It’s been over a week since I got back from LA, so it’s about time I wrote about this, if only to make sure I never forget it.[Name dropping of all sorts ahead. You’ve been warned.]
Last Tuesday, Ann and I flew out to Los Angeles for the US premiere of the Mutant Chronicles film. I’ve had a long association with the Mutant Chronicles, starting with writing the first supplement for the roleplaying game back in 1993, for Target Games in Sweden. I wrote or edited most of the products for that line, and I also edited the Doomtrooper collectible card game and the Warzone miniatures game.
(Perhaps not coincidentally, Bryan Winter and Bill King designed those last two games, respectively. Bryan was one of my college roommates, and Bill was my roommate in Nottingham when I was an editor at Games Workshop.)
I also brushed up an early treatment for the film and tossed in one of my own. Some of that work seemed to make it into the first draft of the film’s script, but barely any at all showed up in the final version. That’s not too surprising because the film stalled in pre-production for something like fifteen years, and time changes many things, including movie scripts.
I’d already seen an early cut of the film the year before so that I could brush up the final draft of my novelization of the film. I sat through it twice in a private screening room with executives from various film distributors, taking notes as fast as I could type them into my laptop. Still, I was excited to see what director Simon Hunter had done with the final cut of the film.
The trip went as smooth as rain-slick glass. We landed in LA, picked up our rental car (a silver PT Cruiser), and headed into the city. We drove down Santa Monica Boulevard until we reached the beach, then went for a walk out to the end of the pier. After getting our feet wet in the ocean, we hiked back to the car and drove to our hotel, the Ramada Plaza in West Hollywood.
A quick change later, we drove back down Santa Monica Boulevard for a quiet but delicious dinner at the Flavor of India. The food was so good we ate until it hurt.
From there, we drove out to the Mann Bruin Theatre in Westwood for the premiere. We’d been told it would be a low-key affair, but Magnolia Picture‘s PR people stepped up. They had out the red carpet, lots of film stars, and a wall of paparazzi snapping pictures.
Many of the celebrities had nothing to do with the film. They’d shown up for their own publicity reasons, to support their friends, or just to enjoy a free show. They waited in a roped-off section for their turn, at which time a PR flack would lead them to the start of the red carpet and hold up a piece of paper with the celebrity’s name printed on it. The photographer snapped shots of that so they would know for sure who they’d photographed later, along with exactly how to spell their names.
A quick Google search turns up loads of photos from MonstersandCritics.com, PRPhotos.com, Zimbio.com, iCelebz.com, StarPulse.com, and Hollywood.com, among others. Simon also took some excellent shots of his own, there are some great ones up on Perlman Pages, and I saw Paradox Entertainment honcho (and my longtime pal from Target Games) Fred Malmberg snapping many pics too. Coin-Op.tv even filed a video report which has some excellent bits in it.
Several of the movie’s stars showed up, including Ron Perlman, Devon Aoki, Anna Walton, Luis Echegaray, and young Jack Finney (Simon’s son), as well as Simon himself. Producer Ed Pressman was there too with his wife Annie. I know writer Philip Eisner was there too, although I never ran into him. Most of the other celebrities there I either didn’t see (like Corbin Bernsen, Bai Ling, or Adrian Paul) or recognize (like Lorielle New, Nina Bergman, Vanessa Evigan, Chloe J, or Fanny Pak). Tom Jane didn’t make it because he had to get back to work on HBO’s new show Hung.
Ann and I chatted with Fred and a number of the Paradox crew outside the theater and in the lobby, including Jay Zetterberg, Leslie Buhler, Winnie Lee, and Daniel Wagner and his fiancee Daniella. We sat near the front of the theater with them as well.
Honestly, I enjoyed the film. I know, I’m supposed to say that and then privately run it down for not being faithful enough to the original game or some other reason. But no. I liked it, I’m glad I spent a lot of money to go see it, and I’ll pick it up on Blu-Ray the day it comes out.
Yeah, I know, I’m biased and can’t see past that, so take it as you like. It’s not a film for everyone. Ann doesn’t generally see violent films, so she spent some of the film covering her mouth or her eyes. If you want a good, rousing Sci-Fi flick with some cool moments and loads of heavy action, you’re all set. Plus, the film was shown with digital projection and sound in a THX-certified theater. It was sharp, crisp, and beautiful.
Given the budget he had to work with, and the fact that this was an independent effort, Simon did a phenomenal job with this film. He’s recently moved to LA from England and has a number of film projects in the works. Follow his name. You’re going to see some incredible things from him in the future.
After the film, Ann and I walked over to the after-party at the Napa Valley Grille. As we arrived Devon showed up in her limo and entered with a group of friends. Inside, they had a wonderful spread, including all sorts of food. After our wonderful meal earlier, though, we barely ate a thing.
The best part, though, were the servers dressed up as mutants, with full makeup and even the occasional hooked boneblade arm. LAist.com has a great write-up of the event, complete with photos. Zimbio.com also has a huge album of pictures from the event.
Out on the patio, we chatted for a bit with Brett Walsh and his charming girlfriend. Along with Ed Pressman, he’s producing Little Green Men. It’s based on the novel by Christopher Buckley, who also wrote Thank You for Smoking, the basis of the excellent film that Ed also produced.
Inside, we caught up with the Paradox folks again and met Hai Ng of Magnolia, who is working on the Mutant Chronicles DVD. I also talked with Jonathan Katz, VP of Pressman Films, and with Ed himself.
I don’t like bugging people who are chatting with others, no matter if they’re celebrities or not. Toward the end of the night, though, I brought out a copy of my novelization and had it autographed by Ron, Devon, Simon, and Jack, all of whom made it to the after-party. Anna was there, but I missed her, and and Luis may have been there too, but I didn’t see him.
I was amazed how many people congratulated me—without any mention or prompting on my part—about the novelization’s nominations for two Scribe Awards. Whether the book actually wins any awards or not, my signed copy of it now serves as a fantastic memento of an incredible night.
Our bodies still on Central Time, which is two hours ahead of LA, Ann and I headed back to the hotel just after midnight. The next morning, we got up, checked out, then drove around Beverly Hills for a while. After that, we grabbed a drink and scone to go at a Coffee Bean on Wilshire Boulevard, then drove down to the beach again to say goodbye to the ocean. After that, it was back to the airport and then home.