Friday, June 25, 2010

Red Carpet Report: Eclipse Premiere


Where: Nokia Theater LA Live, Los Angeles

When: Thursday night

Guest list: From the film: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Peter Facinelli, Kellan Lutz, Elizabeth Reaser, Jackson Rathbone, Dakota Fanning, Billy Burke, Anna Kendrick and Bryce Dallas Howard. Also on hand: Jaden and Willow Smith, New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez, Anna-Lynne McCord, Jennifer Love Hewitt, LA Lakers star Ron Artest.

The scene: Hundreds of die-hard Twilight fans shrieked themselves hoarse during three-hour parade of cast members. Clutching books and photos, the throngs expressed their feelings through a range of homemade posters. "What team? E or J?" seemed to capture the mood of the (almost entirely) female fan base on hand, Edward or Jacob. Many of the fans camped out overnight in front of the Staples Center, opposite the theater, and some were lucky enough to find their tent-city visited by Peter Facinelli (Dr. Carlisle Cullen). "I made those hamburgers for them myself," he joked. "But really it's cool, we're all, the fans and the cast, are like this one big family bound together because we share something in common."

The would-be couple: Pattinson and Stewart deftly gave no fuel to the by-now established rumor that the two are dating, keeping their distance from each other for much of their carpet walk. When they did pose together for photographers, Lautner appeared on Stewart's other flank. Pattinson said he stays sane amid the hoopla "by just, you know, whistling a little tune and not thinking too much about it, because if I did I think I'd faint." Stewart, leggy in a short white, sleeveless dress, her hair pulled up, said she didn't need any particular Twilight-fame coping mechanisms. "It's a job," she said. "It's only crazy like this at these premieres, but otherwise I live a very normal life. I don't need anything else to ground me."

Dropping drawers: Among the publishable posters made by fans of hunky vampire Emmett Cullen, played by Lutz, was one requesting him to "show us your Calvins." Having spied the written request, Lutz smiled and yanked down on the black pants of his suit, revealing equally black Calvin Klein underwear (which matched the evening's appropriately black carpet). "Hey, they asked me to," he said, flashing a mischievous smile. The response was deafening. How does he keep the fans at bay? "It's all about the chastity belt," he said, adding, "Seriously, though, I love making a human connection to our fans. Some of them are literally crying, and it's nice to be able to reach out a hand and touch them."

Paging Bjork: Easily capturing the most-outrageous dress award was Reed (Rosalie Hale), whose Marchesa dress featured a short skirt consisting only of blue features, more feathers at her shoulders and everything in between a sheer fabric with appropriately positioned embroidery. And on her arm for the soiree? "My brothers, though my 10-year-old one is here with ear plugs it's so loud," she said. Reed was humbled by the fan reception and grateful they're keeping her employed. "I'm really glad to have the job, really," she said. And it's one that actually let's her keep her private life private; the brunette's character is a blond. "I can walk down the street and just be me," she said.

Native American pride: For Gil Birmingham (Billy Black), a big cause for celebration is Twilight's embrace of Native American actors and themes, "especially that we are cast in a contemporary setting as opposed to a historical one," he said. "I'm so excited to maybe get a whole new generation of Native American actors into the spotlight."

Giving back: Greene (Alice Cullen) had a loyal following, no doubt linked to her character's close bond with Stewart's heroine Bella Swan. But what makes the actress whose pixieish on-screen persona is in stark contrast to her long-haired elegance especially grateful to the Twilight series is less her newfound fame and more her ability to give back. "Look, I have a million followers on Twitter because of this movie, but what that really means is that if I tweet out that people should consider giving to, all of a sudden that charity gets a response, and that amazes me," she said, sheathed in an Alexis Mabille dress. "I couldn't be luckier."

Celebrity muscle: Which stars needed not one but two bodyguards (compared to most who didn't bring any), and didn't speak to reporters? Pint-sized up-and-coming entertainment titans (just look at their parents) Jaden and Willow Smith.

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