We had just gotten a conversation with Gerard Butler off the ground when the brawny Scottish star happened to glance over our shoulder at the more interesting commotion in the party beyond.

“Who is that over there?” he asked about the young man getting mobbed by VIPs. We told him: It was RGIII. And Butler bolted away to go meet the quarterback himself.

A starry-eyed Hayden Panettiere meets Robert Griffin III at the Vanity Fair and Bloomberg after-party. (Roxanne Roberts / The Washington Post)

Of all the A-listers at the starry White House Correspondents’ after party hosted by Vanity Fair and Bloomberg, the surprise hit of the evening was Robert Griffin III. Team owner Dan Snyder proudly ushered his prize player around the terraced gardens of the French ambassador’s residence — his wife Tanya and Griffin’s fiancée Rebecca Liddicoat standing back at a respectful remove — as one star after another approached for a moment or a photo with the 23-year-old, who was poised, gracious and smiling through every encounter. “It’s cool to meet all these people,” he told us.

All the more of a surprise since Griffin was a no-show for the actual Correspondents’ dinner, reportedly leaving would-be hosts in the lurch. We’re told he and Liddicoat dined with the Snyders at Cafe Milano in Georgetown. (Update, 4/29: Why did RGIII skip WHCA dinner?)

Among the stars who came running over to get his RGIII photo: Kevin Spacey.

Big fan? “He’s, like, heroic,” Spacey insisted.

We wouldn’t have taken Spacey for a Redskins fan, but the double-Oscar winner told us that yes, indeed, he keeps up with the team even from Britain, where he’s living now and working as artistic director for the Old Vic theater.

“It just goes to show you,” he told us, “not to make assumptions about anybody.”

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