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It's All About Alfie

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LAist attended a screening of "Alfie" at the ArcLight last night. Sponsored by Variety's Screening Series, viewers got to watch the film and enjoy a Q&A with the film's director Charles Shyer and writer Elaine Pope.The film is very entertaining, if lightweight; it's sexy, stylish and has a groovy soundtrack showcasing the talents of Dave Stewart and Mick Jagger. Jude Law's performance finally delivers on the promise of his turn as Dickie Greenleaf in "The Talented Mr. Ripley." We've never seen Law so relaxed and funny.

Variety's moderator commented on this during the Q&A session after the film. He asked how Shyer got such a good performance from the actor.

Shyer explained that he spent a lot of time with the actor working on the soul of the character. The two spent a week in a hotel going through the script. Shyer told Law his thoughts about the character and the situation on every page so that the two were in synch before they started shooting. They practiced Law's monologues into the camera so that the actor felt comfortable on set. Shyer also observed that since he's done a lot of comedies his confidence encouraged the actor to really be at ease and trust his comedic instincts.

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It shows. All of the actors deliver strong performances, especially Omar Epps as Alfi's best buddy.

Another viewer commented on how much smoking occurs in the film. The filmmakers explained that since most of the film was shot in England -shot there for advantageous tax rebates (uh, oh looks like Vancouver's days are numbered), they wanted to capture the relaxed European vibe and felt smoking also communicated the film's retro flavor. Ironically, when Vanity Fair 's Graydon Carter, a vocally defiant smoker in real life, turns up in the film during a brief cameo, he's one of the few characters not sucking on a cancerstick. The filmmakers also observed that Paramount execs didn't seem to object to the film's smokiness.

Neither did LAist. We don't know if it was subliminal advertising or Law's raffish sexiness, but we left the theater craving a cigarette.

And we don't even smoke.