NYT Article with pic at link and 12 photo slide show link):
Another Kind of White House ‘Visit’
Casey Kelbaugh for The New York Times
Washington-bound visitors hoping to tour the White House got some bad news early this month when the Obama administration canceled all tours because of the sequestration. But for those still seeking a visit, a bloody action thriller opening next week called “Olympus Has Fallen” may be at least as exciting.
The film is about a terrorist takeover of “the most protected building on earth” by forces far more aggressive than those coming from the House of Representatives. And, boy, do they wreak havoc on those interiors.
On Monday night, a screening hosted by the Cinema Society was held at the Tribeca Grand hotel, with actors working the red carpet like politicians at fund-raisers.
“I should count myself lucky because I got to attend a luncheon given by Michelle Obama before the sequestration,” said Angela Bassett, who plays the besieged director of the Secret Service in the movie. “But it’s too bad I didn’t get a tour as well.”
Next in line was Gerard Butler, who stars as a discredited former Secret Service agent intent on saving the president and his young son. “Washington is beautiful,” he said. “But is it a place where I’d live? Absolutely not. It’s full of politicians, and that’s really scary.”
As the lights went down on a crowd that included the designer Rachel Roy, Paul Haggis and Courtney Vance, the carnage began. For nearly two hours it never lets up. Machine guns fire away under chandeliers and presidential portraits. A bronze bust of Abraham Lincoln is used to crush the head of a bad guy. Half the White House set, which is designed and decorated so meticulously that it could be the real thing, explodes in flames in a way that anyone craving a video game or political purging would find cathartic.
And because the president is being held hostage and the vice president is dead, guess who gets to be the acting Potus? The speaker of the House, not as played by John Boehner but Morgan Freeman, with his typical paternal and presidential control.
When it ended and the credits rolled, the audience cheered. “Wow,” said Harvey Weinstein as he shook Mr. Butler’s hand with gusto; in the lobby, he accosted Antoine Fuqua, the director. “You’ll do a hundred-million-plus,” he told him (box-office-speak for big).
Mr. Fuqua shot off sparks and a big smile as Mr. Weinstein walked away. “From his mouth to God’s ears,” he said.
Later, at a raucous party at the Darby on West 14th Street, where black S.U.V.’s lined up at the curb as if in a presidential motorcade, Mr. Fuqua received gleeful guests in front of a banquette where his children; his wife, the actress Lela Rochon, and Star Jones sat with a heap of mini-burgers.
“Isn’t the movie way too violent for your young children?” someone asked him.
“I tried to tell them they couldn’t come, but my daughter started to cry and it was a battle I just couldn’t win,” Mr. Fuqua said. “It shows who’s in charge in our house.”
Controlling a $100 million movie is nothing compared with a determined child.