Bacon plays reporter, praises city at premiere of 'He Said, She Said'


You're reading a newspaper article about a movie. The movie is about a newspaper. Last night, at the movie's world premiere, reporters asked one of the stars what it was like to play a reporter. The actor, in turn, told them what question he would ask if he were the reporter.

Such is the circular reality of the new movie "He Said, She Said," as it played out last night at the Senator Theatre in Baltimore. The $50-per-person premiere, a benefit for the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, drew about 800 people.

Actor Kevin Bacon, whose hair was highly moussed and whose compliments to Baltimore were nearly as uplifting, attended the premiere with the two directors of the film, Ken Kwapis and Marisa Silver.

"I'm crazy about this town," said Mr. Bacon, 32, who appeared almost a decade ago in "Diner," also filmed here. "Baltimore, I think, has gotten better and better and better."

Co-star Elizabeth Perkins did not attend the premiere. The directors said she was taking a vacation after filming another movie.

"He Said, She Said," which opens nationally Feb.22, is the story of two Baltimore Sun columnists, who battle in print but fall in love between editions.

After the screening, audience members used words like "cute," "appealing" and "interesting" to describe the movie. Said local pediatrician Rich Besser, "Have you ever seen that TV show 'Love, American Style?' It was like an extended episode of that."

Baltimore filmmaker John Waters added, "I thought it was great seeing Baltimore completely through the eyes of someone who doesn't live here."

The movie was filmed in two parts, from the male and female viewpoints, by Mr. Kwapis and Ms. Silver, respectively.

"In some ways, it's more like playing two different characters," said Mr. Bacon, who attended the opening with his wife, actress Kyra Sedgwick, and his two sisters, who happen to live in Baltimore.

"He Said, She Said" was filmed in and around the city from June through August last year. The "newsroom" of the movie's Baltimore Sun is really the eighth floor of the Signet Bank building downtown, and one columnist's apartment is actually the offices of a United Way agency in Bolton Hill. Crews also filmed in Mount Vernon and northern Baltimore County.

The audience last night paid most attention to scenes of Baltimore landmarks and shots that included some of the approximately 1,000 extras cast in the film.

As always, there was disappointment for extras who learned that their scenes ended up on the cutting room floor. A bowling alley scene that might have included Linda Foxwell, the assistant cafeteria manager of Loch Raven High School, neverappeared in the final version.

Ms. Foxwell, however, can take consolation in the fact that she's at least related to someone who was seen in a big-time Hollywood picture. "My father was in 'Tin Men,' " she said, "and they did show him."

In "He Said, She Said," Mr. Bacon plays a reporter named Dan Hansen. Here's what he figured Dan would have asked actor Kevin Bacon, had he been covering the premiere.

"Dan Hansen would probably say something like this, "Lemme ask you this, 'Were you able to get Elizabeth Perkins in bed?' " Mr. Bacon said. "And the answer is no, and I didn't even try."

But there was romance off-screen -- the directors, though putting forth opposing views in the movie, are planning to collaborate on a marriage soon.

The filmmakers got the idea forthe movie from their own experience -- they were telling a friend how they met, but then found they were telling two different versions.

They chose to make their characters news reporters because it was a way to have them compete. Plus, said Mr. Kwapis, the glamour of The Sun attracted them.

"We wanted to present The Sun as this really glamorous place, all these H.L. Mencken types on this heroic mission, surrounded by all these cute girls," he explained, apparently joking.

The couple claimed that they collaborated, rather than competed, on the movie.

"Ken gets a little more time," Ms. Silver said. "But I get the last word."

Not in this interview, though.

"I'm pretty confident my version was accurate," Mr. Kwapis said, "and hers was exaggerated."

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