- Title: USA/ UNITED KINGDOM: 'EVITA' PREMIERES IN HOLLYWOOD
- Date: 13th December 1996
- Summary: ( LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES ) (DECEMBER 14 1996 ) (RTV - ACCESS ALL) EXTERIOR OF SHRINE AUDITORIUM WHERE PREMIERE WAS HELD A FAN HOLDS A MADONNA SIGN FANS SCREAMING
- Embargoed: 28th December 1996 12:00
- Location: LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES; LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM AND FILM LOCATIONS
- Country: USA
- Reuters ID: LVADG4SL0261PY11FUQ0GLTALX95
- Story Text: It was a spectacle the real Evita would have adored -- stands packed with screaming fans, a crush of tuxedos and evening gowns and all eyes on the star.
The star, of course, was Madonna and the event was the long-awaited world premiere on Saturday (December 14) of the big screen version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Evita".
Madonna attended the film's Los Angeles premiere escorted by her partner, Carlos Leon and co-star Antonio Banderas. Alongside Banderas was his wife, Melanie Griffith and mother-in-law Tippi Hedren.
"I feel like Cinderella," an emotional Madonna said as she strode down the red carpet in front of thousands of screaming fans.
Director Alan Parker and producer Andy Vajna were also there.
Inside the premiere, at Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium, more than 4,000 people waiting for the film to begin could watch a video of arriving celebrities. They included James Woods, Glenn Close and Evita composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Madonna, wearing a rose-coloured dress with a nipped-in waist, was one of several celebrities who turned out for the event wearing outfits inspired by Eva Peron's era.
"Evita" follows the rise and fall of one of Latin America's most famous and influential women, Eva Duarte Peron -- the wife of former populist Argentinian dictator and president Juan Peron.
As first lady of Argentina from 1946 until 1952, Eva Peron became loved by labor unions and the peasant class for her philanthropic deeds. She was reviled, however, by the middle and upper classes and the military establishment.
She died of cancer at the age of 33 on July 26, 1952.
The film is based on the stage musical "Evita" which opened on the West End in London in 1978. It soon went on to become one of the greatest musical theatre hits ever seen in England.
It moved to Broadway in 1979 starring Patti LuPone and won seven Tony Awards. Webber collaborated with lyricist Tim Rice for the sake of a new song for this film version,despite the pair's well-known aversion to working with each other any more.
This is by far the biggest film role for Madonna, who is far better-known for her work in pop and dance music.
Some of her past film work, including "Shanghi Surprise" with former husband Sean Penn and "Who's That Girl," has been both critically and financially disasterous.
Madonna lobbied director Alan Parker for the role of Eva Peron with a four-page hand written letter detailing why she felt she'd be the only one who could successfully play the part.
It was this letter that impressed Parker enough to convince him to test Madonna for the part.
But casting was only one of Parker's many challenges in making the film. He had to move huge film crews around three countries and two continents.
The crew filmed much of the movie in Argentina, where it was met with overwhelming public and media attention.
Criticism greeted the project as soon as the film's entourage arrived in Buenos Aries. The name Eva Peron is still able to generate great passions throughout Argentina both from her supporters and detractors.
"Evita's" cast and crew had to contend with journalists and paparazzi following their every move. They also had to deal with grafitti on the streets of Buenos Aries saying "Go Home Madonna," and "Chiao Alan Parker and your English task force." As well starring in the film, Madonna herself proved pivotal in securing clearances from the current Argentinian government to film in certain locations.
Many of the film's key sequences take part on the balcony of Casa Rosada, where the real Eva Peron gave many of her stirring speeches.
Parker wanted to film at Casa Rosada but was repeatedly denied by President Carlos Menem. But after an hour-long meeting with Madonna, Menem changed his mind and allowed the filming to take place a few days later.
The crew then moved onto Budapest, Hungary -- chosen because it is said to look more like the Buenos Aries of the 1940s than the actual city -- to shoot the massive Eva Peron funeral sequence.
This scene involved more than 4,000 extras, military vehicles and motorcycles. It took two days to film.
Finally, the crew moved onto Shepperton Studios outside London to finish the project.
But even before any scenes were shot, the entire crew spent 400 recording hours preparing the 49 musical sections that were necessary for playback on set.
For many involved with the production, it was like making two movies -- first the music, then the visual action that accompanies it because the film includes no spoken dialogue.
Madonna's wardrobe alone consisted of 85 period outfits, 39 hats, 45 pairs of shoes and 56 pairs of earrings. Almost all of these were handmade in London.
The chief hairstylist created 42 different hair designs for Madonna.
Her costumes dealt with, Madonna again returned to working on her voice. The singer worked with top vocal coach, Joan Lader and the film's musical supervisor, David Caddick, to expand her vocal range -- using voice areas she had never before touched upon.
Alan Parker is a veteran of the films "Angel Heart," "Mississippi Burning," "The Commitments," "Birdy," "Fame," and in 1977, "Midnight Express," for which he won the Oscar for Best Director.
"Evita", which opens throughout the United States on Christmas Day, premieres in London on Thursday (December 19).
Madonna arrived in London ahead of the premiere on Tuesday. The star attended a party for designer Gianni Versace at London's The Ivy restaurant.
Fans waiting to catch a glimpse of Madonna arriving at the restaurant were disappointed -- the star, surrounded by bodyguards, was seen only by a few photographers and passers-by.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2014. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None