About 600 people packed Thalian Hall on Thursday night for an advance screening of CBS's upcoming series "Under the Dome," and amid the outpouring of love for Wilmington, executive producer Stephen King and the cast and crew, a few punches were thrown — but it was all in good fun.
On both the red carpet and on stage, King, whose book of the same name inspired the show, and star Dean Norris playfully ruffled one another up, and that playful spirit was present throughout the evening. Executive producers Brian K. Vaughan ("Lost"), Jack Bender ("Lost") and Neal Baer ("ER") joined King, along with a smattering of the cast, including Mike Vogel and Rachelle LeFevre.
Before the screening, producers and cast joined Mayor Bill Saffoon stage for a special proclamation and a presentation of a key to the city of Wilmington, and even the mayor found himself the butt of a few jokes. Throughout his slightly longwinded proclamation, the cast fanned him and teased his mispronunciation of a few cast members' names. After wrapping his proclamation, Saffo – who said his favorite King movie was the generally derided "Maximum Overdrive," which King directed in 1985 in Wilmington – handed King a key to the city.
The audience then enjoyed a screening of the first episode, which will premiere 10 p.m. Monday on CBS. Cheers, laughs and gasps broke the otherwise silent Thalian Hall throughout the episode. After the screening, Kevin Frazier, host of "OMG! Insider," held a Q&A with the cast and producers. For an audience filled with King fans, the night was a highly anticipated one.