The big topic of conversation at the world premiere of "Interview With the Vampire" was, of course, necking. To set the mood outside of Mann's Village Theater in Westwood, Warner Bros. employed fog machines, to the dismay of photographers who had to shoot through the haze.
Appropriately, star after star arrived in a long line of black stretch limousines that resembled a funeral procession.
"Tom practiced the biting on me," said Nicole Kidman, who towered over Cruise in a black Todd Oldham tuxedo pantsuit with sexy high-heeled black patent leather wedge sandals. "There are no marks now, though, because the role's over."
Looking over at her husband, with his shoulder-length Lestat mane and goatee, she added, "He's so sexy. He's so hot as a vampire. He's kept his hair long because he's a low-maintenance kind of guy."
Tom Cruise said he doesn't cut his hair between roles.
"So, the longer I'm out of work," he explained, "the longer and more annoying it gets."
Hair is still the best accessory in Hollywood. In the throng of celebrities, it was easy to mistake the back of Kidman's head for that of currently Ultress-blond Brad Pitt, another of the movie's vampires. After the screening, Cruise and Pitt held court in a giant tent, the inside of which was reminiscent of the movie's New Orleans mansion, complete with waiters in Louis XIV period costumes and wigs. A blonder-than-usual Christian Slater (the "interviewer" in the film) flew in on Warner Bros.'s jet and was whisked away at midnight for a flight back to New York, where he's filming "Amelia and the King of France."
"The last time I was bitten in the neck, it was probably by my dog," said also-very-bottle-blonde Tori Spelling. "I just got a new poodle."
"I've never had a vampire encounter, which is not to say I'm not one myself," said Gary Sinese.
"I've come close, but not exactly," chimed in Melissa Etheridge. "It had to do with neck and teeth."
Rita Wilson, without husband Tom Hanks at her side, was prepared for any potential encounter: "I don't believe in vampires, but I wore this cross just in case. And there's garlic in my purse. And I'm keeping a wooden stake nearby."
Kelly Klein -- sans hubby Calvin, who's off fabric shopping in Europe -- led the parade of femmes fatales in long vampy black velvet outfits. With a chest tattoo peeking from beneath her black tuxedo jacket, even Roseanne was vamping it up.
Twelve-year-old Kirsten Dunst, who plays doll-like Claudia in the movie, was still disgusted at the thought of having had to suck face with co-star Brad Pitt in one scene.
"It was horrible to kiss Brad since we're friends and since he's so old. He's 31," Dunst said, rolling her eyes. "There are vampires out there, but not the kind who drain you of your blood. I'm talking about people who drain you of your personality. Whenever I bring up this subject, people think I mean agents."
Stephen Rea brought Hollywood vampires into perspective.
"Being a vampire means being sore," he said. "You're wearing contact lenses, fake teeth and a wig. You feel like a hanger. You spend two hours in makeup and 14 hours a day filming. Acting is living death."