Gerard Butler, Maria Bello and Cole Hauser Turn Out for Beverly Hills Hotel Gala
The event marked the first gala to attract notable actors since a widespread hotel boycott that started in 2014.
Hollywood stars Gerard Butler, Maria Bello and Cole Hauser showed up to the Beverly Hills Hotel on April 16 to honor Avi Lerner, founder and chairman of Millennium Films/Nu Image, at a fundraiser for social services agency Aviva Family and Children's Services.
The Aviva gala marked the first major event with notable actors on the guest list to be held at the hotel since it fell under a widespread industry boycott in 2014 when the owner, the Sultan of Brunei, passed Sharia Law in his country, calling for the stoning deaths of gays and adulterers. More stars were expected Saturday night, however, but once word spread about its significance, some A-listers, like Al Pacino, opted not to show. The event continued as planned though many of those present didn't seem up for talking about the boycott, which has lost steam in recent months and is largely believed to be over. (Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Calvin Klein and countless agents, managers and executives have been spotted in power dining hot spot the Polo Lounge as of late.)
Asked by The Hollywood Reporter whether the boycott factored into his decision to attend, Hauser said he "didn't know." He continued: "I'm not really sure about that. I'm here to honor this organization and my friend, Avi, and that is all that matters to me."
What mattered to Lerner was paying tribute to Aviva by accepting the night's highest honor, the Corporate Responsibility Award. "Obviously I believe that it is a very important cause, to help the girls that have no home, no parents, nobody to support them, and raising money and doing it all to help them," he told THR. "It is something that I am proud to be a part of."
On the subject of what is more difficult, wrangling actors for a gala or for a film, Lerner replied, "I'll be straight with you. It's not difficult to organize a night like this, to raise money, to call all of your friends, or many of your friends to come. What is more difficult is making a movie, a good movie."
And keeping that movie out of the hands of pirates, apparently. On Saturday night, Lerner blasted Google and President Obama to AFP for not doing more to curb movie piracy, which he says is costing the industry millions. "It's a major problem and it's something that I don't know if anyone can stop, because the government, the president, Congress are all scared of Google," said Lerner, who claimed that illegal downloads of his most recent Expendables installment cost his company millions in box office receipts.
Elsewhere at the gala, Bello gushed to THR about Lerner's demeanor outside of the business. "Avi is the biggest mensch that you will ever meet," said the actress, who attended with new boyfriend Elijah Allan-Blitz. "I like to refer to him and [his wife] as 'Peter Pan and Tinkerbell'.' They are a magical team and a beautiful family, and I feel lucky that I know him. To see this beautiful giant with an even more gigantic heart being celebrated is really special."