Sure, the election results tonight will determine whether Mitt Romney or Barack Obama spend a lot of time in Washington next year. But they’re also impacting the D.C. plans of another interested constituency: Hollywood celebs.
Tinseltown, if you’ll remember, didn’t take much of an interest in the city under President George Bush; the closest that administration came to drama was Jenna and Barbara’s drunken episodes. When Obama swept into town in 2009, he brought flocks of youthful supporters, a glamourous wife, and a chief of staff whose brother is a character on Entourage. Reality shows started filming in Dupont Circle and Georgetown. The capital was cool again.
“You had this Camelot feeling,” says Pergrin Pervez, an executive producer at 8112 Studios. “With Obama, every day, it's like Obama was at Ben’s Chili Bowl, and all of a sudden, Ben’s Chili Bowl gets a rise in customers. Michelle Obama's dresses and shoes and whatever she wears starts trends. That never happened with Laura Bush. President Obama's NCAA picks, that's a big deal. Nobody cared who Bush picked, and he was an athlete.”
A Republican victory tonight, Pervez fears, would usher in another era of ennui: Liberal Hollywooders, who heavily backed Obama’s campaign, will stay away.
“If Mitt Romney wins, it's going to be a very boring four years,” he says. “As far as real glitz and glamour, that's not going to happen...I know there will be entertainers who say, I refuse to go to that city, simply because of who’s in office.”
That’ll all shake out over time. Meanwhile, movie types face a more immediate decision: Whether they’ll be in Washington for the inauguration, or in Park City, Utah for the networking-heavy first week of Sundance Festival parties. Hotels are filling up fast, but plenty of people are waiting on tonight’s results to book.
“If Obama wins, then the parties are here, and all the celebrities will be here,” explains Pervez, who headed up the Hawaii State Society inaugural ball in 2009. “If Mitt Romney wins, then we can all still go in the first week."