What a day - and, the day after, all the bruises, aches, pains and fatigue feel well worth it - Premiere Syndrome. All day as you're crammed into a space that is so small that you literally cannot retrieve a thing from the bag wedged between your ankles without everyone around you bracing themselves and each other to avoid collapsing like a coil of dominoes, you think you won't do this again. And then, after 6 hours, 8 hours or longer, you watch the carpet going down, you play games with some of the security and other attendants, the special effects are tested and you hear the noise of the Batmobile revving somewhere outside the Square and you know you'd do it again.
The security was a mess and we were manhandled into an unmarked area where the barricades would go. Because it was unmarked, many people who'd been there since breakfast time were left without a place and ended up behind huge screens and the press, with no chance of seeing a thing. Apparently, the security guy responsible is known for his unpleasant crowd control at London's premieres and has a reputation, preserved on YouTube apparently, that he feel he must maintain. So I got separated from the others and was wedged in, fortunately in a place with a great view right opposite the Odeon entrance, to the right of the press and just where the interviews took place. I was luckily attached to a group of Harry Potter fans who kept me well entertained and fed with chocolates.
We talked about Heath Ledger a lot. I wore my green stripes with pride and one of the HP girls wore a Heath t-shirt. They had planned, a year ago, to be here to see Heath. We'd done just the same thing. The sense of someone massive and important and loved being missing was extremely palpable and made the whole affair emotional and I think it affected the mood on and off the red carpet.
The interviewer rehearsed to camera and did a rolecall for those attending and said Maggie Gyllenhaal but with a hard G. I wasn't having that! So I yelled out 'That's Jill-enhaal, not Gill-enhaal!' And he got it right for the rest of the evening.
One thing I couldn't believe was that right up until the barriers went up, people, especially tourists, were asking us why we were there! This was despite huge lettering on the Odeon saying The Dark Knight European premiere, the fire special effects, the sound of bats and the huge posters around us and the security - 'Are you waiting for a film?' In a manner of speaking.
At last they got the carpet down - red with a black bat. We heard it before we saw it - the Batmobile came down the carpet, fire shooting out of its exhaust and making a sound like you wouldn't believe. Then the audience began to arrive and the HP fans with me were very lucky because there seemed to be a neverending supply of Harry Potter 'kids', including Draco, Luna and Neville.
The girls also pointed out a long line of Hollyoaks actresses and Bob Geldolf daughters in very high heels but at least I had heard of Mcfly. Not surprisingly, Doctor Who's nemesis The Master, John Simm, attracted a lot of attention (as did Kelly Osbourne's new haircut).
Personally, I was pleased to see Gary Lineker but I couldn't get a picture of him as Michael Caine was being interviewed right by us and I was trying to avoid having my eye poked out by TDK pictures which were being shoved past me for Sir Michael's autograph.
We'd been told by a guy there that Gary Oldman was a no and there was a 'question mark over Morgan Freeman' - neither of whom turned up. Michael Caine was the first to arrive but he took such a great amount of time signing autographs (while being shadowed by the bodyguard from Jake and Reese's Paris weekend!), Aaron Eckhart was the first of the cast we saw and Christian Bale was the last.
Finally I could see Maggie a little down the carpet, signing away, with Peter Sarsgaard keeping a little distance, towards the centre of the carpet. She looked gorgeous, tall and pale in the flowing black and backless cat suit. She walked past me and headed straight to the press a few feet away to pose. I called her name and she said she'd come back - unfortunately she wasn't able to as everyone was being called into the theatre. Ruby remembers that someone called out 'Maggie, your brother is hot!' No argument there...
After everyone was in we were hoping that the cast would appear on the balcony but they didn't. Instead after doing some photographs inside the foyer and after quickly popping into the auditorium, they were out. Big silver cars parked on the red carpet outside and they were out like a shot, Maggie waving as she got into the car. Helsbells got some pictures of Peter at this point, and also got some other pictures of Maggie - and here they are (thanks Helen!)
Finally, at about 7.30, it was all over and we were released from our pen. We headed automatically to the bar across Leicester Square and I downed a pint of Peroni in one. We all toasted Heath.
I must thank Ruby, Anouska, Winterbird, Helsbells and Freetraveller for sharing the day, although for some of that day communication could only take place through shouts and wild arm gestures. (In this blurred picture below, you can see Peter to the right of Maggie in the background - I did call his name and he looked over but this was very much Maggie's night and he went nowhere near the barriers and crowds - Edited to add, I see from a YouTube video that Peter did sign further away from the Odeon.)
This YouTube video, shot just a couple of feet from where I was standing, gives some idea of what the whole affair was like. Seeing other YouTube videos of the event makes me appreciate just how close I was and how lucky I was. I also see from one of them that it looks like Christian Bale was attended at one point by our old favourite 'Officer K', Jake's other BG!
Pictures from WDW and Helen.
Prince of Persia begins filming today and Jerry 'finally got' Jake!
Jerry Bruckheimer has been talking about the Prince of Persia: 'The trademark feature of all the games is the playable character's jumping across a gap and grabbing a ledge with his hands to pull himself up. Will fans see that signature move in the movie? "Well, we'll try," Bruckheimer said... "We're starting Prince of Persia on Tuesday [July 22]," Bruckheimer said. "We're prepping all the locations right now. The actors are rehearsing. It's very close. I leave tomorrow to go up there."... Bruckheimer shared his excitement for making a movie with Gyllenhaal, who has been on the producer's radar for a long time. "I've always wanted to work with him," Bruckheimer said. "I've been chasing him for a while, so I finally got him, finally found something he liked."'
Picture from IHJ.