The Scene: The smart people seemed to know that the action was in Westwood on Tuesday night for the premiere of Miramax's "Good Will Hunting," which filled the Mann's Bruin and overflowed into Mann's Plaza. This coming-of-age story about a juvenile delinquent with the IQ of an Einstein is directed by Gus Van Sant and stars Matt Damon, Ben Affleck (the two stars also wrote the script), Minnie Driver and Robin Williams. The event also served as a benefit for the American Film Institute. Afterward, there was a party at the nearby Westwood Brewing Co.
Who Was There: Although Williams was absent, there was more than enough star power--much of it, the young, hip variety--to compensate. Van Sant attended, along with Damon, Affleck and Driver. Among those who joined them were Dustin Hoffman, Jennifer Aniston, Adam Arkin, Jacqueline Bisset, Claire Danes, Julie Delpy, Matthew McConaughey, Samantha Mathis, Courteney Cox, Jared Leto, "Scream" director Wes Craven and singers Anthony Kiedis and Alanis Morissette.
Moment of Truth: "In Hollywood, people write screenplays because they want to make movies, not because they have something to say," said producer Lawrence Bender during the pre-screening speechifying that is the hallmark of any benefit. Of course, he went on to add that Damon and Affleck really had something to say and that it touched all of us.
I Can't Hear You, Your Clothes Are Too Loud: Van Sant was the evening's sartorial standout. As a man of few words, he let his amazing furry Technicolor dreamcoat speak volumes. When asked where he found such an, er, unusual item, the director replied, "Uh, in a store . . . in Portland."
On Acting Smart: "I think the most challenging aspect was not being able to improvise much because I was supposed to be so smart that I should have a witty retort for any comment and those would take time to plan out," Damon said. "I had to stick to the script a lot. Essentially because I'm not sharp enough."
Smart Aleck: "We figured it would be kind of a nice irony if the true genius played the guy who had normal intelligence and the real dullard played the genius," Affleck said. "That's more of an acting challenge. I had to dumb myself down. Matt had to make himself seem more intelligent."
Money Matters: Tickets were $250 apiece. More than $100,000 was collected for AFI.