I went to a movie premiere!
|I had been to Grauman's Chinese
Theatre before, but never
when it looked like this. Usually, milling tourists can be
found checking out the handprints and footprints of
celebrities in the cement of the famous courtyard, but,
today, the theater was dressed up for a movie premiere.
Transparent plastic walls surrounded bright red carpet that
blanketed the courtyard and the sidewalk in front of it.
My friend and I had passes to attend the premiere of the movie, Red Riding Hood, (starring Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Billy Burke, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons and Julie Christie; directed by Catherine Hardwicke (who also directed the movie, Twilight)) at 7:00 PM that evening. We showed our passes to a security man in a suit just outside the tent. He directed us to check in across the street.
At the corner of North Orange Drive and Hollywood Boulevard, a line of people stretched south, halfway down the block. We took our place behind them. They all had passes like ours. Most of the people that I talked to had won their passes through a radio station promotion. I had picked mine up at a local library.
Unlike the celebrities and special guests who walk the red carpet, many of the people in line wore jeans and sweatshirts. My friend and I had worn cute dresses, but I was glad that I'd bought a warm winter coat to wear while we waited.
Once we had claimed our spot in line, my friend sent me to take some photos of the theater. I walked back to Hollywood Boulevard and strolled along a barricade, checking out the theater across the street. Big signs announced that Red Riding Hood was "Now Showing" even though the movie had not yet opened to the general public. I could see a red carpeted area ready to welcome celebrity guests as they arrived at the event. Numerous Red Riding Hood movie posters lined the route that the stars would walk as they made their way to the theater. Bright lights shone. Event organizers milled about. Tourists slowly lined up along the barricade with me to wait for the stars to arrive. I went back to wait with my friend in line.
Just before 6:00PM, a team of event staff began collecting our passes and giving out beautiful tickets, each with an assigned seat printed at the bottom. They told us that we would be taken into the theater in about twenty minutes.
I went back for another look at the red carpet. The throng standing at the barricades had swelled and was now two to three people deep. I asked a man whether any stars had arrived on the red carpet yet. He said that one person had arrived, but he hadn't recognized them. Just then, three Ford Expeditions approached the red carpeted curb. The crowd buzzed with excitement. People strained to see who was inside.
"American Idol!" someone said. Excitement at the barricades grew. The 2011 American Idol Top 13 contestants had arrived: Casey Abrams, Scotty McCreery, Jacob Lusk, Paul McDonald, Stefano Langone, James Durbin, Pia Toscano, Lauren Alaina, Thia Megia, Karen Rodriguez, Ashthon Jones, Naima Adedapo and Haley Reinhart.
The fans at the barricades waved. The American Idol contestants waved back. "We love you!" a woman shouted from the barricades.
About an hour before the show was scheduled to start, the event staff started to move the people in our line toward the theater. I rejoined my friend. Instead of being led to the red carpet, we were brought to a special door to the theater. Our purses were searched and we walked through metal detectors. Then, for good measure, we were "wanded."
Once safely inside, my friend and I took in the ornate lobby. At the concessions stand, complimentary bags of popcorn and sodas were set out on the counter. A few invited guests and some publicists (they wore tags that said "Publicist") mingled.
We picked up our refreshments and entered the huge theater. A chandelier hung on the ceiling. A thick, red curtain covered the movie screen. We settled into our plush, velvety seats and watched the theater fill.
As the showtime approached, some girls next to us excitedly spotted actors from the movie in the auditorium, including Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried, and the director, Catherine Hardwicke. Finally, about fifteen minutes after the movie was scheduled to start, the lights dimmed, the curtain over the movie screen opened, and, without any announcements or fanfare (and without any advertisements or movie previews), the movie began.
Watching the movie itself wasn't much different from the usual movie-watching-experience, except that, when the opening credits rolled, there was applause when the names of the cast, director, and production companies appeared on the screen. Also, when the audience applauded at the end of this movie, their applause was definitely heard by people who worked on the movie.
When the movie was over, we followed the throngs of people exiting the theater. Because we were seated in the front of the theater, we were among the last people to exit. When we arrived in the crowded lobby, we saw tightly packed circles of fans who had attended the premiere around a few celebrities who were still making their way out of the theater. We had to stand on our toes to see the celebrity at the center of each circle. We saw director Catherine Hardwicke and actor Adrian Holmes signing autographs and graciously posing for pictures.
Outside the theater, the famous courtyard was still covered with special flooring, but the red carpet and the tents had already vanished. We watched Catherine Hardwicke climb into her limo. I imagine that she was headed to the afterparty. Although my friend and I would have loved to have gone to the afterparty too, we didn't have passes for that; so we headed home.
I did this in 2011 in Hollywood, California, USA.
Jen (California, USA)