It was not the red-carpet premiere that Harvey Weinstein had in mind for his latest buzzy project. Not even a movie about Navy SEALs could stand up to Hurricane Sandy.
Yet the show must go on, so what was supposed to be a glittering reception Monday night at the Newseum for hundreds of D.C. political types — to preview “SEAL Team Six” — was salvaged as an intimate screening over cocktails for two-dozen folks back at the producer’s hotel.
Hey, any chance for publicity, however small. “You're the first to see the movie!” Weinstein whispered encouragingly to us.
The dramatized account of the mission to kill Osama bin Laden is set to air Sunday on the National Geographic Channel — yes, two days before the election. The movie’s timing and heroic portrayal of President Obama have led to accusations of a plot by Liberal Hollywood to tilt the election in his favor (Weinstein is a major supporter) — or, perhaps just a controversy engineered by Corporate Hollywood to juice ratings.
Neither is true, says the channel’s president, Howard Owens: It’s simply a way to launch NatGeo’s fall season slate, and the only time to get out ahead of Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty,” a big-screen take on the same story set for release in December.
It was a casual gathering, as the wind hissed outside the penthouse windows of the Hay-Adams, trees flailing around the White House below: Weinstein’s cellphone went off in the middle of his remarks; MPAA chief Chris Dodd showed up in a windbreaker and khakis. Later, we overheard the former senator fact-check the story for Weinstein. (The movie states that Robert Gates opposed the raid; Gates changed his vote, Dodd said.)
Weinstein, seemingly frustrated by the storm, vowed to carry on with a NYC premiere on Tuesday, even “if I have to do it at my house.” At that hour, no one realized what a bad hit New York was taking. The Newseum premiere has been rescheduled for Thursday, and the Manhattan one has been scrapped.
But the relocation to the Hay-Adams was no letdown for the small crew of actors who made it there. “Who knew I’d be in a movie with President Obama — and he’s right down there!” said Robert Knepper.
“My mom said it best,” said Kenneth Miller, who plays one of the SEALs, “Getting to see it right next to the White House is the best way.”
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