The organization that sponsored some of the teen-agers attending Saturday's screening of "My Stepmother Is an Alien," with President=elect George Bush and others, was incorrectly identified in a story in yesterday's Style section. It was Straight Inc., an adolescent drug treatment program. (Published 12/6/88)
With the lobby doors secure, President-elect George Bush approached the concession counter at the Cineplex Odeon Wisconsin Avenue Cinemas with a special entourage: his wife Barbara, actress Kim Basinger, Dan and Marilyn Quayle and the three Quayle children, comic actor Dan Aykroyd and L.A. financier-producer Jerry Weintraub and his wife Jane.
The group (and about 700 guests) had come to the theater Saturday night to see "My Stepmother Is an Alien," a new film produced by Weintraub and starring Basinger (as an extraterrestrial) and Aykroyd (as a widowed scientist who falls in love with her).
Cameras snapped as furiously as the popcorn machines pumped. Pulling a $20 bill from his wallet and handing it to Weintraub, Bush said, "We have to go and get some popcorn and Coke." (According to a former Bush aide, popcorn is one of the vice president's all-time favorite snacks). Weintraub returned the money, explaining that all the popcorn, soft drinks and candy were on the house.
Weintraub had rented Theaters 5 and 6 Saturday night for the private screening of his Los Angeles-based Entertainment Group's latest effort. Among the other guests were the film's director, Richard Benjamin, and his wife, actress Paula Prentiss; members of Bush's staff and the transition and inaugural teams; and some 150 teen-agers sponsored by the Joe Gibbs' Kids and Scared Straight programs.
At the concession stand, Basinger wanted to be sure hers was a Diet Coke. Bush obliged. "We'll take our time," he said, handing her a Diet Coke and popcorn as the entourage clutched snacks and sodas and patiently posed for photos. "Let's just take our time," Bush said. "These are family pictures, you know what I mean?"
"This is a nice guy," Aykroyd announced, pointing to Bush. "He made me director of the CIA!"
The crowd having been metal-detected and, in some cases, searched, it was time for the movie to begin. The Bushes, Quayles, Weintraubs, Benjamins and actors were seated, sort of, in the middle of Theater 6. Weintraub, who says he's known the Bushes for about 30 years (their Maine residences are near each other) and who contributed generously to Bush's presidential campaign, said, "We've waited many years for tonight. The greatest man and the greatest lady in the world are going to lead us!" Standing ovation. "It's a Saturday night at the movies! Loosen your ties and have a good time."
The crowd -- including the Quayles' 14-, 12- and 10-year-old children -- seemed to enjoy the movie, rated PG-13. "It's the same on both planets," went one "Alien" line. "Just when you get to know someone, they have to leave." The credits rolled, the house lights went up. Standing ovation. Surrounded by Secret Service agents, the Bushes and Quayles were off into the cold night via motorcade. The movie stars left through the main lobby, which naturally caused quite a ruckus among the regular moviegoers.
Afterward, the stars and Weintraub threw themselves a small dinner party at Duke Zeibert's, where Basinger had swordfish and most everybody else ate crab cakes. "I came here because I wanted to show the film to the president-elect," Weintraub said, his heavy wristwatch glittering. "I think this movie's a smash hit. Tonight was a thrill."
Benjamin said directing the movie was "hard and wonderful. I cast for soul, you know? It's a feeling I get about the actors. And Kim is so beautiful and so funny, it's amazing." He proceeded to give a short list of actresses who he believed fit that bill. "Marilyn, Lombard ... Not too many."
Aykroyd zipped by in a blur, explaining that earlier he'd received an upsetting telephone call from his wife, actress Donna Dixon. "They had an earthquake this morning," he said. "And it tripped the burglar alarm in the house and she's nervous." Was he nervous as well? "Me? I'm calm as a hummingbird." He shook his hand in the air, imitating hummingbird wings. And he left.
Basinger, who was decked out in what appeared to be a Hollywood version of Republican red -- red lips, black velvet and red taffeta pouf dress, seamed black stockings and black high heels with red satin laces -- seemed to be surrounded by men all through the evening. She said how tired she was, as she'd flown in from London (where she's filming "Batman") on the Concorde mere hours before. She said what convinced her that she should participate in "My Stepmother" was, "They asked me to play E.T. And I couldn't say no!"
Was it weird to go to the movies with the Bushes? "Being with the Bushes is like going home," she said. "He's the president. I mean, he will be. They're just a real Christmas card family."