I feel like there should be a drum roll for this one… DRUMROLL PLEASE! The Lovely Erica presents… The Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 New York Premiere Report! Traveling all the way to New York City just for this event, Erica brings us right to the forefront of this… lengthy day! Lol…
Damn… I’m not going to waste any more time with an intro because Erica has a very detailed account that needs to be fully absorbed to be appreciated!
With the eight and final installment of Harry Potter’s story due in theaters this weekend, I journeyed to New York to say my farewell by watching the US premiere of the film. Although I was prepared to wait some time for this premiere, I had no idea what I was in for as a whole lot of other people had the same idea!
Now, I’m not the type of person who camps out for things – I went camping once when I was 12 years old and woke up with over 40 mosquito bites so I haven’t felt the need to sleep outdoors again. However, if you’re determined to fly out to NY for the final Harry Potter movie premiere, you will be spending time al fresco!
The premiere was at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center. One of the most respected performing arts centers in the world. Never thought I’d be camped in front of it! As we were not allowed to wait on Lincoln Center property, we were lined up across the street on a traffic island since Broadway and Columbus intersect at an odd angle here.
Really the crowd was quite organized as we all formed a line. We were on the patrol route for the NYPD and the Lincoln Square neighborhood so we were pretty well protected. Although I’m grateful for the clear skies, it was really hot and sunny so there was a forest of umbrellas all over this little traffic island.
My sister Linda and I sat down and started to get to know our neighbors. We met some really some cool people in front of us – another sibling duo from Chicago, so of course they were cool! Manny and Anna drove in and were dying to see Emma Watson. Behind us was a family from Atlanta who were granting the 15 year old girl’s birthday wish to come to the premiere. We all sang Happy Birthday to her as she blew out her candles before any cops could come by and tell us not to have any open flames!
The first bit of excitement was the arrival of the barricades, the first sign that this event was really going to happen. I don’t think a stack of barricades ever got such a huge ovation before!
As we passed the time in conversation, my sister and I spotted some Warner Bros. executives who were scoping out our camping grounds and were happy to answer some questions. Yes, they were planning on doing wristbands. No, they didn’t know how many. At last! Confirmation that our blind faith in lining up early would be rewarded!
At 8:30, we see a car pull up and it’s free pizza! Then everyone realizes it’s free pizza being delivered by Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy)!!! Holy crap!
Everyone rushes over and it’s pure joy as Tom hands out food and stays to do a few autographs and pictures. Manny manages to grab a great picture while I’m behind a whole bunch of folks. As people start to swarm, security moves him back into the car for safety as some fans are being a bit aggressive in showing their love. So nice of him to drop by!
A couple of hours later a handful of us head across the street to Lincoln Center and see just a handful of people on the plaza. There is a group of three men which includes Alan Rickman getting a rundown on tomorrow’s set-up from the Executive Director of Lincoln Center, Andre Bishop! Yeah! Alan is here!! There are so many of us that Alan wouldn’t appreciate a mob of 40 approaching him, so we back off, content to let them finish talking and to head back inside Avery Fisher Hall. Pretty soon Alan’s tour is over and he heads off. Nice to know that the stars will really be out for this premiere!
People continue to arrive until about midnight, at which point, the line has complete lapped the traffic island. For the last premiere, the first to arrive was about noon the day before. This year, the first arrivals were at around noon, six days before!
It’s quiet as some people head off to sleep and others spend time making some beautiful, elaborate signs for the next day.
The police continue to circle by to make sure we’re all nicely tucked in for the night. At one point we hear the soundtrack being blared from a car. When we confirm it’s one of the cop cars, we all cheer him on. At least the NYPD are amused with us!
At around 6 am, the next wave of people start to arrive. They’re pretty startled to see so many people here already. By 7 am, the island is packed completely full so who knows what will happen as we get closer to show time?
Across the street, the premiere team is hard at work setting up the event as the barricades go up, the lights are brought in, and, yes, they start to lay out the red carpet!
