‘Showtime’ shindig

Murphy, De Niro compared to Great Danes out for a walk

At Monday’s “Showtime” preem at the Chinese, two of the filmmakers explained what’s it like to have Eddie Murphy and Robert De Niro as the leads of a pic.

“It’s like taking two Great Danes out for a walk and you have a piece of string for a leash,” said helmer Tom Dey. “All you hope for is they eventually lead you back home.”

Exec producer Will Smith said he “stayed out of their way and let them be brilliant” and then added, “There’s not really a lot of work in being executive producer. Make a couple of phone calls, give a couple notes on the script and you’re done.”

For his part, Murphy seemed happy with the experience of working with De Niro. “We’re so different,” he said. “It’s either going to be a train wreck or something entertaining to watch.”

De Niro came for part of the screening and skipped the Highlands after-party. The press-shy actor had taped “The Tonight Show” just before the preem, this one show roughly equaling the amount of time he spends being interviewed per decade.

There was one irony about De Niro’s perf. The night before he was reverentially introducing the “9/11” docu on CBS and praising brave video cameramen; the next day he was watching his character fire a bullet through a TV camera he finds annoying.

Among those on hand were Alan Horn, Barry Meyer, Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Kevin McCormick; stars Rene Russo and William Shatner; producers Jorge Saralegui, Jane Rosenthal and Bruce Berman; plus guests Mark Johnson, Simon Barry, Cedric the Entertainer, Chris Tucker, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Minnie Driver, David Permut, Karl Austen, Lisa Kudrow and Eriq LaSalle.

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