TALES FROM TINSELTOWN: Hellacious security steals show at premiereof Depp's latest film

It was the premiere of From Hell, and the devil himself couldn't

have slipped past security at the theater in Westwood. The stars of this

Jack the Ripper thriller, Johnny Depp and Heather Graham, showed up,

along with rocker Marilyn Manson, who wrote the film's closing

soundtrack. Too bad Whitechapel (where the Ripper murders occurred)

didn't have security like this. Guards were posted at each corner of the

intersection, and they were not to be trifled with. Westwood is home to

UCLA, and usually cute coeds can flirt their way into the perimeter. Not

this time. No ticket, no chance. You couldn't even walk across the


The will call station was also guarded. Some unfortunates had no ID and

were promptly dismissed. Thank goodness I remembered to bring my Ralph's

grocery card.

Security concerns also nixed any after-party, which meant no free beer

and snacks for yours truly. Okay, now this terrorism thing has really

hit home. (At least the popcorn and Cokes in the theater were free). The

usual media suspects were on hand, including Entertainment Tonight,

Access Hollywood, Extra, and NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Ya shoulda seen

that Lehrer swoon when Graham walked by.

The once feather-light Entertainment Tonight is trying to become a

hard-hitting, ripped-from-the-headlines show, so instead of asking Depp

and Graham about the film, they played Sam Donaldson, posing questions

about the anthrax scare. If ET really wants to adopt a harder edge, they

should explain why they're paying Mary Hart $5 million a year.

Good grief, Dan Rather probably doesn't make that much, and he's had a

song written about him. (REMember that one?)

ET showed a shot of the From Hell marquee, so I guess it's considered a

fair exchange. But I can't imagine Bob Dole being interviewed about

terrorism on Face the Nation and fielding a question about his Viagra


Even at premieres, people get up and squeeze pass to the aisle all


Some gal stumbled by three times until I scared her by saying, "Some

day, men will look back and say I gave birth to the 21st century." If

you've seen the movie or TV spots, you know what I meant. She had. Never

saw her again.

I thought the movie was great. A fascinating story, and one of Depp's

best roles ever. But I was the publicist on the film, so can you

possibly trust my opinion? Don't be ridiculous. But you can trust my

guest film critic. His name is ... um ... David Manning. Of

the ... um ... Ridgefield Press.

"I thought it was great," he says. "Fascinating story, and one of Depp's

best roles ever."

Thanks, Dave. Couldn't have said it better myself.

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