There’s a cheer when the first poster goes up and then the Ron fanatics scream when Ron’s poster is put up.
The news crews are out to talk to fans. Also, random cars driving by would honk and would then be rewarded with a big cheer each time. I think word has gotten around and drivers are amused. Interestingly, garbage truck drivers are the ones most likely to show their solidarity.
Muggle.net is here and holding some trivia contests with prizes. There are some frantic thumbs answer back questions!
In the mass of the crowd, Linda and I get separated from our fellow Chicagoans, Manny and Anna are in the back. They report that a tree branch fell, but luckily didn’t hit anyone.
Hours to go in the heat, surrounded by thousands of people so it’s no surprise when an ambulance arrives since someone fainted from the heat. Harry Potter fans are serious people!
At around 3 pm, we see the radio contest/twitter contest winners are all lined up for their VIP pens. They will watch from the bleachers and attend the movie premiere. Sigh! If only! (Not for lack of trying!)
We finally get word that they are handing out the wristbands! There’s some drama involved as they start to hand them out, but they most reward those who have been here the longest. Linda and I manage to grab a pair and we head over to the appropriate line. I see that the girls who traveled all the way over from Japan were also rewarded as are the girls who got in line 6 days ahead of time. Yeah us!!
We eventually get sorted into a fan pit at the end of the red carpet! Really! We’re at the end of the carpet so we’ll get to see everything and everyone! Yeah!!
It’s a huge event as this is HALF of the red carpet! The stars will arrive on the other, side, do a few quick speeches, walk down a carpet that’s the mirror image of this one, complete with a VIP fan section, just like the one to the right of us. Hoo boy! That’s a lot of fans!
Our host for the event is warming up the crowd with (easy) trivia questions like “What is the name of Hermione’s cat?” It helps to get everyone excited. Trust me, we’re all excited, but just a little groggy from the wait and the heat! Thankfully WB is passing out tons of water to everyone, including the press.
At 4 pm, they start to bring arrivals up on platform so we can hear who is here. They do speeches, but they are really short since I think the group is all cried out after the emotional London premiere.
Still, everyone is excited for what they have to say. Of the more memorable speeches is Matthew Lewis who says “I always wanted to say this…Hello, New York!” and is greeted with a large roar.
Since we’re at the back end of the carpet, it takes a while for the cast to trickle over to us. So we can hear the roar of the crowd and then we sit tight to wait to see what happens!
The first person we spot is Rupert Grint. Knowing that he was one of the first to arrive in London and that he covered the whole carpet, it’s not a surprise that he’s here early as well. He has a cheery smile on his face, but seems a bit shy as he really doesn’t say anything, but smiles and signs everything and takes pictures. He’s also dressed to the nines in a really cool suit with some great texture. He has such an amiable, shy personality that you know he really appreciates the fans when he goes out of his way to reach out to the hoards of screaming fans! Yeah!!
As many people are fans of Harry Potter, there are a lot of celebrities in attendance as well. We spot Seth Green making his way down the carpet. My sister brought her Buffy the Vampire Slayer cast shot for him to sign, but Seth finishes his interview and heads inside.
Joey Fatone walks down and waves to the crowd and comes over to sign a few signatures.
Joey runs into Tom Felton who has also come early to spend some precious moments with us fans. Joey and Tom shake hands and chat for a few minutes and then Tom heads back to the fans.
He’s making his way down quickly, but is giving everyone a nice, full, distinctive signature and a quick smile and exchange of words. He’s not doing pictures to that he has time to reach everyone which is a fair exchange considering how many people there are. Like Rupert, he’s dressed really sharp, despite the blistering heat. Tom has been tweeting to his fans to stay hydrated so we know he’s felt our pain!
He greets members of the Feltbeats Army and spends an extra moment with them to talk and write them a particular message with his autograph. He then turns to the VIP group and autographs some of the pizza boxes he delivered yesterday. Such a nice guy!
Turning back to the carpet, we see Jay Manuel (America’s Next Top Model’s Mr. J) making his way down the press line and also with the fans.
