Though Wednesday’s West Coast premiere of Warner Bros.’ “The Judge” took place at the quintessential show business centers of Beverly Hills’ Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and Spago, the evening evoked plenty of small-town nostalgia.
“The Judge,” set in a fictional Indiana town, was shot last year in the small town of Shelburne Falls, Mass.
Screenwriter Nick Schenk allowed that he and director David Dobkin began work on the project through an odd confluence of events six years ago.
“We kind of bonded over the fact that both of us had lost our mothers and the impact of that on the remaining family members,” Schenk noted.
Producer Susan Downey, who was raised in the Chicago suburbs, said that project tapped into a common theme of returning to the childhood home.
Not unexpectedly, the evening also saw plenty of praise for the two stars, Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall. SAG-AFTRA president Ken Howard, whose acting resume dates back to 1970’s “Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon,” admitted that he was seriously impressed.
“I’ve always been a fan of Duvall since he was Tom Hagen,” screenwriter Bill Dubuque said. “I can’t tell you how satisfying it was to have Duvall do our dialogue.”
Dobkin also called Downey “magical” during the intro to the film, which opens Oct. 10. Also attending the premiere were Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell, Vera Farmiga, Leighton Meester, Billy Bob Thornton, Vincent D’Onofrio and Jon Favreau.