After six months on the road promoting his raunchy, dreamlike film, Harmony Korine brought it home to Hollywood on Thursday with the L.A. premiere of
Stars Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine and James Franco stepped out at the ArcLight Theatre on Sunset Boulevard — just days after debuting stateside at South by Southwest – with friends and family by their sides.
“It’s a girls’ night,” Hudgens told with a laugh, referring to her guest list. “I literally filled up an entire SUV with my mom, my mom’s best friend, my best friend, my other best friend, my sister and her best friend.”
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Hudgens’ mom wasn’t the only parent in the house: Benson confessed she was “nervous” for her mother to see the film.
“My agent was just giving her a pretalk at my house while I was getting ready,” she said. “He was like, ‘This is in it, this is in it, and this is in it.’ She was like, ‘OK, I am gonna be fine.’ I’m like: ‘No, you’re not. You are gonna cry.’ I know she will.”
Gomez also was nervous for the premiere but not about having her mom in attendance.
“My mom was a huge Harmony fan, so when she got the script, she was absolutely beyond herself. She was so excited,” said Gomez, wearing a stunning red gown by Reem Acra.
But after debuting the film at the Venice Film Festival in September, then screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, Gomez said she was “scared” of how U.S. audiences would react.
“It’s actually scarier for me to do it here,” she allowed. “We were in Europe, and they are a little bit more liberal over there. They don’t care if they see boobs.”
The red (make that hot pink) carpet was filled with photographers, reporters and shrieking fans, who were in prime position for selfies and autographs with the film’s stars and attendees just in front of the theater entrance. Along with the film’s stars, Heather Morris (who has a small role in the movie), Gucci Mane (also in the movie), Ashley Tisdale, Sarah Hyland, Jesse Metcalfe, Eva Amurri Martino, Marilyn Manson and ’ Alex Karpovsky trotted down the red carpet.
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But before Gomez and Hudgens hit the carpet, the scene undoubtedly belonged to the Atlanta-based ATL Twins, who appear as part of Franco’s crew in the film. The duo, known for sharing quite literally everything, sauntered their way down the carpet smoking cigarettes, sipping from the same cup and making out with their date. Yes, singular. At one point, security attempted to usher one of the twins inside, insisting that the fire marshal wouldn’t allow individuals to mill around the carpet unnecessarily. After putting up a bit of a fight, both twins eventually made their way inside the theater.
Once inside, guests cheered and laughed their way through the 94-minute neon, day-glo trip, filled with bare breasts, beer bongs, drugs and weaponry. As previously noted, Franco’s encounter with two loaded guns won’t make any Oscar montages but undoubtedly will be one of the most-talked-about scenes of the year.
After the screening, partygoers made their way to The Emerson to snack on Fatburgers and fries while sipping on cocktails. (The spring break spirit was palpable, with the scent of marijuana drifting through the party. No word on whether there was any cocaine or artillery present, though.)
“It was pretty electric,” said director Korine of the crowd’s reception to the film. “The film has come full circle now.”
Franco’s character, the cornrowed white rapper from Florida named Alien, garnered the most laughs throughout the screening, with the audience responding favorably to his memorable, “Look at my s—!” scene, in which he showcases the contents of his bedroom and a mind-boggling performance of Britney Spears’ “Everytime.” (“This song is by a little-known pop singer by the name of Britney Spears,” his character declares. “An angel on this earth if there ever was one.”)
“I think people are more comfortable to laugh here,” Korine said of the response, acknowledging that Franco’s turn received stronger feedback stateside than overseas. “They obviously get all the pop-culture references.”
At the afterparty, Hudgens held court with her crew, while Gomez changed into a sleeveless black mini for a more casual look nearby. Benson mingled with the crowd, but her rumored beau Franco was nowhere to be seen.
The soiree mostly was without gimmicks, but one highlight was a photo booth with a twist: Guests could don the film’s signature pink ski masks, hold plastic squirt guns and even put on a grill while they danced in front of a backdrop featuring Franco’s Alien. The seven-second footage was then translated into a small flipbook, making for a unique keepsake.
The film opens in limited release Friday, March 15, and expands nationwide March 22. It is being distributed and marketed by A24 Pictures, which is backed by Guggenheim Partners, an investment group that also owns Dick Clark Productions and Guggenheim Digital Media, parent company of