The Scene: The premiere of Warner Bros.' "Heat" at the studio's Steven J. Ross Theater. The film is an action / crime drama that would make even Newt Gingrich think twice about repealing the assault weapons ban. "It's the season of testosterone," said Kevin Pollak. "Guys and guns, boys and toys."
The Venue: Echoing a line of dialogue regarding a "dead-tech, postmodernistic" building, Sacks Productions created free-form sculptures, primary color panels and structural steel art in a 250-foot-long tent adjoining the theater. Any art gallery owner in L.A. would die to have a budget for a party like this.
Who Was There: The film's stars, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro; co-stars Ashley Judd, Tom Sizemore, Mykelti Williamson and Bud Cort; director / writer / producer Michael Mann; producer Art Linson; executive producers Pieter Jan Brugge and Arnon Milchan; plus 500 guests, including Sean Penn, Matthew Perry, Don Rickles and Helen Hunt, David Colden, Jon Amiel, Joel Silver, Lili Fini Zanuck, and studio execs Terry Semel and Bob Daly, who was with Carole Bayer Sager.
Buzz: Too violent for an Oscar, but a dazzling piece of filmmaking. "Not a bad frame in the film," said Brandon Tartikoff, who knows Mann from his "Miami Vice" days. "It's nice to see Michael doing a big-budget action film. It's like he's conducting a full orchestra. Having De Niro and Pacino doing his words is like having the New York Philharmonic."
The Ambience: The sound system in the Ross theater is transcendent. The phrase "state of the art" hardly does it justice. It's not just loud (though it can surely be that). There's a delicate clarity that's stunning. One observer said that if every theater in America was of this quality, movie-going would be up 40%.
Quoted: Pacino usually seems tongue-tied in interviews. But when asked by a Turkish television reporter (yes, crews from Istanbul cover movie premieres) how he prepares for a part, Pacino said: "You get close to people who are like the characters in the movie. Little things you've learned over the years, I guess. They're not coming to mind right now, but they're somewhere."