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Lots of Warmth at 'Big Chill' Reunion

November 04, 1998|MICHAEL QUINTANILLA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

In 1983, director and writer Lawrence Kasdan opened the New York Film Festival with his movie "The Big Chill"--and in his moment of excitement and pride forgot to mention many of the film's cast and crew.

On Monday night, Kasdan--still excited, still proud--made amends at the premiere of the Columbia Pictures re-release, acknowledging everyone, even a camera assistant who told the director and actor Kevin Kline at the time that "in a few years this movie will be another blip."

Fast forward 15 years.

The "blip" is being re-chilled--and in a big way with a release in theaters Friday, and bigger plans for a January home-video launch.

"Making movies is a great gift," Kasdan told the crowd at the Cinerama Dome premiere, followed by a bash at the Palace that featured a set by the current Temptations. "Just know that the people you see in this movie and the people behind the camera were making something special," he said.

For sure, kudos were doled out throughout the night, and just about everyone present had a warm, fuzzy feeling--in a baby boomer sorta way--about the movie with the groovy Motown soundtrack and story about a group of old friends reunited at the funeral of another friend who has committed suicide.

The night's event also became a reunion for cast members Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum, Kevin Kline, Mary Kay Place, Meg Tilly and JoBeth Williams. Fellow cast member William Hurt was shooting a film in New York.

Joining the celebration were the film's editor Carol Littleton, producers Marcia Nasatir and Michael Shamberg, screenwriter Barbara Benedek, as well as other crew members.

Also there were Salma Hayek, Judd Nelson, Scott Bakula, Jennifer Tilly, Samantha Mathis and Barry Sonnenfeld among about 850 guests, many who recalled having seen the movie 15 years ago, and later having "Big Chill" video rental parties.

Meg Tilly said she hadn't seen the film since it first came out. "It was fun to see. It still moved me, still made me laugh and cry," she said.

Mary Kay Place said people often stop her "to talk about how they have a group of friends like the movie's. People connect to that aspect of the film because it's about community and friendship."

Kevin Kline said fans, especially baby boomers, have told him the film is a very personal one because "it's about reframing your perspective for real life after the youthful phase of your life is over, at least chronologically."

Since "The Big Chill," Jeff Goldblum said he has tried to bring the enthusiasm and passion he experienced then to his other films. "It was an empowering, encouraging, lovely experience and one that resulted in lasting friendships."

Ditto for JoBeth Williams.

"We've sort of measured all of our film experiences since then against that, sort of expecting them to be that good. But none have matched up to the friendships we've made, which are very, very strong."

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