Talent tubthumps 'Love,' 'Speech,' 'Barney's Version'

Organizers of the AFI Fest put together a stimulating mix of sex and intellect to begin its brace of galas.

Twentieth Century Fox’s “Love and Other Drugs” kickstarted the lineup Thursday at the Chinese, pairing Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway on the red carpet, followed by the Weinstein Co.’s “The King’s Speech” and “Blue Valentine.”

Gyllenhaal joked about the pic’s major attraction: “Ultimately, there are selling points, which is that we’re naked the majority of the time.”

On Friday, Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush tubthumped “The King’s Speech” at the Chinese. Rush said he received the script, by scribe David Seidler, whose initial intentions were for the story to be a stage play, in January 2008, when a producer had it delivered by one of Rush’s neighbors. “I woke up one morning with this brown paper package on my doorstep, like an orphan,” the thesp recalled. “But I could smell fiercely a film story there.”

Following the Saturday screening of “Blue Valentine” at the Chinese, helmer Derek Cianfrance expressed disappointment with the pic’s NC-17 rating: “I think the movie got hit with that rating for its intimacy and emotion. It doesn’t show you a lot; it implies a lot where your mind has to do all the work.”

That same night, AFI unspooled Sony Pictures Classics’ “Barney’s Version,” which became a family affair when father-son producing duo Robert and Ari Lantos took to the stage at the Egyptian. Later that evening, Robert Lantos expressed regret that Mordecai Richler, the late author of the “Barney’s Version” novel, couldn’t be there. Somehow, he says the scribe did give him a thumbs-up sign. “Mordecai was a vengeful sort. If I made a film that didn’t please, he’d find a way to get back at me,” the producer added.

(Additional reporting by Michael Sullivan.)

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