June 28, 2003
By Elizabeth Snead and Jennifer Sklar
REEF MADNESS: It was pretty easy finding Nemo at the “Coral Reef Adventure” ‘ premiere Wednesday night at the Universal City IMAX.
The little clown fish and all his finned friends were among the underwater stars of a spectacular film, which opens in L.A. next January, about the coral reef crisis.
The premiere was part of a fund/awareness-raiser for UCLA’s Reef Check, an organization that monitors, restores and maintains coral reef health.
Supportive stars Nastassja Kinski, Linda Gray, Ed Begley Jr., Colleen Camp and Steve Valentine were on hand to praise director Greg MacGillivray’s film.
“Adventure” ‘ tracks ocean adventurers Howard and Michele Hall’s dives to investigate the destruction of coral reefs, known as “underwater rain forests.” ‘
“When I first discovered the vast (colorful) universe under the sea, I was forever changed,” ‘ said Wendie Malick, the gala’s environmentally active hostess, who first learned to snorkel in 1970. She thinks “Adventure” s” deep-sea beauty will make viewers young and old visit www.reefcheck.org to find ways to help save the seas and the planet.
Malick, clad in a clingy, colorful Kenzo dress, admitted she hasn’t seen that other inspirational oceanographic odyssey, “Finding Nemo.” ‘ But she had been deeply influenced by “The Italian Job” ‘ and its thrilling Mini-Cooper car chase scenes.
“I finally got rid of my gas-guzzling SUV,” ‘ Malick admitted. “But I just couldn” t do one of the hybrids so I bought a Mini and I love it. I need to have fun when I drive.”
A silent auction of “Titanic,” “Gangs of New York” and “Catch Me If You Can” books and film posters donated by Reef Check volunteer/activist Leonardo DiCaprio (filming a new movie and unable to attend) went fast at the film’s after-party. Even a “Nemo” ‘ poster and stuffed clown fish went for several hundred dollars.