And so, here we go again with another London red carpet premiere! Living in the London area sure does have it perks! Rolling into town this evening will be the cast and director of the Oscar nominated (and rather magnificent) The Revenant. Yes, that means that two of Hollywood’s finest, Mr Tom Hardy and Mr Leonardo DiCaprio, will be braving the cold of Leicester Square and gracing us mere mortals with their presence. Also joining them will be their co-stars Will Poulter and Domhnall Gleeson – last seen as General Hux in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This will definitely be an evening to remember!
I make the familiar journey into town, clutching my bagwhich contains my ‘Red Carpet Survival Kit’ – bottle of Red Bull, cheese sarnies, chocolate, iPod, digital camera, fold-up stool, and of course pictures. I was lucky enough to meet top bloke DiCaprio two years ago at the Wolf Of Wall Street premiere, where he kindly signed my Blood Diamond image for me. This time around I’m taking the DVD cover for The Departed. Leo’s premieres are always a different affair to the usual events, such is his magnitude of stardom. Constantly surrounded by his PR people, photographers, bodyguards, and various other member of his huge entourage, it’s usually near impossible to get within conversation distance of him, so we’ll just have to see…
I arrive in a wet and gloomy Leicester Square, and see that the workies are already busy transforming the area. Barriers are being put into place, the stage is being constructed, and a huge TV screen is being mounted. I spot the usual suspects of geeks and dealers already loitering around. After gaining my wristband from the event staff (these premieres seem to be officially organised nowadays, as opposed to having some random geek just sticking your name on a list) I head into Burger King for a nice cup of hot chocolate. This is going to be a cold afternoon with the temperature is dropping rapidly, so I take the opportunity to warm myself up! And then after the obligatory trip down the road to Forbidden Planet – the mecca of all things geeky–I down another hot chocolate and head into Leicester Square. Thank the maker I’m wearing four layers of thermals and thick boots – it’s already starting to feel like Hoth down here! After patiently waiting for a bit, we’re slowly herded into the pens. I bag my place at the front of the barrier and settle in. The big screen is up, the stage looks good, and the workies are busy laying the red carpet. As the afternoon gets darker (and colder), the place starts to buzz as the Hollywood arrivals are imminent.
Once the lame warm-up comedian has finished his usual shtick (they really need to get rid of that guy!) the sleek silver Mercedes cars start to pull up. First out is Irishman Domhnall Gleeson. Tall, lanky and ginger, he makes his way to the waiting press to conduct his interviews, jumping up and down to keep warm. He may have survived The Revenant’s cold, gruelling shoot, but now he must brave the cold temperatures of London’s Leicester Square!
Domhnall makes his way over to the geeks. I didn’t bring my Star Wars: The Force Awakens poster for him to sign as I had a sneaky suspicion her may not sign TFA merchandise. And low and behold, the Force was strong in me as my prediction turned out to be accurate. In his soft mild Irish accent, he told each and every geek “Sorry, I can’t sign anything Star Wars”. He may as well have worn his First Order uniform and declared Leicester Square a “Star Wars-free zone, you Rebel scum!”
Another car arrives. It’s Will Poulter. He’s a fine young British actor who’ll be going places. Clearly shocked at being the centre of such a big event, he remains humble and mingles with the fans, taking selfies and signing autographs along the way. He seems a bit lost, which is understandable given the occasion, and looks to his PR for guidance. Let’s hope Hollywood doesn’t go to his head anytime soon.
More shiny cars pull up, more lucky invitees and minor D-list celebrities pour out and walk up the carpet. Finally, from out of one of the cars steps the man of the moment. Sporting a stubbly goatee and well-groomed slick hair, the 6ft actor that is Leonardo DiCaprio is greeted with screams from the female members of the crowd and the place goes potty.
He rubs his hands to keep them warm before making his way to the press interviews, spotting fellow cast mate Domhnall Gleeson on the way. The two men embrace, perhaps celebrating the fact that they both survived the infamous gruelling shoot of The Revenant, and can now bask in the glory of its European premiere.
Everywhere Leo walks on the red carpet, he’s surrounded by his entourage of PR people and bodyguards. He poses for the photographers who frantically click their camera shutters at machine-gun speed.
He’s feeling the cold now, blowing on his hands again to keep warm. Welcome to England Leo! He works his way towards his awaiting fans, choosing to mingle and sign for only a select few – yours truly included of course!We exchange pleasantries and he kindly scrawls his John Handcock on my The Departed image. A nice addition to the Blood Diamond image he signed for me a couple of years ago. Two great films, two outstanding performances. Maybe his equally phenomenal performance in The Revenant will finally bag him his much deserved and long overdue Oscar!
There’s still someone missing, of course – Tom Hardy. And here he is! He doesn’t arrive in a fancy shiny car – it appears the Londoner has decided to walk to Leicester Square this evening. Sporting a short crew-cut and wearing a smart trench coat, he immediately makes his way to the fans, signing autographs and posing for selfies.
He poses for the paparazzi before making his way across the press line for his interviews and then onto the big stage. Unfortunately I don’t get the chance to meet him on this occasion, so hopefully I’ll get lucky next time.
A few other celebrities arrive, including Game Of Thrones star Maisey Williams and Swedish actress Noomi Rapace of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo fame.
And that’s the lot. Not a bad premiere as these events go. Chuffed that I met Leonardo DiCaprio again, but Tom Hardy still eludes me! Well, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of opportunities to meet him in the future. So, until next time, adios!