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RSVP / INTO THE NIGHT

If You Give a Party, They Will Come

June 27, 1996|MARK EHRMAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Scene: The invasion came as scheduled Tuesday night and there was no stopping it. Westwood Village lay helpless as thousands came to be part of the much-anticipated premiere of "Independence Day," the special-effects-heavy thriller about an alien invasion of Earth, starring Will Smith, Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldblum. Officially, the premiere was held at the Mann Village Theater, where a crowd gathered behind barricades hoping to get a close encounter with the galaxy of celebs, but nearly every theater in the area was pressed into service to handle the overflow. Afterward, the throng shuttled over to the UCLA campus for a giant outdoor reception.

Who Was There: More than 2,000 people came to be part of the fun. Familiar faces included the film's stars, Smith, Pullman, Goldblum, Mary McDonnell, Robert Loggia, Randy Quaid, Vivica Fox and Harvey Fierstein. Also present were Sandra Bernhard, Christie Brinkley, Billy Crystal, Bill Paxton, Martin Landau, Jada Pinkett, Sharon Stone, Courtney Thorne-Smith, alien-encounter veteran Sigourney Weaver, Robin Williams and many others.

Holy Chow! What a feast. Scattered throughout the quad were buffet tables serving up comestibles from around the planet. There was everything from West Indies slow-cooked beef with black beans and onion salsa to grilled peppered ahi tuna with bok choy and ponzu sauce, not to mention a beer selection that was truly global. It took three caterers--Patina, Eclipse and La Cuisine--to satiate the appetites of the party-goers.

The Buzz: Response to the film was somewhat lackluster. The most oft-overheard comment was, "It was a lot like 'Twister.' "

The "Are We Alone?" Poll: Sentiments among the VIPs ran about 3 to 1 against there being any life forms in the universe other than those already featured in National Geographic. "I believe in heaven and Earth and that's it," said Vivica Fox, who plays the girlfriend of alien-fighter Will Smith. "I don't want nothing flying here and coming knocking on my door." No one present copped to having an extraterrestrial encounter, although, quipped supporting actor Fierstein, one of the believing minority, "I've met a couple of movie producers that I think were not human, but I couldn't swear they were aliens."

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