HOLLYWOOD — Hollywood Boulevard was transformed into a makeshift raceway Sunday for the premiere of “Herbie: Fully Loaded,” Disney’s latest update to the series of movies about a magical Volkswagen Beetle.
Fans lined the streets in front of the El Capitan Theatre, where a checkerboard “black carpet” speedway was rolled out for the film’s stars and assorted celebs. NASCAR race cars, VW “Herbie” Beetles, bleachers of screaming fans and a bevy of racecar beauties in body-hugging gear welcomed guests such as Indie 500 Rookie of the Year Danica Patrick — who left the racing gear at home, opting instead for a light green, free-flowing gown — and racers Erin Crocker and Allison Duncan.
Comedian George Lopez and talk-show host Larry King made the Father’s Day event a family affair, bringing their children along. “I gotta take them everywhere I go now,” Lopez joked. “My wife’s with me with the kidney [she donated to me], so I figured why not take the rest of the package too.” A self-described NASCAR enthusiast, Lopez showed love for number 88, Dale Jarrett, on his brown-and-white sports jersey.
Throngs of fans across the street screamed for star Lindsay Lohan as she blazed down the press line from “Start” to “Finish” with in a plunging V-neck, boho-inspired, white-and-orange dress, perfect attire to fend off the 80-plus-degree heat.
One of her rivals in the flick, Matt Dillon, appeared in good spirits as he spoke to the press. The actor even stopped for a 9-year-old Disney sweepstakes winner manning the carpet. “My favorite scene was when I get in a fight with a Volkswagen,” he told the budding reporter, “even though I lose.”
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Sporting a black fitted tee, dark shades and slicked-back hair, Dillon said he had a blast playing Lohan’s nemesis in “Herbie.” “Trip is a very manipulative character, very conceited, and he basically has himself to blame for his own undoing — and that’s what was fun about playing him,” the actor said.
Meanwhile, Lohan’s onscreen beau, Justin Long, sported a new mustache on his normally clean-shaven mug (“I did it just for the kids,” he joked.).
Co-star Cheryl Hines, wearing a multicolored summer frock and a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes, joked about not having the right accessories for her outfit. “I left my purse in Vancouver where I’m filming, so I bought this purse at the airport for five bucks,” she laughed.
Peter Pasco, who plays another of Lohan’s rivals in the flick, proudly displayed his affections for another young actress, the newly engaged Katie Holmes, by sporting a “Free Katie” shirt. “I’ll tell you this right now,” the actor said matter-of-factly. “I swear I have a document at home that states how I was originally supposed to take Katie to the Eiffel Tower and propose at midnight, so I don’t know how Tom got the idea, but he must have stolen it.”
Director Angela Robinson, who also helmed “D.E.B.S.,” was a bit overwhelmed by the scope of her own premiere. “Everyone kept saying you have no idea what to expect, but when I got here, I was just like, ‘Oh my God, look at all this!’ It’s kind of surreal.” Sporting a gift from her lead actress, Robinson wore a blinged-out “53″ necklace encrusted with diamonds.
Sisters Aly and AJ Michalka, who contribute a remake of Katrina & the Waves’ “Walking on Sunshine” to the movie’s soundtrack, said while they are fans of the original “Herbie” movies, they look forward to seeing the Love Bug with a fresh twist. “This is such an awesome remake because you can modernize it while still keeping elements of the original classic intact,” Aly said.
“Herbie: Fully Loaded” opens Wednesday.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Herbie: Fully Loaded.”
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