A Cozy Premiere for Keanu Reeves
by Bee-Shyuan Chang
KEANU REEVES likes to play the nice guy. “They’re not always easy characters, but they’re a pleasure to play,” he said Monday night during a screening for his new movie, “Henry’s Crime,” a comedy about a bank heist in which he plays the title role. “There’s a feel-good element to it.”
Mr. Reeves, the star of “The Matrix,” wore his locks lank and chin-length but balanced the slacker style with a navy suit and black V-neck. It was not exactly red-carpet attire, but then again this was not a splashy premiere. “Henry’s Crime” is a small indie film by Malcolm Venville. And the screening, which took place at the Landmark Sunshine Theater on the Lower East Side, was jolly and casual.
Still, it drew a smattering of big names, thanks to his estimable co-stars, Vera Farmiga and James Caan, and one of the evening’s hosts, Andrew Saffir, whose intimate Cinema Society gatherings are attended by socialites and celebrities.
“I’m a tremendous fan of Keanu’s,” said Stephen Baldwin, who arrived at the theater with a Bluetooth headset tucked into his left ear. “I ran into him in L.A., and we started talking cars, and he invited me to the movie.”
A Baldwin aside, the crowd was long on lithe, pretty young things like the model Genevieve Morton and the actress Tika Sumpter, with a smattering of more seasoned New Yorkers like Candice Bergen and the restaurateur Drew Nieporent.
After the screening, the audience glided en masse to the after-party, a few blocks away at the Trilby, the bar and restaurant at the Cooper Square Hotel. Trays of DeLeón margaritas and a substantial buffet of roast chicken, spaghetti and grilled vegetables were at the ready.
With the din reaching nightclub decibels, the reality-show star Olivia Palermo and Johannes Huebl, a German model, snuggled in a quiet corner booth.
By about 11 p.m., more night owls had showed up, including Courtney Love, who said that she had spent the day house-hunting in Rhinebeck, N.Y. Looking as if she were ready for the Oscars in a blush-colored evening gown and Christian Louboutin Maralena peep-toe pumps, Ms. Love showed off some real estate candy on her iPhone, including the indoor clay tennis courts at the Astor Courts. “I love playing tennis,” she said.
Ms. Farmiga, meanwhile, was in family mode. Seated next to her sister, Ms. Farmiga wore a Lela Rose black cocktail dress and was relieved to have the next two weeks off. Despite giving birth in November, she has been traveling nonstop.
She pulled away to greet Mr. Reeves, her onscreen lover.
“He’s mysterious,” Ms. Farmiga said. “He’s one part very frank, one part childlike and, on the other hand, philosophical. He vacillates like a pendulum.”
Blushing discernibly, Mr. Reeves suggested an explanation: “Maybe I’m just shy.”