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RSVP : 'Desperado' Premiere Blows Away 'Tudes

August 23, 1995|HILLARY JOHNSON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Almost everyone at the premiere of Robert Rodriguez's "Desperado" Monday night seemed to be walking around the party at the Gardens in Westwood in a state of bliss. Either it was the margaritas, or it was the cathartic experience of having just seen Antonio Banderas wreak stylish revenge on every bad guy in the universe while making love to Salma Hayek.

Guests at the premiere and the party thrown by Hugo Boss included stars Banderas, Hayek, Carlos Gomez, Cheech Marin and Quentin Tarantino, as well as Melanie Griffith, George Clooney, Maria Conchita Alonzo, Eriq LaSalle, Patrick Stewart, Janine Turner and Noah Wyle.

Any and all Rodriguez alumni present seemed to still be on an endorphin high from having worked on "Desperado" or on his next film, "Dusk 'til Dawn," which finished shooting just the day before.

"Everyone had so much fun," said Rodriguez's wife and co-producer, Elizabeth Avellan. "Harvey Keitel said it was the most fun he'd ever had on a movie--actually, I felt kind of sad for him, because he's made so many."

That what's wrong with this Hollywood scene: Not only was everyone at the party really, really happy, they were also really, really nice. Rodriguez seems to have invented no-budget, no-ego filmmaking. How strange. Could it become a trend? Let's hope so.

George Clooney, "Dusk 'til Dawn's" star, said of Rodriguez, "He's the best director I've ever worked with. I haven't seen anybody change filmmaking in a long time, really shake it up, and that's what he does. He revels in the process."

In a red Gregory Parkinson gown and jewels from Harry Winston, Hayek looked every inch a movie star, and possibly the most beautiful woman in Los Angeles. Still, it's disheartening to learn that even she can't get a date in this town. "I don't understand it at all," Hayek said, looking genuinely annoyed. "L.A. men have to do something about this."

Banderas, who sings as well as he shoots, was ensconced in a booth with girlfriend Griffith. When the strolling mariachis passed by, he joined them for a number, perhaps practicing for the upcoming film, "Evita."

It may not be entirely possible to explain the effect "Desperado" has on females in the audience, but Banderas came close. "The source of the whole character for me was my body," Banderas said. "I was trying to do the whole thing very much like a dancer, rather than an actor, rescuing things from the Spanish style. The character moves more like a flamenco dancer, or a bullfighter. It gives him a certain elegance in the way he moves, and I think girls catch that."

They do.

"Girls think this is a girl's movie and guys think this is a guy's movie," Hayek explained.

For his part, Rodriguez is keeping busy. He is, by all accounts, under-billed as merely the writer/director/producer/editor on "Desperado." What's he doing next? "I just finished shooting "Dusk 'til Dawn" yesterday, so tomorrow I've got to go to Mexico to shoot a couple of second unit things for that, then I fly to New York to promote this and my book--my book comes out this week, called 'Rebel Without a Crew,' on how to make a movie on no money."

He forgot to mention that he and Avellan's first child is due Sept. 12, but according to Avellan, he's already cast the baby in a speaking role.

"He said, 'I'm going to put him to work right away.' And I said 'how?' And he said 'I'm going to take all his cries and all his gurgles and his burps, and I'm going to distort them, and they'll be the monster sounds.'

"He has a wild mind!"

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