Cast gets into college spirit

'Admission' principles consider bygone days

“It’s a nice human scale movie, it’s not ‘Transformers’ so they don’t have that expectation for it,” Tina Fey said of Focus Features’ “Admission.”

Before the March 5 premiere at Lincoln Square and the Monkey Bar afterparty, Fey reflected on her post-“30 Rock” career.

“It’s nice to be able to do some films now, because for years with ’30 Rock’ it was only a tiny window or ‘I can’t do one right now,’ ” said the actress. “It’s also fun to be able to shoot here in New York, be in my own bed every night and see my kids on weekends.”

Director and producer Paul Weitz easily steered Fey through the most dramatic role of her career.

“It’s a comedy drama,” he emphasized. “I felt it was a step for her and not a leap across a chasm. She’s very believable as a woman who has fooled herself into believing she’s got her life all set, because if you’re very smart then you’re able to trick yourself sufficiently.”

In the Focus pic, Fey plays a Princeton admissions officer who, alongside Gloria Reuben and Wallace Shawn, decides the fate of literally thousands of applicants. Shawn found the film to be “incredibly friendly to the admissions officers at Princeton. It shows very conscientious people — I don’t know if there’s any truth in that — but in the movie they’re amazingly conscientious about their work.”

As for his own college admission, “I had to sort of forget the reality to do the movie. My feelings about my college days are so angry and full of bitterness I couldn’t have played the part if I’d thought about that,” said Shawn, who went to Harvard. A crowded turnout of journos and attendees at Tuesday’s premiere of Tristar’s “The Call” had even star Halle Berry surprised.
“I’m just shocked that this many people showed up,” Berry said on the ArcLight red carpet, where she was joined by helmer Brad Anderson and co-stars Abigail Breslin, Morris Chestnut and Michael Eklund.
The thesp had nothing but praise for her character, a 911 operator turned vigilante, “Rarely do I find roles to play that are this meaty and empowering, so I desperately wanted to do this movie,” she said.
Breslin said her character’s abduction and entrapment in a car trunk by no means deterred her from taking the part. “It was pretty rough being trapped in a trunk for so long, but it was worth it to do this movie,” Breslin said.
Post-screening, Sony’s Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal and guests migrated to the Arclight lounge.
— Andrew Stewart

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