NEW YORK — Disney’s world preem of “Sweet Home Alabama” on Monday was a lesson in down-home hospitality, albeit with an urban twist. Besides the usual complimentary concessions, Disney thoughtfully provided transport for the post-party commute — buses actually outnumbered the distance in city blocks.
Co-stars Patrick Dempsey, Candice Bergen, Mary Kay Place and Melanie Lynskey made the trip to the party at the nearby Altman Building. Its decor and cuisine, like pic’s protagonist, straddled the Mason-Dixon line. Tiffany boxes were scattered around the room, while waiters served iced tea and lemonade in jars.
Reese Witherspoon held court in the center of it all. “She’s definitely very driven,” said Josh Lucas of his co-star, who also moonlights as a type-A producer.
“She’s a type A, but compared to (mega-flop) ‘Anna and the King,’ (shooting ‘Sweet Home Alabama’) was a dinner party,” said helmer Andy Tennant.
Witherspoon, whose face is the dominant element in the pic’s market-ing, ‘fessed up to feeling somewhat daunted by the task of toplining.
“I ain’t going to lie,” said the thesp, whose price on “Legally Blonde 2” recently hit $15 million. “I feel a lot of pressure, but the truth is, I’m really happy with my family. And if it all went away tomorrow, it’d all be fine.”
Among those paying homage to the ascendant star: “Sweet Home” scribe C. Jay Cox, exec producers Jon Jashni and Wink Mordaunt, Walt Disney motion picture prexy Nina Jacobson and marketing topper Oren Aviv. Guests included Keri Russell and Witherspoon mate Ryan Phillippe.
Less upbeat notes were sounded by twangy girl band SheDaisy, which ended its performance early in frustra-tion. It seemed that guests were too busy enjoying the party to pay much attention to the group.