ever done. I think it's beautiful and profoundly moving," enthused Stone, who was dressed in black--as was virtually every other woman there--from her lace-up satin boots to her short velvet Valentino suit.

To organizers, all the on-screen drama--a married man's inability to give up a non-working marriage for a better relationship--might have seemed tame compared to the behind-the-scenes sturm und drang putting the premiere in place.

"Intersection" was scheduled for a December release and benefit, but the studio kept postponing and the Women's Guild "panicked," admitted president Beverly Firestein.

"We stayed in touch and they kept saying, 'We don't know, we don't know,' " she said of the elusive release date. "I got a little uptight sometimes, but I had faith it would happen."

While the film elicited mixed audience reviews, many thought it touched on a needed theme. "I loved this movie--it's such a woman's picture," Colleen Camp Goldwyn told "Intersection" director Mark Rydell.

"If women find it, it'll play a very long time," predicted producer Leonard Goldberg. "People want to believe that someday my true love will come."

"I think a whole lot of men should see this movie and quit the games," opined co-star Lolita Davidovich. "I think men play games more than women."

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