The buzz builds for Bee Movie during its NYC premiere attended by Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Renee Zellweger and Matthew Broderick. The stars behind the cartoon voices scoot down the black-and-yellow carpet amidst partygoers wearing black-and-yellow bee-style headbands.
Tina Fey’s 2-year-old daughter Alice clings while mom chats with Chris, and James Gandolfini dashes through with a woman and child in tow.
“Your mommy’s funny,” Chris tells lil’ Alice. Moments later, Tina tells Alice, “Say ‘bye’ Chris Rock.”
Jerry is delighted to see OK! “It’s just when I read OK!, I look at different stories of the celebrity trainwrecks, and I think ‘OK,’” he tells me, changing his voice for emphasis on each ‘OK.’ “And I turn the page and I go ‘OK.’ There’s a lot of other versions of that.”
The animated film took four years to make. “I feel like a baby that’s been in a tummy for four years, and suddenly I see a shaft of light,” creator Jerry, who voices the leading bee, says. “It’s like ‘OK, I’m coming out, I can’t wait to start my next life.’ It takes a long time, but I figured that four years is going to go by anyway, so you might as well have something to show for it at the end.”
What inspired him to do a movie about insects? “I wanted to do something different. Bees are something that everyone’s aware of. They know that they make honey and they live in these hives. I thought ‘it reminds me of Manhattan, where I live. It’s very crowded and it’s different.’ It seemed like a silly, funny setting for a movie.”
Next up is Chris, who tells me he was thrilled to play a mosquito in the flick. “I was just happy to be involved. When the big boys have a project, you’re always like ‘can I get some? Can I get some?’ I’m just happy he let me get some.” The project came together before he and Jerry met for lunch. “Before we do a corn beef sandwich he said ‘can you do a line?’ Normally a line means cocaine but here a line meant a line in the movie. Not Jerry, he doesn’t do cocaine.” But what’s the message? “Don’t get stung by a bee. Everybody is trying to hug bees, and the message is to stay away.”
Here is Renee, strolling through with a young boy she calls Huckleberry. A reporter tells her that her character looks like a cross between Jerry’s wife, Jessica, and herself. “Aw, don’t get saucy,” she says. How did she prepare to play an animated florist who falls in love with a bee? “Put on your sweatpants and show up. It’s fantastic.”
Producer Christina Steinberg, whose little girls turn heads with their bee wings, tells me Renee modeled her character from a seventies movie. “She said ‘remember that movie Harold and Maude?’ It was an 80-year-old woman who had a friendship with a teenage boy. She said ‘I’m like Maude in this, except a young Maude. That’s how I can have a relationship with a bee.’” Christina urges me to stay until the end of the flick. “Matthew [Broderick] and Jerry sing a song at the end of the credits.”
Before moving into the screening, a pail of goodies awaits us complete with a cheese-and-salami sandwich, Baked Lays, banana, delicious bee cookie, straw filled with honey, movie stickers and a movie pencil. There’s a choice of Minute Maid box drink or Coca-Cola … decisions, decisions.
Check out Bee Movie, in theaters Friday. (It’s cute!)