It's a scream as over 2,000 attend Gangs UK premiere

Story by Jack Foley

OVER 2,000 screaming fans turned up at Leicester Square on Tuesday, despite sub-zero conditions, to catch a glimpse of Leonardo DiCaprio at the UK premiere of his latest movie, Gangs of New York.

The 28-year-old star joined fellow cast members Daniel Day-Lewis and Jim Broadbent, as well as director, Martin Scorsese, in London for the glittering event, held at the Empire Leicester Square.

The epic, which has taken 25 years to bring to the Big Screen, is set in 19th Century New York, around the notorious Five Points slims, and chronicles the efforts of DiCaprio's angry young Amsterdam Vallon to avenge the death of his father at the hands of Day-Lewi's psychotic Bill The Butcher.

Though seen as a strong Oscar contender, the film opened to lukewarm reviews in America (where there was a clear divide between those who loved and hated it), but is probably the first big event movie in the UK of 2003.

And DiCaprio felt flattered by the show of appreciation for his presence, describing the London event as a 'surreal' experience and describing the crowd as the biggest so far, including Paris and Berlin.

Together with co-star Broadbent, he went on to heap praise on Scorsese, describing him as 'a living legend' and 'our great American master'.

Scorsese, in turn, praised the professionalism and camaraderie which existed between his stars and said that the project, which marked something of a labour of love, harked back to a bygone era of film-making - an epic that uses real sets as opposed to the computer-generated backdrops which dominate so many of today's blockbusters.

Day-Lewis, meanwhile, refused to play up to the Oscar buzz surrounding his performance, but denied suggestions he had retired from the industry, suggesting instead that he merely intended to take a break from it.

The premiere was also attended by Hollywood mogul, Harvey Weinstein, whose Miramax company backed the film, although some of the movie's other big names, including Cameron Diaz, did not attend (due to filming commitments).

Other celebrities included Joan Collins and couple Kelly Brook and Jason Statham, as well as former Chicago star, Denise Van Outen, and musician-turned-Bond villain, Goldie.

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