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Free-flowing mojitos, half-naked fire eaters and sprawling, palm-tree appointed views of the city?
Magic City star Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s alter ego, Miami hotelier Ike Evans, would approve. But before guests enjoyed an exclusive after party at Magic City creator Mitch Glazer and wife Kelly Lynch’s private home in the Hollywood Hills, around 120 guests watched the first episode of season two of Starz’ stylish drama set in the 1950s about Miami’s most glamorous hotel, the Miramar Playa, and the mobsters who keep it running.
“This has been a passion project for Mitch about his childhood,” said Starz CEO Chris Albrecht, introducing the episode inside an intimate screening room at AFI. “It’s about his teenage years spent going in and out of cabanas — and everything else teenagers want to go in and out of.” (Glazer’s father, an electrical engineer, did all the special lighting effects at fancy hotels in Miami Beach.)
Morgan was absent due to his filming schedule, but several cast members turned out for the screening, including Danny Huston, who earned a Golden Globe nomination for playing snaky mob boss Ben Diamond (he sat next to his legendary half-sister, Anjelica Huston), and Olga Kurylenko, who recently appeared alongside Tom Cruise in Oblivion, and is Huston’s real-life love. (She plays Ike Evans’ dutiful ex-dancer wife, Vera Evans.) And Lynch, who appears as wealthy Grace Kelly-ish WASP Meg Bannock. “She doesn’t need anybody for security,” said Lynch of her character. “She needs fun — like any man.”
Also seated in the audience were actor and Miami native Andy Garcia, a high-school classmate of Glazer’s whose daughter Dominik Garcia-Lorido appears in Magic City; burlesque star Dita Von Teese; and brother-sister acting-dancing pair Julianne and Derek Hough, who are currently developing the ballroom dancing drama Blackpool for the network.
Following the screening, guests made their way to the exclusive after party at Glazer’s and Lynch’s home, where they’ve lived since 1992 and which was designed by architect John Lautner. Guests enjoyed (even more) mojitos, snacks such as mini-tostadas and roasted corn from Border Grill (which catered with a Cuban-inspired menu), sprawling views of the Griffith Park Observatory all the way to Hollywood and live Cuban music courtesy of a quartet performing in the living room.
THR editorial director Janice Min and publisher Lynne Segall also mingled and made the rounds with their co-host Glazer, who expressed relief at a screening gone well. “It’s great to see it play out as beautifully as it did,” said Glazer, drinking a martini, of the second-season premiere. “After a while it’s like, ‘Release the hounds!’ Let’s get this out in the world.”
Nearby, Kurylenko snapped photos with friends and chatted with cast and crew members. “Mitch never tells us what’s going to happen,” she said. “So we are just as excited as the audience to find out!”
Also at the party were Chelsea Handler, Whitney Cummings and Owen Wilson, who retreated to the backyard to chat for most of the party with actress China Chow. But they had ideal seats for the highlight of the evening — a female fire-eater dancer who swallowed flames as a sax player followed her around the house.
“I have to get this photo!” exclaimed actress Sanaa Lathan, who appeared in the erstwhile Starz drama Boss, and nabbed a few decent iPhone pics of the performer, despite the dark night skies. Danny Huston and sister Anjelica also enjoyed the scene.
“It’s very exciting to have a party at a location that looks like the set of the show,” said Albrecht. “When we sell the show abroad, the style of it really helps. Also, when we say ‘It’s like Mad Men meets The Godfather‘ – that’s a huge boost too.”
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