My sister starts yelling when we spot Duff Goldman from Food Network’s Ace of Cakes. Duff has made cakes for previous Harry Potter premieres (Hogwarts Express, Hogwarts) so his presence can only mean he’s made another cake for tonight’s party!
American Ferrera, looking very glam, is making her way down the carpet, stopping to chat with fans along the way.
Some of the younger girls in the crowd perk up when they see Grayson Chance on the carpet. One of the girls behind me really wants a picture and there is thankfully enough space for me to move out so she can get a great picture.
I also see Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick on the carpet and I start calling for them. Since we’re in the corner and there are other people in front of us, I can only watch as Sarah turns the corner and stops to sign for a few other folks down the line.
Whoopi is coming down the carpet and, as soon as she starts to hear people call her name, she starts to run off the carpet. Literally. It’s in a cartoon fashion so it does get a laugh from the crowd, but Whoopi is not fond of large crowds of folks.
Duff finishes with his interviews and we wave him on over. He’s very personable and says he’s thrilled to be able to walk the carpet for something this cool. He tells us that this year’s cake is once again Hogwarts, but this time it’s Hogwarts-in-ruins. I can only imagine that the actual cake is stunning and incredibly sad at the same time!
We can see the Three Davids and Steve Kloves doing interviews. First up is David Heyman who is the man most responsible for being Harry Potter to the screen. He is always very nice and friendly and so good with fans! Today is no exception as he spends a few moments with us. As he signs my poster, I call out “Thanks — for everything!” and he replies “no, really, it’s thanks to you guys for watching!” as he continues to sign for folks. Yep, a seriously nice man.
We can see the director of the second half of the film series, David Yates finishing up interviews. Once he’s finished, he heads inside to the theater.
Melissa Joan Hart stops for the fans, she’s quiet, but very obliging
Steve Kloves, the screen writer for 7 of the 8 films, signs a few for the VIP pit, but then heads off to the theatre as well.
David Barrons, the last of the Three Davids and one of the producers, hurries over to us for a couple of quick signatures, but rushes off as there is obviously something official going on since everyone seems to be headed in.
At last we see Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe signing away. He’s with the VIP pit and is chatting and interacting with the crowd. I have seen him four times in person and, to quote Dumbledore he is always “unfailingly polite.” Unfortunately, he gets pulled away from the crowd quite quickly since time is running short and they are keeping to a prompt schedule.
Matthew Lewis is also somewhere in the area, but there are so many people and I don’t see him.
It’s mass chaos at the VIP pit since Rupert and Tom have finished talking to the press and are covering the last group of fans they have not signed for yet. They really are so great!
In the midst of people I see that Emma Watson has made her way over as well! Wow! Where did she come from? She’s dressed almost the opposite of what she wore in London: for the world premiere, she was in a fairy princess sort of dress and today she’s more dark and sophisticated. She’s working that crowd with a determined look to her face.
A huge cry goes up from us fans as we see Alan Rickman walking by! Alan signed for the first VIP group, but he is also not fond of crowds and is making his way inside. Ah well! I really wanted to meet him, but I knew there wasn’t a great chance. Still, it was great to see him come over for the NY premiere!
I couldn’t even see him at the time, but Matthew Lewis is with Alan Rickman as they leave the carpet. Amazing how grown up he looks, isn’t it?
It’s pretty typical that you won’t get to everyone at a premiere and, really, these stars are honestly doing their best to get to everyone. However, when you have the most popular story in the history the films, there are a lot of people to cover! Ah well!
Emma comes over and is on a mission to make sure she signs for everyone. Although every other person has been called off the carpet, she is still going down and signing for everyone! Classy lady indeed!
And that’s the end of the carpet. Weeks of planning, days of camping, ounce of sweat later, the final Harry Potter premiere is over. We got to see everyone and to meet quite a few of the talent who really went out of their way to meet as many fans as possible.
It was great that the US got such an elaborate premiere even after the huge London event. This goodbye was a fitting way to send off this historic final film which hits theaters this weekend.