Kubrick on Spielberg's mind

A select multitude of orgas came out Tuesday evening to contemplate the meaning of mechanical life as Warner Bros. and DreamWorks held the Gotham preem of Steven Spielberg’s “A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” at the Ziegfeld Theatre.

Pre-screening reception in Remi Restaurant’s tented-in atrium featured spirits and rustic mountains of bread, cheese and salami — around which threaded waiters bearing trays of wine and hors d’oeuvres. While guests were a bit disappointed that Spielberg didn’t make the shindig (unconventionally, there was no after-party), the soft-spoken, bespectacled director appeased the crowd at the screening with an introduction to his movie.

“This is a film that Stanley was intending sometime in his life to make,” Spielberg said, invoking his collaboration and discussions with the late Kubrick, whose company is co-credited with the current production. “It’s almost like it was willed to me… I hope I’ve acquitted his vision.”

Many who worked on the film characterized it — true to its subject-matter — as a hybrid creation, a monster of two minds, though distinctly Spielbergian in its optimistic tone.

“There’s no question that Stanley Kubrick may have made a much darker film,” producer Kathleen Kennedy told Daily Variety. “Steven takes a somewhat dark idea and sensibility and makes it very accessible.” “But,” she added, “it’s also a movie that people can come out of and talk about, and I don’t think we have enough of those nowadays.”

“I think the film is definitely an interaction between the two filmmakers,” the cast’s Frances O’Connor agreed. “And I think that makes for a really interesting experience.”

For pic’s lead-mecha Haley Joel Osment, questions of whose sensibilities dominated were less pressing than the challenges of portraying a cyborg — a creature he called “different not only from people, of course, but also from robots of its own class.” “You can’t really do research for this part,” he said. “It’s just imagination on the actor’s part.”

Among other orgas on the scene were the cast’s Jude Law and Sam Robards and guests Casey Affleck, Lauren Bacall, Fairuza Balk, Jordana Brewster, Jessica Capshaw, Kate Capshaw, Jason Cerbone, Chevy Chase, Mark Consuelos, Rosario Dawson, John Edwards, Ethan Hawke, Knick star Mark Jackson, Heidi Klum, Mike Meyers, Jonny Lee Miller, Matthew Modine, Julianne Moore, Esai Morales, Joe Pantoliano, Kimberly Peirce, Regis Philbin, Thekla Reuten, Leon Robinson, Darius Rucker, Peter Saarsgard, Alan Thicke, Aida Turturro, Warner Bros.’ Brad Ball, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Alan Horn and Barry Meyer, Time Warner execs Gerald Levin and Richard Parsons, and DreamWorks execs Marvin Levy and Diana Loomis.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more