The prospect of seeing movie star Brad Pitt drew a crowd Tuesday to MU’s Brady Commons — and the MU College Democrats are hoping to turn this enthusiasm into more votes for presidential candidate John Kerry.
Pitt, a former MU student, will be on campus tonight to endorse Kerry at a showing of the film “Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry” at Jesse Auditorium. A line in front of the Missouri Students Association box office wound around Brady Commons for most of the day as students waited to get free tickets to see to the film and the popular MU icon.
“I walked through Brady three times, and the line was there every time,” said MU student Meyru Yahya. “I asked someone what it was for, and they said Brad Pitt tickets.”
Another MU student, Saundi Watson, admitted that the only reason she wanted to go to the event was to see Pitt.
“I wouldn’t go if it weren’t for the fact that Brad Pitt will be there,” she said. “I like documentaries, so it could be interesting.”
But students such as Katelin Grover said they would attend the event whether Pitt was there or not.
“He is just the icing on the cake and makes it more appealing,” Grover said.
Shana Porteen, an MU graduate student, said she is not surprised at the use of a celebrity to promote the event.
“Everyone is using music celebrities or TV celebrities,” Porteen said. “But if it encourages people to vote, that is what matters.”
Those planning the event agreed. Elena Lamprich, publicity coordinator for the College Democrats, was concerned about how to publicize the film with such short notice. Although the event was not announced until this weekend, word of it spread quickly once Pitt’s attendance was confirmed. Pitt, a native of Springfield, Mo., studied advertising at the MU School of Journalism in the mid-1980s but left two credits short of graduating to pursue his acting career in California.
“We were concerned about how to spread the word. We made fliers and handed them out in speaker circle, but it is Brad Pitt,” Lamprich said. “Brad Pitt is the draw, but the message of the film will get the vote.”
The film is sponsored by the College Democrats, the Vietnam Veterans for America Foundation and Palisades Pictures Entertainment Group.
It will be shown tonight at 6 in Jesse Auditorium. Any remaining tickets will be distributed to students or members of the community beginning at 9 a.m. in the MSA box office in Brady Commons.