Thursday, April 18, 2024

“Beast” Premiere: After Slap, Will Packer Says He’ll “Never” Produce the Oscars Again, It’s for “the End of a Career”


“Beast” is coming from Universal next Friday, August 19th with a big roar. Last night the studio threw a big time splashy premiere screening the movie at the Museum of Modern Art and then a swinging dinner at Nobu 57 complete with a deejay and dancing. It was almost like old times.

“Beast” is kind of a horror thriller set in South Africa directed by Baltasar Korm├íkur with pulse-racing CGI lions, Idris Elba showing off his talents as a major leading man, Sharlto Copley turning in his best performance since “District Nine,” and phenomenal cinematography from Philippe Rousselot, and a screenplay by Ryan Engle that brings depth and humor to what could have been a simple set up. Universal has a hit, I think: the audience loved it with a capital L.

Most interesting person at Nobu goes to Will Packer, who produced — or survived — this year’s Oscars including the three hosts and the world-shattering Will Smith slap of Chris Rock. Packer is already a popular Hollywood figure. He emceed last night’s party and proved to be a gregarious host. And no one slapped him!

Would he produce the Oscars again, I asked? “Never!” he cried. “It’s really a job for someone at the end of their career, who’s not busy with a regular schedule. It takes so much work!”

“Beast,” about a rogue lion who’s lost his mind– yes, there is such a thing, at least in this movie — comes from an idea from writer and producer Jamie Primack Sullivan. She pitched it, and before you could say Simba the idea was green-lit. Among her next films? “I have a Judd Apatow project. I can’t discuss it yet, but it’s female-led.” So stay tuned…

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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