Film is a hot-button topic in Wilmington as of late. With the incentives debate becoming as heated as ever given recent events in the NC General Assembly, it seems as good a time as any to take a breather and celebrate a locally housed production. Wilmington’s “Tammy” premiere party will bring a taste of the red carpet to Wilmington this Wednesday, July 2nd.
Melissa McCarthy (“Bridesmaids,” “Heat,” Identity Thief”) takes on the movie’s title role. She plays a woman who just lost her job and found out her husband is cheating. Spurred by these events, she embarks on a road trip with her hard-drinking grandmother, Pearl (Susan Sarandon).
The film spent $14.5 million dollars locally. Though there are no exact numbers on how many people the production employed, Johnny Griffin maintains a production of this size typically utilizes a local crew of 150. As well, the film utilized two songs—”Hard to Handle” and “John Henry”—by local bluegrass outfit Big Al and Possum Creek. McCarthy discovered the band while frequenting bluegrass night at Satellite Bar and Lounge.
Khalilah Olokunola, eco-chic event planner at A Boxed Event, experienced her first foray into movie-premiere planning with last year’s “Iron Man 3.” “I was on set for [the film] and had a conversation with a local actress,” Olokunola explains. “And I thought, I do events for a living; I’m going to do a red-carpet premiere party!”
She immediately contacted everyone involved with the production. After securing an early screening, she pre-booked the Regal Mayfaire Cinema 16. Over 450 attendees were treated to a celebration at the Homewood Suites in Mayfaire Town Center. The celebration featured “Iron Man 3”-inspired cuisine. Attendees strutted down the red carpet to catch a first look of the film. “Since that was successful, I thought I’d do it again!” Olokunola proclaims.
The “Tammy” premiere party will be held at The Terraces on Sir Tyler. Having worked with Bob King Autohaus Mercedes Benz when creating Wilmington Fashion Week in April, Olokunola approached them again. A portion of the night’s proceeds will go to the Cape Fear American Heart Association. “[We have] a good relationship,” she says, “and they were on board with partying for a cause.” The Cape Fear Heart Association will be selling raffle tickets for folks to win prizes like a director’s chair signed by the cast of “Tammy.” The venue will come alive with myriad extras, crew members and film enthusiasts. Among them will be local casting director Marty Sui.
“Casting roughly 2,000 extras in such a short time was challenging; however, it was a joy to work with Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone and the rest of that amazing cast and crew,” Sui details. “A lot of sleep deprivation occurred, considering the number of extras needed for these fun shots, but our local background actors were so excited to work with this cast that their attitudes remained professional and positive despite the work hours (many times into the wee hours of the morning) and heat. [I’m] so looking forward to seeing this film!”
Among the extras were Pine Valley Market proprietors Christi Ferretti and Kathy Webb. “We have been anticipating this movie premiere since last summer,” Ferretti declares. “It seemed like the whole community was touched by ‘Tammy’ in some way last year. There was a positive current of energy on set and about town during filming. This party is like a reward for all those who worked so hard to bring this film to life. It’s going to be a blast!”
Attendees of the premiere party will get the Hollywood treatment by stepping onto the 100-foot red carpet. There will be a step-and-repeat with some paparazzi in tow for folks to have their pictures made. Wilmington transportation service, Event Shuttle, will offer attendees a chance to arrive in style for a small fee.
Once inside the venue, guests can nosh on some Topper Jacks-inspired fare. (Topper Jacks is the fast-food restaurant Tammy is fired from in the film, which utilized Two Fat Ladies over a Simmering Pot off Dawson Street as its location.) Delectables will include gourmet mini-burgers, chicken tenders with a choice between three chef-made sauces and French fries. Sweet-tooths will be sated with mini apple pies and apple turnovers, among other desserts. There also will be an open wine bar. The “Tammy” trailer will be displayed on mounted screens, as music by DJ Brian Hood permeates the soiree. The party will shift to the screening portion at 8:30 p.m. as guests will make their way over to Mayfaire Cinema 16 (900 Town Center Dr); however, only the first 150 ticket holders will be guaranteed admission.
“There is a prestige and bragging rights that come from walking the red carpet and being to say I was in that film,” Olokunola enthuses. “It’s my hope that Wilmington film is continually recognized as viable, [and] an important component of what defines us and makes us who we are. We aren’t just a beach town, a small city off the coast with a port—we are Wilmywood—a place of opportunity and creativity that has breathed life into countless TV shows and movies!”
Tammy Premiere Party
Tuesday, July 2nd, 6 p.m.
The Terraces on Sir Tyler
1826 Sir Tyler Dr.
Tickets start at $25