`Evita' stars appear on a 20-foot screen


SOMEHOW even in this technosmart age, whenever the word satellite is followed by the words link-up, you can only marvel at the optimism of the organisers.

However last night for the Irish premiere of Evita at the Savoy, it worked.

The film's stars, Madonna and Antonio Banderas, were in England for its London premiere so the only way they could put in a simultaneous appearance in Dublin was electronically - hence the 20-foot-square outdoor screen perched on the wall beside the Savoy.

After showing a teaser video of clips of Evita to premiere goers and passing traffic, the link-up went live to London for the glitzy arrival of the stars at the Leicester Square cinema.

Upper O'Connell Street was like a drive-by movie - the good old fashioned premiere excitement and glamour was all there but it was on screen so it all seemed more than a bit remote and slightly secondhand.

Dave Fanning, who was in London with a film crew, interviewed Madonna who looked stunning in a lime green sheath dress.

He was also able to ambush Antonio Bandaras who was accompanied by his wife, Melanie Griffith - Jonathan Pryce and Jimmy Nail.

Evita, which cost $39 million to make, is the screen version of the successful stage musical on the life of Eva Peron. There is very little dialogue, just a lot of very familiar songs including that staple of tired and emotional sing-songs everywhere, Don't Cry For Me Argentina.

Madonna, who has drawn parallels between herself and Eva Peron of `the small town girl who made it big variety', has said she expects an Oscar nomination.

The Irish premiere was in aid of the Arthritis Foundation of Ireland. While it didn't have any of the film's stars in attendance, there were some home-grown premiere-goers, including Clodagh and Gerald Kean, and Sharon Devlin and her husband Tony Smurfit.

Last night's screening in Dublin was followed by an Argentine gala party at the Riverview Club.