And so the glitz and glamour of yet another red carpet approaches. This time around, Benicio Del Torro and Emily Blunt are coming to town to promote new movie Sicario. I narrowly missed my chance to nab Blunt’s autograph at the Edge Of Tomorrow premiere - such was the rushed nature of that crazy attempt to hold 3 premieres in three countries in just one day - so now’s my chance to get her scribble on my Edge Of Tomorrow poster, which I should hopefully get Mr Cruise to sign also when I see him again. There’s been a spate of ‘bigger’ red carpet premieres in London lately, so I’m hoping that the crowds will be significantly smaller for this one.
I make my usual trip on the tube down to Leicester Square and find, to my delight, that the numbering system is in force today. This means that I can go away and have a wander, then come back nearer the start time – no need to keep my place in the queue for hours! I get the nice low number of ‘22’ stamped on my hand, and head off to Covent Garden’s Disney Store to have a butcher’s at the new The Force Awakens merchandise. Happy days! I also trek across to Forbidden Planet to have a gander at their overpriced merchandise too (20 quid for some lightsaber chopsticks!!? I think not!)
After a quick bite to eat using some out-of-date Burger King vouchers (thanks to my pal ‘Boltok’) I make my back to Leicester Square to find a small gathering of geeks. All the same usual faces, of course. They’re like Jawas, scuttling around and attending every premiere, waving scraps of paper or torn clippings from the Radio Times at any celebrity who is willing to brave their BO to engage in polite chit-chat. The worst kind of Jawa, though, are the dealers. These particular creatures come armed with multiple picture duplicates in the hope of getting numerous items signed by a Hollywood star, with the sole purpose of selling them on at a ridiculous price. Often they just waive a blank piece of paper so that they can mount it in a frame with a nice accompanying photo and charge an obscene amount for it. They always nab the best spots, hog the time of the celebrities, and are a general nuisance to everyone. As Threepio once observed, “I can’t abide these Jawas, disgusting creatures!” Luckily I can’t spot any dealers, and the crowd is small, so the prospects of me meeting some Hollywood talent tonight are pretty high.
As the afternoon drags on, the rain starts to come down. I watch the workmen looking miserable as they try and lay down a soggy red carpet in the puddles. Hopefully the London drizzle will die down when the stars begin to arrive.
Once the carpet is down, the geeks begin to file into the pens. I bag a nice spot near the ‘drop-off point’ – the area where the flashy cars and limos stop and drop-off the actors to begin their walk on the red carpet. This is usually the best area to be as around as most celebrities like to get their autographs and pictures done as soon as they exit their cars. I’m also directly opposite the paparazzi and press photographers so I should be able to get some decent close-up shots if I’m lucky!
Before long, the sleek blacked-out Mercedes start to arrive. First up is Emily Blunt! She’s wearing a dazzling metallic number that sparkles and shimmers in the rain. She adopts her position in front of the photographers, posing and twirling as they frantically snap away.
She then makes her way to the geeks and starts to sign pictures and posters for the excited fans. When she sees my A3 Edge Of Tomorrow poster she can’t help but smile, probably recounting fond memories of bashing Tom Cruise around whilst wearing a robotic suit. I engage in a bit of banter with Emily then ask her for a photo, to which she replies “Yes of course darling.” And she poses with me for a nice close up-and-personal selfie, our heads touching!
Next to arrive is a grumpy looking Benicio Del Torro. Looking very stylish in an all-black suit, he uses an umbrella to shield his crazy hair from the rain. After posing for paparazzi photos and engaging in a bit of horse play with his umbrella (pretending it’s a gun as he aims at the photographers… er, ok) he makes his way over to the giddy geeks.
As he quickly makes his way down the line, I notice that he seems to be deliberately missing out and ignoring some autograph requests. I’ve seen this at premieres before – Hollywood stars are usually obliging to sign posters and pictures, but as I mentioned earlier, those pesky dealers love to waive blank pieces of paper to be signed for the sole purpose of framing them for re-sale. The stars are generally wise to this and will often skip past any blank sheets and instead sign pictures for the more genuine fans. So I assume this is what Benicio is doing. I feel smug, knowing that he’ll be more than happy to sign my The Usual Suspects DVD cover. As he draws closer though, I notice that he seems to be bypassing geeks with photos too, and it appears he’s only signing items relating directly to Sicario itself. Bugger! That’s a new one on me - only signing items from a particular movie! What sort of madness is this Benicio?! And lo and behold, there he stands in front of me; he says a quick “hello” and goes to sign The Usual Suspects. He then quickly stops in his tracks, looks down at The Usual Suspects, then moves away, continuing to pick and choose Sicario posters only. Outrage!! Well screw you Benicio!! No wonder Keyser Soze bumped you off first!
A few more obligatory C-list celebrities continue to arrive, mostly from reality TV shows that I've never even heard of. I do spot one rather short gentleman though – it’s Richard Hammond from TV’s Top Gear! He strolls past with his wife, and notices me beckoning him over. “Can I have a photo with you please?” I ask. “Yes of course mate” he replies, and he poses for a selfie. I cheekily ask him “Jeremy not invited here tonight?” and he just laughs. Jeremy Clarkson had, of course, just been sacked by the BBC only a couple of weeks earlier.
All in all, I did fairly well this evening. Many geeks – including yours truly – were left sorely disappointed by Benicio Del Torro’s weird autograph-screening process. But I’m more than happy with my Edge Of Tomorrow poster and selfies. Hopefully next time the weather will be drier - although this is England so anything can happen!