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Some Left With Egos Intact


The Scene: Actors turned out en masse for Thursday's premiere of "The Crossing Guard," a movie written and directed by Sean Penn and reuniting Anjelica Huston and Jack Nicholson as on-screen exes. The evening, a benefit for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles and Young Life Los Angeles West, took place at Mann's National Theater in Westwood followed by a bone-crushing party at Monty's.

Who Was There: In addition to Penn, Huston with husband Robert Graham, Nicholson, Miramax Films' Harvey Weinstein and co-star David Morse, were guests Lyle Lovett, Sharon Stone, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Christopher Walken, Dabney Coleman, Jackson Browne, Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman, Charles Bronson, Timothy Dalton, Elizabeth McGovern, Amy Irving, Sally Kellerman, Claire Danes, Sharon Lawrence and Cathy Moriarty.

Quoted: "This looks a lot like one of Penny Marshall's parties," Penn observed at the screening, apparently referring to the star turnout.

You Should Know: Penn clearly isn't the only actor with a desire to be behind the camera. "I think it crosses all actors' minds," offered Peter Falk, who directed a few episodes of "Columbo." "I've had the urge," said Michael Keaton, adding, "Generally speaking, I think actors make great directors--Robert Redford, Sean. I predict Tom Hanks' movie will be terrific."

The Buzz: There was much praise for Nicholson's emotionally exposed performance. "It's nice to see Nicholson pushing it again," said one observer. "I think Jack will be nominated," said Dani Janssen. "His vulnerability showed more in this film than any other." Nicholson himself said, "Nothing's my usual kind of role. I wanted to work with Sean and the wonderful script he wrote."

Seating Guard: Instead of the typical, roped-off reserved area in the theater for the movie's principals, their associates and friends, a large portion of the seats were designated with name tags. The result was a sometimes ego-crushing (especially if you didn't have a seat tag) plan that dragged on for 40 minutes, requiring seating guards to direct people to their correct spot; it made no-shows rather striking. As for the seven seats labeled "Brando," they were occupied by Elliot Gould and people Gould identified as Marlon Brando's family.

Style Check: In a crowd of her black-clad colleagues, Huston made a definitive fashion statement in her lean, knee-length white suit.

Chow: Since Monty's is a steakhouse, what else would there be but meat (top sirloin) and potatoes (baked)? Plus cheese toast, Caesar salad, roast turkey for the obvious reason and ethnic hors d'oeuvres.

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