By Stephen M. Silverman
May 13, 2002 11:30 AM

“It’s raining, it’s exciting, it’s classic,” Natalie Portman, 20, told New York’s local NBC station, WNBC, Sunday night from the red carpet at the world premiere of her new movie, “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones,” in which she plays Princess Amidala. Susan Sarandon, Michael J. Fox and James Earl Jones — the voice of Darth Vader — were also on hand for the screening. The eagerly awaited summer blockbuster was the closing night attraction at the first-ever, five-day Tribeca Film Festival which, from all accounts, was a resounding success this weekend, helping to bring crowds to the 9/11-devastated lower Manhattan. The New York Times reports that 20,000 tickets were sold for more than 150 movies. The fest was the brainchild of Robert De Niro and his business partner, Jane Rosenthal. Besides the “Star Wars” premiere, which benefited children’s organizations offering assistance to young victims suffering from the aftereffects of the terrorist attacks in the area, a major highlight was Friday night’s free outdoor concert in Battery Park that featured Sheryl Crow, David Bowie, Billy Crystal and Robin Williams.

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