‘Fear & Loathing’ takes Gotham trip

Thompson drops in on preem

Universal premiered its “Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas” in New York Tuesday night, with a screening at the 34th Street Showplace and a party following at the China Club.

Director-screenwriter Terry Gilliam and producer Patrick Cassavetti joined Hunter S. Thompson, who penned the 1971 hallucinatory classic from which the film has been adapted, for the fete. Stars Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro also were along for the ride, with latter leaving partygoers agape with his svelte appearance; in the pic the thesp was carrying some 50 extra pounds as the portly Dr. Gonzo.

Also in the crowd was George Plimpton, who at one point during the bash fell victim to a chop on the head from a plastic ax Thompson pulled from beneath his jacket. Undaunted, Plimpton left the party early with Thompson and his pal, Ed Bradley, to go catch the end of the Yankees game.

Though the party was in no way reminiscent of the hazy, pharmaceutical-filled days in which the film takes place, still, revelers seemed to toss back the cocktails with greater abandon than they usually do at such affairs. And a small band of defiant senior citizens were even spotted passing around a joint at the China Club bar.

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