Wednesday, November 07, 2007
'Beowulf' battles and Angelina Jolie approval
From CNN Entertainment Producer Douglas Hyde in Los Angeles:

Monday night's red-carpet premiere of "Beowulf" turned out to be interesting for a number of reasons.

"Beowulf," as you might have read, is an animated version of the classic tale that some of us were forced to read in school. And if you think the story was full of histrionics, you should have seen the premiere in L.A.'s Westwood neighborhood. (Watch Angelina Jolie talk about filming "like being in your pajamas together")

First off, the "Beowulf" people went all out. They closed off an entire block. They built a big, rocky, spooky papier-mache edifice that said "Beowulf" and had dry-ice fog swirling around it. It was exactly as the studio desired: very dramatic.

Meanwhile, there was also some drama going on in the penned-in area where the media has set up, waiting for the stars to come by.

At red-carpet events, there's a pecking order to media locations -- first spot goes to "Entertainment Tonight," then "Access Hollywood," and on down the line -- and one of the down-the-line names wasn't happy with their spot. They left in protest. Then another media firm got into an argument with a TV network, siccing security on an employee. The employee wasn't happy: "What goes around, comes around. I won't forget this!" he said.

After that, the stars were almost an anticlimax. Almost.

Ray Winstone arrived first. In reality, Winstone is 50 and, if in decent shape (he's a former boxer), he's not Mr. Olympia. But in the movie, he's a 20-something animated hero with six-pack abs. He told CNN that his wife said that's what he looked like 30 years ago, but he thinks she's just being kind.

And you might be interested in one of Winstone's next films: "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." He said Harrison Ford still has it, and when Ford cracks that whip for the first time, you'll get a chill down your spine.

Then it was on to Crispin Glover, who voices the monster Grendel in the movie. Glover, as you recall, is known for playing George McFly in "Back to the Future" ... and for being rather, uh, eccentric. He arrived with a jacked-up Tiny Tim hairdo, starlet on his arm, and chatted away as we heard all this commotion in the background. The reason for the noise? Brad Pitt and "Beowulf" star Angelina Jolie, of course. They'd arrived, and the media trembled.

After short interviews with Anthony Hopkins and John Malkovich -- the latter acknowledging my greeting with "Hello, Doug from CNN" in that breathless creepy assassin voice from "In the Line of Fire" -- we met Jolie. She couldn't have been nicer. She took one look at my Steve McQueen jacket and exclaimed, "Nice jacket!" Which of course, totally made my week. When one of the world's most beautiful women digs your wardrobe, you must be doing something right.

Look out, ladies: I am now officially Angelina Jolie-approved!

All just another day at the office, of course.

-- Douglas Hyde
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