Dublin became a part of Hollywood yesterday when movie stars, directors, celebrities and fully paid-up members of the glitterati attended the European premiere of the new Steven Spielberg movie Lincoln in the city’s Savoy Cinema.
Daniel Day-Lewis, who is tipped to win his third Oscar in a leading role for his portrayal of the late American president in the film, asked the legendary Spielberg to hold the premiere in Ireland as Day-Lewis is on the fundraising committee for the Wicklow Hospice Foundation.
With an after-screening ball in the Burlington Hotel, it soon became the hottest ticket in town.
With all 900 tickets sold out at €160 each, a waiting list was set up comprising of 550 wannabes desperate to participate in the day-long event, which also promised a pre-screening champagne reception in the Gresham Hotel and varied entertainment last night by Shane MacGowan, Sinead O’Connor, and Chris de Burgh.
As they walked the red carpet both Bono and The Edge said they were taking the night off and would not be performing at the ball. While Bono had the courtesy to reply, the grown man known as The Edge would only grimly shake his head.
But de Burgh, who was accompanied by wife Diane and daughter Rosanna, chirpily replied: “Oh, I think I could be persuaded to sing a few songs.”
It was all the perfect recipe to wash away the new year blues, experience some international style and be serenaded by several of Ireland’s top singers.
But tables were only being sold at €1,600 a pop, and those on the waiting list remained on it.
Outside the cinema crowds gathered to get a glimpse of some real Hollywood stars, while in the bar of the Gresham former hellraiser Shane MacGowan sat quietly sipping a heady combination of mineral water and tea. Yes, tea.
In fact Shane drew one of the biggest reactions when he subsequently staggered in the door of the Savoy and nearly walked right into actress Sally Field’s photo opportunity. Laughter rang out as the ‘Fairytale Of New York’ singer was dragged back.
When himself and girlfriend Victoria Clarke got to pose themselves, he gave the assembled press a rigorous two fingers, hung on for dear life to a glass of water-coloured liquid, and adjusted his shades.
Others spotted on the red carpet included U2 boss Paul McGuinness, Norma Smurfit, rugby ace Shane Byrne, impresario Noel Pearson, broadcaster Norah Casey, celebrity chef Richard Corrigan, disc jockeys Tony Fenton and Ian Dempsey, the latter with his wife Ger, Trevor White, Ray D’Arcy and wife Jenny, Health Minister James Reilly and Riverdance’s John McColgan.
While director Steven Spielberg was charm personified and spoke glowingly of Ireland as a location for making movies, Daniel Day-Lewis was a man of few, albeit carefully chosen, words.
When asked where he kept his Oscars, he seemed dumbfounded and said he could not answer a question like that, seemingly implying it was trite.
Regarding the possibility of a third Oscar for his performance in Lincoln, he replied: “I’m trying not to think about that. There are a lot of great movies out this year and a lot of very strong performances. But I can’t completely put it out of my mind as people like yourself keep asking me about it all the time. But really, there is no way of knowing. And yes, I was delighted to get rid of the beard when we finished the film.”
President Michael D Higgins, who greatly assisted the Irish film industry while arts minister by introducing the tax-free incentive for filming here, was as loquacious as ever.
He revealed: “Steven Spielberg is a great ambassador for Ireland and a lovely man. He is constantly telling other directors and producers what a great place it is here, both with locations and the tax-free incentive. And he loves the people here. And Daniel Day-Lewis is such an extraordinary talent, as well as being a man of great integrity.”
Indeed Spielberg even signed a DVD copy of Jaws for an over-excited male fan and signed autographs for others, strangely enough mainly males just this side of middle age. He added: “Ireland really worked for me when I filmed here, I love any time I spend here, whether working of holidaying.”
He admitted that he hadn’t seen any of RTÉ’s big hit drama Love/Hate, mainly because he has been so busy working.
After the screening, the women in their high fashion gowns and the men in their black tie outfits and overcoats boarded a fleet of double-decker buses to take them to the ball in the Burlington Hotel.
Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw, Day-Lewis and his wife Rebecca Miller, 20th Century Fox boss Cameron Saunders, Lincoln actress Sally Field and others had departed earlier in more regular transport for the hotel, where Day-Lewis advisedly booked a top suite for the long night ahead of him.
The President’s limousine had also been parked outside the cinema for the duration so we’re pretty safe in saying he didn’t catch a bus.
After a feast of food, an auction got under way very late in the evening to raffle off some highly-prized memorabilia from the film.
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