Colin Firth, director Dante Ariola and
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

Tragicomedy made L.A. debut on April 18

“The ultimate message,” said helmer Dante Ariola, “is that you can take on other identities, but in the end you gotta own up to who you really are.”

Such is the thrust of Cinedigm’s “Arthur Newman,” which made its L.A. preem April 18 at Hollywood’s ArcLight. Pic follows a failed golfer (Colin Firth), who fakes his death, changes his name and hits the road to reinvent himself. Cast and crew, as well as other celebs, walked a bite-sized red carpet before the screening — and proved that even Hollywood’s rich and famous entertain fantasies of escape and reinvention.

“If I could, I’d go back in time and either play in major league baseball or a on football team,” said Cinedigm’s Chris McGurk. “Boston is my place of origin, so if I could go up there and try to get involved in the sports world or maybe be a sports writer, I’d do that . But that’s not gonna happen.”

Anne Heche, who plays the “most boring girlfriend of all time” in the film, said she’d want to check out the White House for something different.

“I’d be the president,” she said. “It’d be fun to make change — don’t ya think?”

Arden Myrin, Kate Flannery, James Tupper, Sterling Beaumon and Aaron Abrams were also on hand, paving the way for topliners Firth and Emily Blunt, who also plays an escapist with an identity problem.

“People think this is a bit weird, but I’d actually quite like to go back to caveman times,” said Blunt. “I just would love to know the beginning of mankind — or the ’20s, that would be more fun, probably.”

Blunt and Firth pair up in the tragicomedy and break into people’s houses to pose as the owners — who range, in character, from hipster to wealthy to geriatric.

“My life has been that, in a way,” Firth said. “To do something as unrealistic as acting is that in itself. In some ways, I don’t really have as strong an instinct to actually escape from my life as perhaps some people do, because I do it so regularly. I mean, every time I do a film or a play or whatever it is, it’s an excursion away from reality.”

After the preem, guests hiked up to Hollywood Boulevard to party at Wood & Vine.

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