Last night the Daily Transom ventured out to the premiere of The Day The Earth Stood Still–a remake of the 1951 science fiction classic about an alien who comes to earth to warn the human race about invading super robots–starring Keanu Reeves (as the alien Klaatu), Jennifer Connelly, and Kathy Bates.
"You have to respect the original–and you have to respect the fans of the original that expect certain things–but you’ve also got to play to a lot of audiences that, for the most part, don’t know the original," said director Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Hellraiser: Inferno). "So basically we looked at the original and tried to figure out everything that can be updated in some form and what won’t update well. The story though is the main thing. I always loved this story of the alien coming to earth and the biggest update to the movie is the one dealing with social issues. The original was very much about its time–the Cold War and 1951 and the atomic bomb. This movie has a whole different plane of issues it is dealing with that paints a picture of where we are in the world right now."
Mr. Derrickson said that there is no actor who can pull off playing an alien better than Mr. Reeves. (We tend to agree.)
"He is an alien!" the director joked. "No, but Keanu I really do believe is an actor that has very particular gifts. I don’t think there are a lot of actors who could have done The Matrix movies and not looked ridiculous. I knew he would be able to portray the oddness and the uniqueness of an alien without it becoming silly, or over the top, or distracting."
While the appearance of Mr. Reeves and Ms. Connelly got quite a few yelps and whoos from the crowds lines up outside, no on seemed to get quite as much attention as Will Smith and wife, Jada Pinkett Smith–who, it should be noted, are not in the film, but their 10-year-old son Jaden is.
Mr. Smith, for the most part, avoided talking to press so as not to overshadow his son’s special evening, but at times couldn’t help but enjoy the attention. He signed autographs, jumped into the crowd of fans and allowed them to snap cell phone pictures, and even took a young girl’s camera and started taking photos himself.
"I’m supposed to be letting him do his thing tonight," Mr. Smith confessed to press, trying to avoid questions. "I’m supposed to be stepping back. Y’all are gonna get me in trouble!" (Nearby, Jaden seemed to be unfazed by his father’s antics and quietly continued to do interviews on the red carpet, ignoring the presence of his parents altogether.)
Mr. Smith told the Daily Transom that he’s a huge sci-fi fan, but Ms. Bates, who was fanning herself with a lacy black Victorian fan to cool off from the unnecessary heat lamps overhead, said she was never a big follower of the genre.
"I love the Alien movies, but I was never really a Trekkie," she said. "The geekiest thing I do is watch American Idol. Is that geeky?"
When Don Draper–oops, we mean Jon Hamm–made his way down the carpet, the Daily Transom inquired whether he was ever a sci-fi geek.
"Yeah, big time!" he said. "I grew up in the ’70s and ’80s so I had Star Wars, and Close Encounters, and Blade Runner and 2001. It was an awesome time for sci-fi."
When Mr. Hamm was asked if he still does anything geeky, his girlfriend, Jennifer Westfeldt, rolled her eyes and affectionately nodded yes.
"Oh yeah, I’m a big comic book guy and–"
"Video games, video games, video games!" exclaimed Ms. Westfedt.
"Yes, for a long time I had an Xbox in my trailer, but now we’re two or three generations away from that," said Mr. Hamm. "I have a Wii that’s sitting in my office that I have yet to unpack because I know that will be a time sucker."