Hollywood Boulevard saw its own version of the running of the bulls Monday night as Fox staged the world premiere of “The Longest Ride,” with professional bull riders demonstrating the sport in front of the TCL Chinese Theatre.
“This is something you don’t see on Hollywood Boulevard every day,” noted Scott Eastwood, who’s in his first leading role.
“You never know what’s going to happen when the gate opens,” mused pro rider Kasey Hayes from the red carpet. “I started when I was nine and I’ve been riding for 20 years. I’ll know that it’s time to quit when I don’t get that thrill anymore.”
Producer Marty Bowen — whose credits include The “Twilight” franchise, “The Nativity Story” and “The Fault in Our Stars” — admitted following the screening that he and his father are longtime fans of the sport.
“I’m from Texas, and I’d wanted to make a rodeo movie forever,” Bowen admitted. “My dad and I would go to the Fort Worth Rodeo every year. And we’re always doing love stories.”
Based on the Nicholas Sparks novel about two romances set in North Carolina, “The Longest Ride” opens Friday.
Melissa Benoist, tapped a month ago as the lead in CBS’ “Supergirl,” said of her role as a sorority sister, “I love my part where I get to play that catalyst that brings them together.”
Eastwood plays a bull-riding champion who tries to come back to competition following a serious injury, while Britt Robertson plays an art student.
At the Hollywood premiere, the Professional Bull Riders group supplied the bulls, horses and riders for a demonstration competition, complete with a dirt ring and rodeo clowns.
Several dozen protesters from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) picketed the Will Call area with signs and leaflets asserting that rodeos are cruel to animals. Eastwood noted that the American Humane Society was on the set during filming and that no animals were hurt.
(Pictured: Actress Oona Chaplin, actor Scott Eastwood, actress Britt Robertson and director George Tillman Jr. at the premiere of 20th Century Fox’s “The Longest Ride”)