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Opening Night

A Case of Two Brockoviches


There were two Erin Brockoviches at the premiere of director Steven Soderbergh's legal drama "Erin Brockovich": megastar Julia Roberts, who plays the feisty law office clerk-researcher in the movie, and the real Brockovich (now Erin Brockovich-Ellis).

In fact, the duo that most industry guests wanted their photo taken with Tuesday night was not Roberts and her beau, Benjamin Bratt, or It-couple Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt; it was the statuesque Brockovich-Ellis and her boss, lawyer Ed Masry.

"For the whole first hour [of the movie] I was just shaking," Brockovich-Ellis said in between photo ops at the after-party in Westwood, held in a tented parking lot across the street from the Mann Village theater. "I'm only now beginning to recover; it's hard to explain how weird it is to watch a movie about yourself."

Brockovich-Ellis also drew the most raves for her outfit, a slinky black evening gown with revealing cutouts. "Wow, she could give Jennifer Lopez a run for her money," said one admiring (and slack-jawed) guest.

Roberts shimmied through the crowd greeting "Erin" co-stars Aaron Eckhart, Albert Finney and Marg Helgenberger, director Soderbergh--natty in a sleek black suit and trademark Elvis Costello-like glasses--as well as friends such as Joe Roth.

Danny DeVito, whose Jersey Films produced "Erin" (which was co-financed by Universal and Columbia Pictures), headed the party's liveliest table with other Jersey-ites Carla Santos Shamberg, Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher. Also on hand were Oscar nominee Denzel Washington and actor Peter Gallagher (from Soderbergh's "sex, lies, and videotape").

In keeping with the unpretentious style of the movie's heroine, the menu included hot dogs, burgers, 'slaw, pizza and margaritas.

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