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The Hobbit London Premiere – How Was it For Me?

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I had imagined I’d feel lots of different emotions at the Royal Film Performance London premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, but blind panic was not one of them. Yet that was what I felt as I dashed around Leicester Square as fast as my heels would let me, trying to find my way to the red carpet.

It was my own fault. I had arrived in Leicester Square earlier in the day to suss out the situation. I knew the red carpet would run along two sides of the square. At the start would be the entrance for the Empire cinema guests and, at the corner after the Empire, the entrance for the Odeon premiere guests, where I was going. But I wanted to spend as long on the carpet as I could, to see as many of the cast as possible, so I thought I would take the Empire entrance and walk the whole length of it.

In the early evening I was waiting by the roadside when the first cars arrived. The crowd was quite deep and I just caught a glimpse of Ian McKellen’s face at the car window before it disappeared into the crowd to be met, moments later, with a huge cheer and shouts of “Ian McKellen!”

It was then it dawned on me that I needed to be on the red carpet myself, right away. I dashed over to the Empire red carpet entrance, only to find a huge queue of guests had formed and that they were not being let on to the carpet at that time. I feared I would miss everything. I cursed myself for being so awkward and not simply following the instructions I’d been given. I now had to get to the far side of the Square, which, because parts were blocked off for the event, meant going back out and in at a later street. Fighting down the panic, I walked as fast as I could (stupid heels) and eventually, with a huge sigh of relief, found the queue for the Odeon guests. Fortunately, it was a far smaller queue than the Empire’s and, before I knew it, I was being ushered on to the red carpet.

It was quite a strange feeling at first. Lot’s of bright lights and noise and, for a few moments, I just followed the line of people I’d walked in with. Then I realised that I needed to backtrack as I didn’t want to go into the cinema right away, I wanted to see some of the cast. I turned around and immediately saw Mark Hadlow (Dori). I said “Hello” and we shook hands and chatted for a while about London and horror movies. Then I was thrilled as Kiran Shah, size double and stunt man in The Hobbit, joined us for some pictures.

Leaving Mark and Kiran I walked back up the red carpet to see who else was around. The cast were busy signing autographs and being interviewed, so I could take pictures but not talk to them. There was James Nesbitt, Adam Brown, Graham McTavish, and Stephen Hunter. Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd were there too. I managed to stay on the red carpet for almost half an hour before a security guard decided I ( and those like me – believe me, I was not alone!) really had had enough time amongst the cast and ushered us to the cinema entrance.

Inside the cinema I was greeted with a Hobbit goody-bag on my seat with food ( a savoury muffin, slice of rocky road, M&M’s and popcorn), water and 3D glasses. Wonderfully, you could buy a glass on wine too! I settled down to watch on the big screen the cast interviews that were still going on outside. The cast then assembled in the cinema to meet Prince William (which I always thought happened after the movie). Suddenly there were lots of excited whisperings going around the theatre and I noticed Andy Serkis had appeared, followed soon after by Peter Jackson. I never realised before that, once people had spoken to the Royals, they could leave the line!

Prince William then took his seat. Sadly, The Duchess of Cambridge was not with him as she has been advised to cancel her Royal duties because of her pregnancy sickness. God Save the Queen was played on an organ which rose out of the ground as in cinemas of old, accompanied by three horn players.

We had just sat down again, when a big cheer went up and Ian McKellen walked on stage to introduce the film. He really does have the most wonderful voice. He bade us put on our “…TV, No! CD, No! 3D glasses” and sit back and enjoy the film.

And then it started. The audience was ‘ooing’ and that was just at the Warner Bros, logo! This 3D HFR really was something special.

I’m not going to comment on the film as, by now, many of you will have seen it for yourselves. Suffice to say, I enjoyed it and, at the end, everyone cheered and clapped as the credits rolled. What a great night it had been!

The cinema sort of went into lock-down while the Prince left. The doors then opened and we all filed out.

As I reached the foyer the cast were coming down the main stairs. I tried to grab a picture of Dean O’Gorman, but I was in the middle of a large crowd, so I thought I’d wait outside where it was quieter. As I walked through the door I looked up at the man next to me. Blow me down if it wasn’t Aidan Turner! I said “Hi” and asked if I could have a pic, to which he charmingly asked me how I was and said “Yes, of course.” Then, to my absolute delight, a girl appeared by his side: Aidan’s girlfriend, the actress Sarah Greene. She cried, “Evie” and gave me a huge hug, then introduced me to Aidan as “…Evie, who writes about you for Middle-earth News.”

“Oh, that’s great!” he said whilst we jostled into position for a photo, at which point a total stranger came up and grabbed my phone and took this pic! How grateful am I for his steady hand.

Aidan and Sarah were then whisked away in their car and I was left to walk back to my hotel on Leicester Square. The Hobbit Bag End installation where there’d been the interviews and the large screen, had already been taken down; the red carpet rolled up and the Square was beginning to return to normal life, but I felt touched for the whole evening by a little bit of magic. What a wonderful night I had had.


 

 

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9 Comments

  1. Sounds amazing, Evie; what a magical night! And you got to meet Aidan and Sarah! So happy for you!

  2. Wonderful photos! Well done!

  3. Looks great, very jealous.

  4. Oh wow,I had goosebumps just reading this,you brought the night to life! :)

    Such a delightful picture of yourself with Aidan & Sarah,she looks radiant!

    xx

  5. Fantastic, what a great night you had, Evie! Go you!

  6. Wonderful! It sounds like a magical night. Ian McKellen is a legend, and I’m thrilled you met a couple of lovely dwarves. “Blow me down” indeed.

  7. Evie, good to read of your experience on the green carpet – I too was on that carpet having incredibly won a prize of 4 tickets to The Hobbit Premiere, including two rooms at the Thistle Hotel and all rail travel !! It was superb. But like you, I was a tad bewildered and lost out on a chance for us all to have a photo taken with Andy Serkis, who was walking right next to us on the carpet. Didn’t actually realize it was ok to ask for s photo

    . Took my husband,son and hid pal.

    • Lucky you, Melanie! Yes. The red carpet is a bit bewildering. What a shame you didn’t get a pic with Andy. Wouldn’t it be great if we could do it all again, knowing what we know?

  8. Now THAT would make it just perfect, wouldn’t
    it ! I’m just too much of a good Catholic girl to be ‘pushy’ or up front…sigh. Another missed opp was that The Dress ( ie. Cate’s Givenchy number ) was just leaving our hotel as we arrived, and as I passed her Stylist carrying the huge white Givenchy dress carrier, I raised an eyebrow and he grinned in response. I meant to say ” wow ! Who’s the lucky lady who’ll be wearing that ?” but stopped when it struck me that it might not be for a female at all..anyway, I’m hoping you may be know good contact addresses for Andy, Cate and Alan Lee ? Any pointers gratefully received; my son,13, has a portfolio of artwork he hopes to show some of to Alan Lee as he harbours an ambition to design on one of Peter’s films when he’s old enough. In hope and with thanks. Melanie