Sony Entertainment and Columbia Pictures Host SALT Junket in Washington, D.C.

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SALT, a Sony Entertainment/Columbia Pictures film recently hosted its press junket which included a debut screening of the film, followed by an exclusive reception with panel discussion at The International Spy Museum and a Spy City Tour of espionage hot spots in Washington, DC.

The press debut of SALT, held at the Regal Gallery Theater, was the first full length showing of the new action adventure directed by Philip Noyce and starring Angelina Jolie as CIA Operative Evelyn Salt.

SALT, produced by Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and in cooperation with Sony Pictures Entertainment and Columbia Pictures, portrays Jolie in the traditional male role of action hero, wrongly accused government agent with a twist.

Tom Ridge, former Homeland Security Secretary, Headlines Espionage Expert Panel

The film is filled with multiple elements, adding layer upon layer of intrigue and old fashioned suspense so that one is not sure exactly who the traitor is even to the last minutes of the film.

A big screen, fast action high suspense espionage thriller is guaranteed to shake up the summer box office. Interesting for those who are Operative hobbyist’s and with the current headlines screaming sleeper spy’s and clandestine mid-air swaps coupled with other intriguing tidbits this film is the icing on the cake of a summer of spy stories that has left every community wondering.

Jolie is at her action best. Never having seen her previous work, she is impressive and fearless. Stepping back and judging her on professional level she and there should not be a gender classification as she tackles the traditional male action hero role and pulls it off leaving the audience wanting more. She is talented, multi dimensional, and has the strength to carry this type of James Bond lead.

Action authenticity issues are never judged by the critics when the male action hero leaps from a tall building with single bound, stops speeding bullets and quite honestly we are in the 21st century and there won’t be those judgments now.

Ms. Jolie makes stunt decisions based in real time and necessity, as her character, Evelyn Salt trained CIA operative, would call it. Would we jump from an overpass onto a speeding semi? Possibly, when one’s life is in danger.  Her character resonates of ‘live free or die’ trying among other things.

SALT also stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Liev Schriber both whom add interesting elements and very strong performances. They are on the opposite side of the chessboard. Schreiber as Ted  Winter, a CIA Operative, and Ejiofor, as William Peabody counter intelligence, IA for the locals, the man everyone hates.

Although not present for the interview, the film also starred Andre Braugher of Law & Order fame as The Secretary of Defense and in a stellar performance, Daniel Olbrychski as Orlav, the man with all knowledge.

SALT hooked me from the beginning sequences with the reuniting of Evelyn and her husband played by German actor, Philip Krause. Jolie is not fluff; she has depth as a talent. The unfortunate side to her beauty is that she could be marginalized as fluff without talent and cast only for the sex draw.  For the record her clothes are on throughout the film although she does remove her black panties for the camera.

If there is a down side to the film there are two scenes that appeared taken from the playbook of spy films and as an operative/espionage film connoisseur immediately brought flash backs of those films. 

The press boarded coaches after the screening for the trip to The International Spy Museum where Dinner and A SPY Night Experience followed.

A panel discussion with espionage experts including former homeland security director Tom Ridge, former US Intelligence officer and Middle East counter-terrorism expert, Melissa Mahle, Director of Communications and Analysis under the Bush administration, Kirk Whitworth and Operative and former KGB General Oleg Kalugin were on hand and provided interesting highlight complimenting the SALT operative experience. Moderating the panel was Director Peter Earnest, the curator for the Museum who also conducted a Q & A session. The Panel discussions and interviews will follow in a separate article.

The International Spy Museum is a must see for any person who is remotely interested in espionage, its roots in American history, contemporary espionage, spy films, spyware and the evolution of spy gadgetry. We were fortunate to get the abbreviated tour and it was thoroughly an enjoyable opportunity.

The two day event included an early morning, Spy City Tour of famous cold war and contemporary spy rendezvous  points which stressed the fact that the behind the quaint charm and stunning architecture of our nation’s capital lies the real truth that espionage is alive and well and still exists even in our modern diverse, embracing world.

Celebrity Interview: Lorenzo di Bonaventura: A Hit Producing Machine

Following the tour members of the press were notified of the roundtable interview arrangements. Held at the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, which also housed members of the press, SALT cast members including Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor were in attendance along with SALT Director, Philip Noyce and Producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura. Interviews follow separately.

A big screen, fast action, high suspense espionage thriller SALT is guaranteed to shake up the summer box office.

SALT opens nationwide July 23, 2010.

Thanks to Warren Betts Communications.

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