On the yellow carpet of the wacky ''Simpsons Movie'' premiere, the folks behind Homer and Co. talked about their big-screen debut and their guest-star wish list

By Carrie Bell
July 29, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT
Chris Polk/FilmMagic.com

Giant inflatables, a Duff Beer blimp, standees of a yellow hand grabbing a doughnut: Tuesday’s world premiere of The Simpsons Movie definitely brought a taste of Springfield to Los Angeles. ”I’m gonna try to get that one for the backyard,” joked Julie Kavner, pointing to the balloon version of her character Marge’s signature blue hair. Another sign this was not your typical L.A. event: Kavner arrived a very un-diva-like 10 minutes early. ”My training says you better be there ready to work on time or not at all. To me, being early is polite behavior, not a faux paus.”

The rest of the series’ voice cast, along with its creators, past guest stars (Mark Hamill, Michelle Kwan, NSync’s JC Chasez, and Dr. Phil McGraw), and celebrity fans (Kevin Smith, Heroes‘ Greg Grunberg and Masi Oka, Judd Apatow, and Erika Christensen) arrived in short order to walk down the yellow carpet, where fans held paper character masks, a live band played the opening bars of the Simpsons theme, and yellow confetti rained down. Local Westwood haunt Stan’s handed out free pink-frosted doughnuts to passersby, including Dan ”Homer” Castellaneta, who took his pastry down the press line. His ode to his character stopped there, though: ”Although I don’t often have to get dressed up, be presentable, and have my picture taken, it never once crossed my mind to wear a Homer suit,” he said. ”I have in the past, but now it’s in my contract that they can’t make me wear one. It wouldn’t have been a good choice tonight anyway. It’s very muggy and those suits are hot and heavy. Also, whoever was seated behind me inside would have been pissed.”

At the after-party, held a few miles away in a grassy lot at the Veteran’s Administration complex, the yellow fever continued: Besides a Couch Gag photo booth and animated projections played against giant screens, guests enjoyed enough goodies to make Homer jealous — tacos, Squishees (in the virgin and adult varieties), Flanders hot cocoa creations (as seen in the film), yellow candy bars, and Rice Krispie treats. ”When you work on something for four straight years — and it has actually been longer than that if you count all of our brainstorming and false starts — this is the only kind of premiere to have,” said producer/writer James L. Brooks. ”You have to go all out because everybody has been cooped up for so long. And you have to secure a lot of junk food and alcohol in case nobody laughed at the screening.”

Brooks and executive producer Al Jean confirmed they are already back at work on the show’s 19th season. It’s a feat unmatched in the TV world, and for Hank Azaria (who voices many Simpsons characters, including fan favorites Chief Wiggum, Apu, and Comic Book Guy), it is a little hard to believe how far the show has come from its humble beginnings on The Tracey Ullman Show. ”Not only is this my longest career association, but it’s the longest relationship I have ever been in, period. Good thing Dr. Phil is here tonight. I gotta talk to him about whether that is unhealthy or not.”

NEXT PAGE: The Simpsons team on their dream guests stars

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