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Tulane Shines With Hollywood Stars

September 19, 2006

Fran Simon

Thousands of Tulane students and people from the community crowded along metal barricades set up outside McAlister Auditorium to watch the arrival of the cast and other luminaries for the world premiere of "All the King's Men" on Saturday (Sept. 16).


Actor Jude Law, center, stops on the red carpet to talk with two students who work with the Hullabaloo student newspaper at Tulane. At left is Rosa Mathai, a junior and contributing writer for the paper, while senior Christina Le, at right, is the Hullabaloo's main section editor. (Photo by Tyler Hernandez)

With swarms of students bunched on the balconies of Irby House next door, the throng sent up a roaring cheer each time a celebrity stepped from a limousine.

Gathered along the red carpet were top-tier media, including the New York Times, ABC, CBS, NBC, "Entertainment Extra," "Entertainment Tonight," National Public Radio, People magazine, Reuters, the Associated Press, Valor from Brazil and Elle/Spa from Japan.

Most of the stars were attentive, giving thoughtful replies to the reporters' questions, including three students working for the Hullabaloo.

Jude Law locked his sea-colored eyes on each reporter who interviewed him, remarking that filming in Louisiana was "a joy," with the people in the Pelican State embracing and welcoming the film's cast and crew.

When asked about his favorite Southern phrase after adopting a Southern accent for the third time in a film, Law demurred in his proper British accent, "Oh, I'm not going to get this right, am I?" then drawled, "Hot damn!"


Holding a sign, Tulane sophomore students Stephanie Leiting, left, and Marlisa White claim prime real estate behind the barricades with the hope of catching the eye of actor James Gandolfini. (Photo by Paula Burch)

A luminous Kate Winslet also enthused about filming in New Orleans, noting that her daughter was in the Crescent City for Mardi Gras and "thought she was in heaven."

Executive producer James Carville spoke for several minutes with the Hullabaloo staff, saying he was pleased so many students came out for the premiere.

"I'm glad we could bring something like this out here," said Carville, who attended the premiere with his wife, Mary Matlin, and children. "I'm delighted Tulane came back, and I'd be delighted if my children wanted to come to Tulane. When was the last time a major motion picture opened at Duke?"

New Orleans native Patricia Clarkson enthusiastically introduced to the media her three sisters. The Academy Award-nominated actress also shared her walk on the red carpet with her mother, former city council member and state representative Jackie Clarkson, and nieces.

A seemingly misanthropic Sean Penn arrived to an enthusiastic roar, but quickly strode along the back of the red carpet without granting interviews. When he appeared on the silver screen, Penn transformed into the larger-than-life Willie Stark, gesticulating wildly with both arms, his eyes blazing.


Joining fans on the uptown campus, news media from around the world interview James Carville, executive producer of "All the King's Men." (Photo by Paula Burch) View more photos at the New Wave corner slideshow.

McAlister Auditorium, with its art deco motifs, including a pelican in her nest over the huge movie screen, was an apt setting for the debut of the Louisiana-shot film, based on Robert Penn Warren's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel inspired by the rise and fall of Gov. Huey P. Long.

Standing before the audience of invited guests, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco recognized the contribution of the movie, which brought an estimated $35 million to Louisiana's economy, and thanked lead actor Penn for working alongside first responders after Hurricane Katrina.

She introduced Steven Zaillian, the film's director, who in turn introduced the lead players to the audience before showing the film.

"We spent about six months in Louisiana," Zaillian said. "It's going to take more than water to wash New Orleans away."

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000