Catwoman UK Movie Premiere at Leicester Square,
London Tuesday 3rd August
By Steve Rudd
Ok, close your eyes, listen carefully and think hard. Where on earth can you see - and potentially -
meet the likes of Halle Berry, Sharon Stone, Benjamin Bratt, Will Smith and David Hasselhoff
(no, seriously!) in the space of just two days?
I'll give you a clue if you haven't sussed it out already and done the logical thing, i.e. referred
to the article title above.
Yep, in London's glitz-spattered and glamour-glazed Leicester Square - that's where.
Despite nurturing a deep-rooted obsession with anything and everything movie-related
for more years than I care to remember (no, for more years than I actually can remember),
I'd never had the fortune of witnessing at first hand the magic of a movie premiere..
not until I was strolling around Leicester Square back at the beginning of August and
noticed a lorry load of workmen rushing around assembling a line of metal safety barriers,
while a bunch of carpenters set to work laying down a temporary red carpet leading up to
the Vue cinema that lies just off to the side of the main square.
Naturally, I was intrigued. At first I thought the carpenters had gone mad, and then the city council.
Perhaps laying down carpets instead of fresh tarmac and loose chippings is a cheaper way to fix
cracked and pot-holed paths and roads?
Asking around a few equally as bemused-looking people who were lingering nearby about what
was going on, they succinctly answered all my quick-fire questions with gleaming relish,
but I still didn't understand or fully comprehend a word that they'd kindly relayed in my direction.
But it wasn't my fault that I can't speak German - I'd never been taught it at school,
and instead was forced to learn French.
Still, I guess learning French is more worthwhile an ordeal than, say, learning the language of Latin.
After much ado about nothing, it finally transpired that the UK movie premiere of Catwoman
was taking place there in a few hours, so I decided to hang around, and hang around, and
then - ultimately - utterly flip out.
The nice lady in the nearby Tourist Information kiosk had cheerily informed me that the
premiere (i.e., the much anticipated point at which the movie stars glide down the red carpet
in all their finery) would kick off about 5pm, so I was a little miffed when a
nearby church bell-tower struck seven.. and not one taxi had turned up and turfed
out a famous person in any shape or form. Hell, not even so-called celebrities of
Busted's caliber had shown their faces.
All the while I was waiting, along with a few hundred more increasingly impatient folk, some
of the worst storms in years were raging over other parts of London; storms so bad that
various trains were cancelled due to waterlogged rails, and a girl in Hyde Park was
struck into submission by lightning), and I watched with interest as the skies to the West
of us grow darker and darker.
But then there was a roar of approval from the crowd as people begin drifting down the carpet.
Avid Merrion would have been in his element (I was surprised I didn't see him there), as
beautiful people aplenty made for the cinema entrance, past the paparazzi and army of
TV presenters, all ready to pounce for interviews.
The thing was, nobody recognised anybody walking by and another hour's wait had to be endured
before the star of Catwoman in Halle Berry sauntered down the aisle, looking perfectly
radiant and drop dead gorgeous.
Even if the Catwoman movie isn't the most original, exciting or inspirational movie of
the 2004 summer season, anything that stars Halle is really worth seeing simply for her.
Having made her name through starring in movies such as Die Another Day, Gothika' and, er..
The Flintstones, she is hotter property than ever.
Fans aplenty shouted across to her and begged for her to come over and sign autographs,
but the way that the premieres are rigged-up means that at one side of the red carpet there
are the fans, and on the side - nearest to the cinema - are all the press and media types.
Obviously it's in the stars' best interests to give as many interviews as possible;
often neglecting the screaming fans behind them altogether, which must be supremely
annoying if people have waited around for hours to specifically see a movie-star.
Halle, to her credit, did come over and sign some autographs for a few minutes before
returning to the art of chatting to the likes of TOTP presenter Tim Kash, ex-Big Brother
nice guy Brian Dowling and T4's June Sarpong.
Sharon Stone (who plays Catwoman's arch enemy in the movie), on the otherhand, barely even
glanced across at 'the fans side,' giving a few rushed interviews before hurrying inside
the cinema once it started raining.
The crowd, as a result, seemed gutted.
All they wanted at the end of the day was for her to sign their tatty Basic Instinct posters.
And who could blame them?
As for my initial reference in the first paragraph to Will Smith and David Hasselhoff.
They were just two of the many stars to attend the much more high profile I, Robot movie
premiere that took place the following afternoon, just around the corner at the grand Odeon cinema.
Will Smith really couldn't not show his face (he's the star of the movie afterall, and
what a GREAT movie it is!), while Mr. Hasselhoff was simply one of the randomly invited
guests who seems to have been doing a lot of press work in Britain recently now he's taken
to the stage and his indulging in some theatrical work. Hey, who said there isn't life after Baywatch?
Will even performed a couple of songs on a specially-erected stage in the lovely little park
that forms the center-piece to Leicester Square.. and all this entertainment was for free too.
Ah, you've got to love London, haven't you?..
If only the UGC cinema complex in Hull could stage some movie premieres for us lot stuck up
here in East Yorkshire.
PS, Sorry there aren't any authentic photos from the Catwoman event; it was the first day in
ages that I didn't go out with my camera, presuming as I did that I wouldn't see anything
all that exciting.
Which was typical, especially when there are few sights more exciting
than Halle Berry floating like an angel just a few feet away from you. Rest assured, I learnt
from my mistake and from this day forth will never leave my house without my camera again.
Well, at least when I'm London..
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