‘Merchant’ ships to Manhattan

Preem's after-party an un-Shakesperean soiree

NEW YORK — Sunday’s New York premiere of Sony Pictures Classics’ “The Merchant of Venice” began as a civil affair, at a nondescript United Artists theater on the Upper East Side.But the party, co-hosted by Gotham magazine, was way downtown in the meatpacking district at the ultra-swank club Aer, attracting likes of Kelly Osbourne and Victoria Gotti — as un-Shakespearean as any possible Manhattan venue.

“You want gondolas, right?” Joseph Fiennes yelled above the techno beat.

Next to the theater, Al Pacino commented on his interpretation of Shylock.

“You understand where he’s coming from,” he said. “You sense where his rage is coming from. And once you understand that, you can relate.”

Among those relating were pic’s director-scribe Michael Radford, Jeremy Irons, Lynn Collins, Heather Goldenhersh and Charlie Cox; plus guests including Peter Gabriel, Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Donna Karan.

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