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Creatures of the Night : Stars Prey on the Lavish Luxury of 'Vampire' Premiere


The Scene: Wednesday's world premiere of Warner Bros.' "Interview With the Vampire" at the Village and Bruin theaters in Westwood. It was an extravagant klieg-lit scene. Two streets were blocked off, 30 TV crews and about 100 paparazzi were on hand and the LAPD estimated there were 2,000 screaming fans. One East Coast magazine editor said, "It looks exactly like what you'd think a Hollywood premiere would look like." Only more so.

The Setting: If Marie Antoinette had produced movies, this is the kind of premiere party she'd have had. Set on a nearby parking structure's roof was a 75,000-square-foot burgundy tent done in late 18th-Century New Orleans-French style. The overriding theme was opulence. A dozen chandeliers hung from the tent's roof and dozens of white-wigged servers dressed like George and Martha Washington on their wedding day presented Cajun cuisine. A 21-piece orchestra, also in period costume, played Mozart and Handel. Eight couples did minuets. Out back was a "graveyard" where a zydeco band played. "I've never had so much fun in a parking lot," said Ellen DeGeneres.

Who Was There: The film's stars, Tom Cruise with wife Nicole Kidman (who wore blood-red nails for the occasion--"My ode to the vampire," she said), Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas, Stephen Rea, Christian Slater and Kirsten Dunst; director Neil Jordan, producers Stephen Woolley and David Geffen (who called his film "the 'Lawrence of Arabia' of vampire movies") plus 1,200 guests including Jodie Foster, Roseanne, Debra Winger, Rita Wilson, Steven Seagal, Queen Latifah, Mike Ovitz, Barbara Davis, Jim Carrey, Herb Ritts, Candice Bergen, Sugar Ray Leonard and studio execs Bob Daly, Terry Semel and Rob Friedman.

Quoted: "I think vampires are very sexy creatures," said Cruise. "And I think the idea of being lower on the food chain than someone else is a very terrifying idea."

The Hollywood Experience: Spanish film star Banderas on coming to the "Interview" opening: "I was working last night in Texas. We finish a movie there. We had a wrap party. I couldn't sleep. I got on a plane this morning. I got here. Someone put this suit of Hugo Boss on me and I went to the premiere. I didn't see the movie before so it was kind of 'Wow!' 'Amazing!' No, I am very happy."

Best Compliment: One woman said, "I just want to sleep in Antonio Banderas' coffin. Now that's a vampire."

Tag Line: "I'm not afraid of vampires," said a guest. "It's Hollywood that scares me."

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