This story originally appeared on my previous travel blog on December 11, 2011, but I chose to revive it here and add photos for this Throwback Thursday post. The best night of my life did come with some consequences. But thankfully the pros outweighed the cons tenfold.
I arrived in London at 6pm and took a bus over to Piccadilly Circus. I headed to my hostel right away and checked in. I went to my room and set stuff down and then went out again to go to the cinema to see what was going on in the area. Technically I was the first person there, because I got there at about 6:45 and no one was there yet, so I went to the Burger King close by and got some food and then walked around Leicester Square. When I had looked online at the place on Google maps, it showed the area as it was in the past year or so. What it failed to show was that the square is under construction, so the whole park is boarded up and the walkway was very narrow. I was confused at how they were going to hold a premiere here.
By the time I walked all the way around and came back to the theatre, there were people there setting up camping chairs and looking like they were there for the premiere. I asked them if they were and they said yes, and we got to talking. They were from near Canterbury and were going to camp out all night and I was inspired by them to do the same. After talking to them for over an hour, I went back to the hostel, got warmer clothes on, and checked out (to which they were very confused, as I had just arrived). I came back and chatted with them some more. One of them had been to two premieres previously and one of them was a cop and was going to take care of the group if anything got out of hand.
Around 10pm is when things started getting weird. There was this crazy, drunk, homeless man who came up to us and started talking to us, started singing “What’s My Name,” by Rihanna and being really annoying. We thought he had left our area, but then he came back and put his sleeping stuff next to us and was going to go to sleep. But he kept getting up and leaving and telling us to watch his stuff and then would come back. Meanwhile, another man stumbled out of the casino next to the cinema, collapsed and started puking. It took over an hour and a half for him finally to be taken away by an ambulance.
I went to the McDonald’s near by to warm up and on my way back, some random guy grabbed my boobs. That was the start to the creepy men touching and talking to me all night. At one point, another time when I was walking back from McDonald’s, I stepped in pool of blood from a bar fight and didn’t realize it. I’m pretty confident many men thought I was a prostitute, because they’d keep coming up to me and talking to me and when they found out I was waiting for the premiere, their expressions would change and they’d call me crazy. One guy was talking to me very inappropriately and I felt very uncomfortable. One guy actually was nice and after chatting with me, he gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. I don’t know how else I could’ve attracted that many guys to come and talk to me, unless they thought I was some kind of whore, but it was late at night in London, so I didn't question it.
Around 3 and 4am, we got a lot of people coming by and asking us if we were homeless, protesting, or selling something. Crazy people kept talking to us and homeless people kept asking for money. By this point I wanted to die. I was sick of being freezing cold. My feet, even with 4 layers on, were so numb and nothing was helping. I didn’t understand why people couldn’t have just left us alone.
Thankfully around 4:30am, the drunk and creepy people were clearing out and the commuters were coming in, so that meant less annoyances. At 5am a big truck pulled up, which were the crew setting up the premiere. At about 6:30am a girl named Natalie came and stood with us. She was the first person other than us to show up for the premiere. She’s an avid premiere attender and has been to so many Johnny Depp films, and had already met him five times. She knew all the ins and outs to what we were supposed to do and gave us a lot of tips. She was very helpful. We asked the people setting up where we were going to be able to stand and we got to our place very early so we'd be prepared.
At 7am other people started appearing to get in line with us. By 10am there were a group of about 15 of us who were waiting. They hadn’t been setting up the barriers yet, so we had to stay there and save our spots. There were two areas for fans to be. Ours was right at the cinema doors. Natalie said this was the prime spot. They set up the other area and moved a bunch of people over there, but we decided to stay right where we were. We made nice with one of the bouncers who works premieres a lot and he basically knew we were first in line and was not going to let people take our spots. Finally at 12:30pm they put up our barrier and we clung to our spots.
It was amazing to see the area transform from this nasty place from the night before, to this beautifully set up premiere. We could see it evolve right in front of our eyes and it was so cool. They covered all the gates with huge posters and made everything Sherlock Holmes-y. At 3ish, they put a barrier behind us so no more people could get in. It was nice being able to finally be separated from the people who thought they could arrive that late and think they would get a spot.
Around this time is when the press started to arrive. Duncan James from the British boy band "Blue" showed up and was filming a contest to win tickets into the film that night. I got his autograph (even though I couldn’t really remember any of their music) and tried to get into the background of the camera. Later on a guy was interviewing fans and I volunteered myself by screaming out, “I’m from America! Interview me!” and they came over and asked me some questions and it was awesome.
There were other bouncers holding a cheat sheet that showed which celebrities were attending the premiere that night. I asked a guy if I could see his and it confirmed that Stephen Fry would be there. It also said Warwick Davis would be too. I started to get really excited. It wasn’t until 5pm that they started putting down the red carpet and I knew that it was getting closer and closer. At 5:45 exactly, they started the event. A band from Romania started off the festivities, and while we waited for the celebs to show up, we got an amazing surprise. We thought the stars would come from the other entrance and our area would see them last. They instead came through the cinema doors and we got to see them on their way to the premiere and their way back into the theatre. We got double the celebrity!
Guy Richie was the first to come out. He passed us but promised he’d come back and sign. Then Jared Harris (he plays Moriarty, and is actor Richard Harris’ son) came out and signed. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law came next, but they passed us too because they had to do some interviews. Then came Stephen Fry and I freaked out way too much! We all screamed for him and he seemed surprised. I told him we were all big fans and then he signed my journal and shook my hand. He was so sweet and funny even just signing autographs. Geraldine James (who plays Mrs. Hudson, the housekeeper) and Eddie Marsan (who plays Inspector Lestrade) came next and signed.
Finally Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law came back and signed. Jude signed my image of him from the movie and used my pen to sign multiple autographs and then handed it back to me. He was so handsome, even with his unkept, hobo beard he was sporting. Then Robert came and he saw my image of his album cover to sign and he got a look on his face like disbelief and then said to me, “You’re a doll.” I told him I loved the album and it was beautiful and he said, “Thanks,” and then went on. He is so sexy I can’t even explain it. Then Guy Richie came back and signed and I told him I was looking forward to seeing the film. Noomi Rapace came over and signed and she was so gorgeous. She is seriously so beautiful and pretty and quite sweet as she signed.
It started to rain really bad at this point and thankfully we were under the cinema’s arbor, so we were completely dry. Rosamund Hanson from "Life’s Too Short" (which I had been watching and I loved) came up and was signing and I got so excited to see her there! I told her how much I love the show and she was so sweet and super cute about my compliments! Warwick Davis was also there with his adorable family and I got to tell him in person how much I love "Life’s Too Short!"
Finally Jude and RDJ came back our way. Jude stopped and signed more and I got some good close up photographs of him. RDJ was rushing in from the rain and didn’t sign anymore and went straight into the cinema. This was when it was all over and I was on such an adrenalin high from all the star power that I just got to experience. Natalie and I exchanged email addresses and I got the poster from the front of our barrier off and took it back with me. I went to McDonalds to warm up a bit from the long 24 hours in the cold and was so in awe of what just happened.
People keep telling me I was so lucky to have this happen. But it’s not luck at all. I made this happen. I planned this out. I paid for the trip down to London and the hostel I never used. I wanted to have something crazy in my life happen and not sit back and regret not doing anything fun in my youth. I am not lucky. I’m sick of waiting around for opportunities to pop up. You have to do it for yourself if you want your dreams to come true. And I did that. I met my idols in person and got to bask in their excellence. How many people get to say they've done that?