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Young moguls, no J.Lo

August 17, 2003|Gina Piccalo | Times Staff Writer

EFRAM POTELLE, swarmed by well-wishers, repeatedly explained his indifference to "Project Greenlight," the unscripted HBO series that has depicted him and Kyle Rankin as the arrogant, manipulative and overbearing co-directors of Miramax Films' "The Battle of Shaker Heights."

"I've heard enough from family and friends that I don't want to see it yet," he said at the film's premiere Monday at Universal Studios CityWalk. Besides, he added, the show "needs to create drama and conflict in order to survive."

Similarly dependent, the media showed up en masse, hungry for the latest morsel in the Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez prenuptial drama. "That's the only reason we're here," one BBC reporter said. Ever since a tabloid reported that Affleck had enjoyed the company of two strippers, celebrity magazines have begun the countdown.

J.Lo was a no-show at the premiere, but Affleck assured reporters that "she wanted to be here." (His publicist cited a scheduling conflict because Lopez is on location in Winnipeg.)

After the screening, inside the clamorous Hard Rock Cafe, the film's star, Shia La Beouf, paraded through the crowd hugging everyone in sight, including co-star Amy Smart. Screenwriter Erica Beeney worked the room, grabbing a hamburger from a server's tray on her way.

One disgruntled crew member complained to a friend. "I can't believe they cut the whole scene where the mom was selling the paintings," he said. "They made such a big deal about it!"

Oblivious to his critic, Potelle stood near the door, letting the relief and elation of the evening wash over him. Producer Chris Moore beamed for the cameras while his partner Affleck huddled upstairs at a discreet table, his back to the action. And the entire scene was documented by "Project Greenlight" film crews.

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