The world premiere of Francis Ford Coppola's "Jack," starring Robin Williams, was July 30, 1996 at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

Wanna read a review of "Jack"?

More quotes from the stars:
"Robin is Robin. He doesn't need anybody."
-- Laurie Williams (Robin's mom), when asked by the paprazzi to wait for her son and pose for pictures.

"It has such a beautiful message. When I first read the script, I cried."
-- Jennifer Lopez, Williams' co-star.

"A 40-year-old boy, that's Robin."
-- Billy Crystal, Williams' co-star in "Father's Day," currently filming in San Francisco.

"He goes wild and I just try to get a word in."
-- Crystal, on working with Williams.

"This is it. I'm done. I'm finished."
-- Williams on ever playing a child-like role again.

"Here it isn't industry people. If they laugh, the laugh, but sometimes you will get a negative reaction."
-- Williams on the differences between premieres in Hollywood and S.F.
Robin Williams kids around at the premiere of "Jack"

Robin Williams was late to his own party Tuesday night, arriving 15 minutes after the lights went down for the world premiere of his new movie "Jack" at San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts.

Unceremoniously driving up in a Volvo station wagon after his peers had arrived in limousines nearly an hour before and paid their dues in the reception line of press and photographers, he sneaked into the building and lingered in a reception room behind the auditorium throughout the film, a Francis Ford Coppola yarn about a boy who ages four times faster than normal. Williams plays the boy at age 10 -- fully grown.

As apropos as that sounds for the tightly-wound star, Williams had spent the day on the set of his next film with Billy Crystal and Nastassja Kinski tentatively called "Father's Day," and he was worn out.

"If I go into a dark room and sit down," he said sedately, "it's going to be 'Who's that guy snoring? Oh my God, it's him?'"

He looked relaxed in and untucked shirt, oversized pants and shiny sneakers while chatting quietly the few reporters who didn't go inside for the film.

But when the credits rolled and the well-heeled crowd of Hollywood types and local society moved next door to the Exploratorium for the post party, he was back on like a light bulb and ready to mingle, mug for the TV crews and answer the expected questions.

"I had a great time as a 10-year-old," he said, with a hint of a tired smile. "I got to remember what it was like, but I'm glad to be 45 and living in San Francisco."

His next two projects are also local productions, which means he gets to go home and sleep in his own bed at night.

"I'm trying to do everything here, except maybe a 'Don Quixote,' which would have to be filmed in La Mancha," he said, his grin growing.

Co-star Jennifer Lopez, who starred in "Money Train" and will play murdered Tejano singer Selena in an upcoming film, said Williams was just as goofy on the set as he was at the party.

"In between takes he was a real crack-up," she said. "We'd do 'Romeo and Juliet.' He'd do Sylvester Stallone and I'd do Rosie Perez."

Lopez was a paparazzi's dream in a floor-length, spaghetti-strapped jersey dress on loan from Italian designer Valentino.

At the fully-catered party where people were wandering through the Exploratorium's usual kinetic, eclectic science displays, she was most willing to chat with well-wishers and didn't mind being kidded about the numerous times she tripped on her hem.

"It keeps catching the buckle on my shoes," she lamented.

The real camera-pleaser, however, was Laurie Williams, Robin's mom. Dressed 40 years her junior in a silver leather mini-skirt, boucle sweater and a baret -- and carrying it off quite well, thank you very much -- it was easy to see where her son gets his vibrancy.

"She's like Tennessee Williams had a kid with Neil Simon," Robin said when told how much fun she seemed to be having with the press. What that means exaclty, only Williams knows.

With his wife Marsha and three kids in tow, Williams said he needed the winding down he got talking with a few reporters during the screening.

"Oh, the Exploratorium is mandatory," he said during the screening. "Cody (his four-year-old son) will be here and I'll get dragged all over."

Also in attendance were Crystal and Kinski (also with her children), director Barry Levinson (in the area for preliminary work on "Sphere," a Michael Chriton-scripted sci-fi thriller), George Lucas, "Toy Story" director John Lassiter and, of course Coppola, who was in a little more serious mood when asked about the film.

"When I read (the script) I thought it was sweet and I wanted to do something that wasn't a lot of people getting shot," said the director, whose previous credits include "Apocalypse Now," and the "Godfather" movies.

Coppola spent most of the evening quietly sitting with friends at one of the dozens of colorful tables set up around the Exploratorium, complete with fish bowl centerpieces and hor d'oeuvres a plenty.

Others were more mobile. Billy Crystal table-hopped, sitting with studio execs for a spell and then with the Williams clan. But like she did with the cameras at the arrival line, Williams' mom, whose nickname is "Punky," garnered the most attention at the party, dancing to the '70s revival band that kept the joint jumping into the early morning.

Her son on the other hand, reverted one last time to his 10-year-old persona and put in time on the centrifugal force machine with his youngest son and daughter before heading home about midnight.

This article appeared in the Daily Republic, Fairfield, CA.

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