BEVERLY HILLS – After triumphant screenings at Telluride and Toronto, Warner Bros. held the official Los Angeles premiere for Ben Affleck’s “Argo” at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater Thursday night and it had to be characterized as a rousing success.
Fighting off a cold, Affleck introduced the film by thanking his cast and the studio, but more importantly, gave a big shout out to screenwriter Chris Terrio. In fact, Affleck humbly noted that most directors come onto a project and expect to give the script a once over. Producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov gave him the heads up that maybe he should meet with Terrio before going down that road. He might be pleasantly surprised. Affleck was so impressed he gave huge props to Terrio saying he couldn’t have made the movie without him (when was the last time you heard a director give that much love to his screenwriter?). Affleck also introduced four of the house guests who were able to make the premiere as well as Tony Mendez, the real-life CIA agent who coordinated their escape and won the agency’s intelligence star for his work. Mendez respectfully received the loudest ovation before the film began.
The picture, which has already been lauded by myself, Kris Tapley and Drew McWeeny respectively, played like gangbusters to the industry crowd. As you’d expect, he Hollywood jokes got big laughs, but just like it’s previous premieres there was huge applause for a key moment at the end of the film. It’s a credit to Affleck and editor William Goldenberg (“Heat,” “Seabiscuit,” “Gone Baby Gone”) that audiences continue to be captivated and on the edge of their seats considering the event’s outcome is public knowledge.
At the swank after party at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Affleck, Clooney, Heslov and executive producer Graham King all worked the room along with stars Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Adrienne Barbeau and Clea DuVall among others. Some of the notable guests included Jon Favreau, Kevin Smith, Casey Affleck, the always stunning Jennifer Garner. No doubt, just the first of many such celebrations for “Argo” over the upcoming awards season.
“Argo” opens nationwide on Oct. 12.