Eclectic crowd walks Evan green carpet
A varied swath of Charlottesville citizenry turned out for the local premiere of Evan Almighty. Former mayor Maurice Cox, City Councilor Dave Norris, a Code Pinker and a local homeless guy were among those with coveted tickets to get into the Paramount and the after party at the Omni.
Director Tom Shadyac plugged his two pet projects: the First Street Church, which he's purchased to turn into a homeless day shelter, and the new, yet-to-be-built Crozet library. "We didn't want to pillage while we were here," Shadyac told the local press, corralled at the entrance to the theater.
"Two words: living wage," said Shadyac, keeping the social-issue commentary rolling, and getting in a plug for the Virginia Organizing Project. Shadyac's own social conscience provided a theme for the movie– and its marketing.
On the green carpet, the Conservation Fund's Jenna Thompson described how her organization "helped zero out the carbon imprint" of the film by planting trees and recycling materals.
Evan is "a Bible parable," said Shadyac. "We wanted to find meaning in it." And of course the movie has God– Morgan Freeman, who was not in attendance at the local premiere.
As for his own religious leanings, Shadyac calls himself a "tweener." Said the director of the family-oriented film, "I like to find the spaces between faiths." Raised a Catholic, Shadyac cites the influence of Sufi mystics and philosophers.
And he's philosophic about the cost of the movie that's being called the most expensive comedy ever made. It's those darn animals that drove the cost up– "north of $170 million," according to Shadyac. "It wouldn't have cost as much if we hadn't come here... They told me how much it's going to cost, and I went, 'Wow.'"