‘Big’ time in NYC

Stars out in force to send off 'The Big Lebowski'

The laid-back L.A. native called “the Dude” in Joel and Ethan Coen’s “The Big Lebowski” would have felt right at home at the Feb. 23 New York premiere of the new Gramercy Pictures release. The Dude spends most of his time bowling and drinking White Russians — and there was plenty of opportunity to do both following the screening at the Cineplex Odeon Chelsea West theater.

Among those who braved torrential rains to roll a strike or two were “Big Lebowski” cast members Jeff Bridges, Philip Seymour Hoffman, David Huddleston and Julianne Moore, escorted by her companion, director Bart Freundlich (“The Myth of Fingerprints.”)

Other members of the bowling team included the Coen brothers, Polygram president and CEO Alain Levy and his wife, Polygram Filmed Entertainment veepee of literary acquisitions Caroline Southey, PFE prexy Michael Kuhn, Gramercy president Russell Schwartz and Working Title co-chairmen Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner.

Spotted in the crowd at the party, a fundraiser for the 52nd Street Project and the New York Academy of Art, were Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Lauren Bacall, James Caan, Frances McDormand, Ben Gazzara, Mandy Patinkin, Ally Sheedy, Martha Plimpton, Willem Dafoe, Whit Stillman and John McEnroe, who traded his tennis racquet for a bowling ball. Far out, man.

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