May 12, 2000
Columnist Kate Maddox: Celebs litter 'Battlefield' premiere Kate Maddox's column appears Fridays, Sundays and Tuesdays. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The red carpet was surprisingly packed with stars at Thursday night's Las Vegas premiere of John Travolta's new sci-fi movie, "Battlefield Earth." Most of Travolta's heavy-hitter Hollywood pals had already caught the film's earlier New York or Los Angeles premieres, but there were still a few stars, mostly Scientology followers, willing to take in the flick again at the Showcase United Artist theater on the Strip.
Sexy Gina Gershon arrived with former "Northern Exposure" star Rob Morrow. Gershon, who made the scene in a shimmery white dress and fishnet stockings, posed for cameras before hurrying into the theater. Other stars included Juliette Lewis (clinging tightly to her new husband), singing sensation Chaka Khan, former "Wings" star Crystal Bernard and stars of Fox's "That '70s Show."
Kathy Najimy arrived with her "Veronica's Closet" co-star Kirstie Alley. Alley, who is a devoted follower of Scientology, called Travolta one of her closest friends. The two worked together on the "Look Who's Talking" movies -- during Travolta's pre-"Pulp Fiction" lean years. Alley, who said she will be working on two new movies this summer, raved about "Battlefield Earth," saying that it had some "incredible messages" -- whatever that means.
The film is based on one of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's novels. Critics have panned early screenings of the movie (see Roger Ebert's incredulous review on page 5C) and, from the general response of the crowd at the after-party, it looks like they're on the money. Some movie-goers described it as one of the worst films they'd seen in recent memory. Other members of the audience said it was bad -- at best.
Despite the not-so-flattering reviews, Travolta and wife/co-star Kelly Preston were all smiles at the premiere. Before the post-party festivities at the MGM Grand's Studio 54, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman presented Travolta with a key to the city -- and he also did a stunningly poor, but still kind of funny, attempt to duplicate the star's famous dance moves from "Saturday Night Fever."
Afterward, most of the VIPs at the nightclub boogied right out the door and back to their chartered planes to L.A.