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‘Bicentennial’ boots up

High-tech role a challenge for Williams

Just in time for Christmas, Touchstone Pictures preemed a movie with a moral Monday night at the El Capitan.

“Bicentennial Man” director Chris Columbus said the futuristic movie works because it says “as a society we should have respect for the past.”

Pic’s star Robin Williams said the lessons he learned were about “humanity in the face of technology.”

He also had to learn how to be an actor in a rather restrictive robotic suit. The first couple of days were painful, he admitted: “There were heat problems and movement problems.”

And when the suit was removed, “blood spurted from my hand,” he enthused dramatically.

Robot creator Steve Johnson categorically denied any bloodshed, though he said it was “a race to get it done” in time for filming.

Among the nonrobots at the preem and after-party next door were pic’s Embeth Davidtz, Hallie Kate Eisenberg, Kiersten Warren, Wendy Crewson, Stephen Root and Lindze Letherman; producers Michael Barnathan, Mark Radcliffe, Gail Katz and Neal Miller; scribe Nicholas Kazan; Disney’s Joe Roth, Rob Moore and Dick Cook; and guests Ed Begley Jr., Ben Chaplin, Billy Crystal, Eric Idle, Christopher McDonald, Haley Joel Osment and Jon Voight.

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