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An urbane ‘Legend’

Smith's latest premieres in New York

NEW YORK — “I Am Legend” got a huge, unruly bow Dec. 11 at Madison Square Garden’s WaMu theater, where hundreds of screaming fans greeted the pic’s star Will Smith, who arrived with his family and good friend Tom Cruise.

Smith addressed the throng before the lights went down, praising New York City (the film’s location) and wryly noting that Gothamites caught in the traffic jams created by the film’s shoot “made some very distinctly American symbols of displeasure when you drove by in your cars.”

When asked at the Hiro after-party why the big star and action-movie trappings didn’t make “I Am Legend” a better summer blockbuster than a holiday season film, helmer Francis Lawrence laughed. “It’s not quite shallow enough,” he said. “It’s a very personal, emotional drama, which I think is what’s always at the core of good sci-fi.”

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