HOLLYWOOD — “Incredibly surreal — an out-of-body experience.”
That was the stunned reaction from director F. Gary Gray following Tuesday’s world preem for “The Italian Job” at the Chinese Theater, since the key sequences take place outside the venerable Hollywood moviehouse.
“You spend months planning and plotting but when it happened on the screen tonight a few feet from where it actually got shot, it just blew me away,” Gray declared.
Last fall’s shoot, featuring a mind-bending traffic jam, necessitated closing down Hollywood Boulevard in front of the theater for nearly a week. “Seeing the truck go through the pavement brought back how much fun it was to stand there and watch all those explosions,” said thesp Franky G, recalling a key “truck drop” scene. “I went through at least 50 pairs of earplugs.”
“Even when we were shooting last year, I already knew we had to have the premiere here,” asserted producer Donald De Line.
The post-preem party across the street featured Viacom topper Sumner Redstone being serenaded with a chorus of “Happy Birthday to You” led by daughter Shari.
The event, co-sponsored by Paramount and the Stop Cancer charitable org, drew Viacom’s Jonathan Dolgen, Paramount topper Sherry Lansing, Par vice chairs Rob Friedman and John Goldwyn, Sony topper Amy Pascal, L.A. Laker Derek Fisher, Slash from Guns N’ Roses, Joely Fisher, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura and cast members Mark Wahlberg (with pregnant g.f. Rhea Durham nearby), Donald Sutherland, Mos Def, Jason Statham and Seth Green.