In the movie world you would not expect a smallish screening for a movie like Rock the Kasbah to have a night like this, but Bill Murray has great karma. Rock legends turned out in East Hampton Friday night: Sir Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, to start. Bill Murray plays a down on his luck music manager in Barry Levinson's new movie, Rock the Kasbah. The premise is simple: he takes his "talent" (Zooey Deschanel) to tour in Kabul, Afghanistan. Arriving after a scary flight to the desolate site--the actual location in Morocco never looked so drab-- he says, "Think Aspen in wartime." Truth is, you take Bill Murray anywhere, and he's funny as hell. The things he says in anyone else's mouth might not crack you up as much. But take him to this dangerous desert, and you get comic genius.
Along the way he meets up with a heavily tattooed mercenary played by Bruce Willis, and a gorgeous hooker, Kate Hudson, in fact so gorgeous you want to know, what's a gorgeous girl like you doing in a place like this. Bill Murray and Kate Hudson share some kinky moments. Add to the absurd juxtapositions, a young Afghani singer, beautiful daughter of a local chieftain, who wants to make it big time in Afghanistan's version of "American Idol," but of course is now in jeopardy of losing her head for exposing face and voice, publically singing Cat Stevens' Peace Train. This part of Mitch Glazer's surreal script is actually based upon a true story. Yikes!
The music world must have heard the drumbeats. East Hampton's Blue Parrot, a place for tequila and quesadillas no bigger than the average Hamptons sitting room and situated inside the town's parking lot was packed with well wishers for an elite after party that spilled out onto the pavement: Barry Levinson, Bill Murray and Bruce Willis greeted Sir Paul, the Boss, Jon Bon Jovi, all chatting amiably in various parts of the space. John Mellencamp, Bruce Weber, Jimmy Buffett, GE Smith, Jann Wenner, Christie Brinkley, and others joined in. But there was Bill Clinton, famed former president, husband to a front running candidate, and jazz sax player whose silver head shone like a beacon at the room's center. Everyone wanted to pay his respects. When bespectacled character actor Bob Balaban was introduced, Clinton, gracious in every way, turned the table, exclaiming, "I've seen all your films. I'm a big fan."
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.