`Less glitzy' opening still has stars, Carson

December 08, 2003|By Annie Linskey | Annie Linskey,SUN STAFF

Baltimore's fast crowd braved frigid weather and icy streets yesterday to attend the Maryland premiere of the Farrelly brothers' comedy, Stuck on You, and meet the film's stars, Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear.

In the movie, Damon and Kinnear play conjoined twins. Yesterday, the actors - no longer attached - signed autographs and posed for pictures with the predominantly female fans who huddled around them at the Senator Theatre.

"My friend Ed Norton keeps telling me to get to Baltimore," said Damon. He and others from the movie arrived on Saturday night. They dined at Coburn's Tavern & Grill and hung out in Canton.

The Baltimore screening felt different from traditional Hollywood openings, Damon said. "It is less glitzy, a lot more normal. That's a positive thing."

The event also featured a silent charity auction, held in a white heated tent. Most people kept their coats wrapped tightly around them as they munched sushi, shrimp, salmon, cheese and sugar cookies.

The premiere was in Baltimore at the request of Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson, who consulted on the film and has a cameo appearance playing himself. In lieu of compensation, Carson asked that the premiere benefit his charities, the BEN Fund and the Carson Scholars Fund. "I want people to see that Baltimore is not a hick town," Carson said.

Carson hoped to raise $300,000 through ticket sales and the silent auction. All 850 tickets sold out in 10 days. Regular tickets cost $50. VIP tickets, giving access to a cocktail party with the stars, sold for $150.

Wen Yann Shih, who makes her film debut as Damon's love interest, said she "couldn't book a sitcom to save my life - and I landed a lead role in the Farrelly brothers movie."

She enjoyed working with the other stars. "Matt was surprisingly shy and Greg was a prankster off the set," said the actress, a Johns Hopkins graduate whose parents live in Hyattsville.

Both Farrelly brothers, Bobby and Peter, also attended the premiere. Compared to other openings, Bobby Farrelly said, "It is more fun because this is a genuinely excited audience," he said. "In L.A., half the people are rooting for the film to fail."

Not this crowd. Producer Bradley Thomas, a Baltimore native, likened the event to a wedding because so many friends and family were present.

"The movie is full of heart, it is a love story between two brothers," said Tom Rothman, the chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment. "The parts played by Matt and Greg are winners. They overcome challenges and have not become victims."

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