As I was out chasing Gaga… Did I mention how awesome she was? I’m still dieing! Sigh…. Anyway, back to reality Mike! LOL… The lovely Erica was out and about in Westwood for the Rango premiere. Erica really wanted Johnny Depp and she really wanted her Pirates of the Caribbean poster signed… She was kind enough to bring my Sleepy Hollow poster as well… Ah good times… Anyway, Erica can tell it better than I cause she was there! Duh! LOL… Oh with the show!
Any time Johnny Depp is appearing, you know there will be large crowds and it’s going to be crazy. The good news for fans is that this was kind of a last minute premiere for the animated film Rango so it may not be as crazy as the last Johnny Depp premiere I went to (Public Enemies). In any case, I head out early and get prepared to wait a while…
Sure enough, there are only a handful of us at the start. It’s a mix of fans (some women who got here at 6 am!) and some of the, uh, less aggressive professional autograph seekers. I’m standing next to the guy known as CB and Pinky also joins us not too far away. We all find our spots and settle in for the next couple of hours.
The premiere is in Westwood so we are periodically joined by students. Pretty early in the day a couple of students from Japan and Germany join us. Trying to be helpful, I point out a better spot to wait. They really don’t believe me, but as others echo my sentiments, they reluctantly move but continue to give me suspicious looks implying I was trying to sabotage them…it’s a long afternoon of getting the fish eye from them!
Time passes and its really surprising how small the turnout is right now…which means we’re going to get a ton of last minute professionals who will be diving over people from behind — ergo we’re going to get crushed!
At around 3 pm, CB spots Jon Lovitz walking around. CB’s voice carries a little strongly as he exclaims “it’s Jon Lovitz”! since Jon suddenly ducks into the nearest store. Yeah, either Jon wants to avoid a couple of barricades-worth of people who suddenly know who he is or he had a suddenly craving for donuts. Come to think of it, either explanation is totally plausible, right? Anyway, Pinky heard CB’s cry and heads into the donut shop to investigate and find Jon. She returns from the shop triumphant and reports that he was actually quite nice and took a picture with her.
Jon then crosses the street towards the premiere and takes pictures. We have no clue what he’s up to as he’s photographing his companion, the movie premiere set up and even us.
Now the barricades swell with many of the late comers and students. The barricades are starting to get pretty full. It’s mostly students gathering around me and other collectors/professionals are in a different area. We’re a good 4 to 6 people deep at this point.
The set-up crew is finally finishing with the red carpet (or dirt-colored carpet). There is a ton of space for the press, but also a set of bleachers which will hold maybe 150 people.
About an hour before the celebrities should start to arrive, a news truck pulls up and parks in front of some of the people on the barricade! The people on the barricade start to protest, but the news truck is so late, they are taking this parking spot and there is no way they are going to move! Suddenly those folks who had settled into a spot need to move and things are suddenly really, really crowded.
At around 5:30, they bleachers start to fill which a whole bunch of school kids. Boy, this is going to be a late night for them…and on a school night!
We’re in the final stretch of waiting and we’re all really packed in at this point. So packed in that I can’t avoid hearing some of the conversation around me which includes great conversation like:
• I don’t really care about Johnny Depp….I just want to make people jealous.
• Seeing Johnny Depp is like getting into Columbia.
• What’s SEP? Oh, sperm entry point, duh.
• I should have gone to the Green Hornet premiere for Jay Chou…not that I like him or anything, but the more famous they are, the better they are.
Jeez, the red carpet can’t start fast enough for me!!
Just before its magic time, security starts to check out the barricades to make sure they’ll hold. They know the chaos that’s coming! They also start to hand out mini posters for Rango! Always good news and bad news. Good news = free poster. Bad news = Now everyone will want a signature. Sigh!
At around 6 pm, the first limo arrives and we don’t see much at first. A few minutes later, I see someone on the carpet — yes, it’s Isla Fisher (Wedding Crashers, Confessions of a Shopaholic)! I can’t believe we missed her! She’s really early too! She is relatively petite so she was hidden behind the wall of her entourage. By the time we spot her, she’s halfway down the carpet so there’s no way she’s coming over now. Our only hope is to get hereafter she leaves the red carpet and before she goes into the theater.
Various young starlets are doing the carpet, but there’s no one we’re looking for. Then a car drops and it looks like there’s a team of people getting ready to cross the street and come over to us. The team starts to move and we see it’s Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine, Broadway’s The Miracle Worker) looking very grown up! She heads straight to us and signs for CB and then me and then starts to sign up a storm.
A ton of the collectors/professionals start to throw a lot of stuff her way so she really doesn’t move much, but signs a good amount. Pretty soon her people pull her towards the carpet. There’s a protest from the folks who got smushed in by the news van, so she heads over and does a few for them and then heads to the red carpet.
There’s a pause in the action and then a couple of limos pulls up. CB spots a guy with a hat in the first limo so we all start to scream ‘Johnny!!’ since our hero of the evening has arrived. We’re all screaming for all we’re worth, but there’s a team of folks herding him over to the carpet. He turns and motions that he’ll do sign later.
Johnny goes in to do his photos pretty quickly and then he goes to the bleachers where the kids go nuts. Johnny, being a real fan-friendly celebrity, proceeds to get into the bleachers and signs and takes pictures with the kids! He’s in there for a good 20 minutes. No joke! Yep, he’s that good to his fans!!
Meanwhile, Timothy Olyphant arrives and signs for part of crowd. He doesn’t make his way over to us which is a tragedy since I like him and have never seen him before. Drat!
About this time, Isla finishes the carpet and we call for her. She doesn’t acknowledge us even though she’s just hanging around. A few minutes later they pull her back to the carpet to do a cast photo now that Timothy is here. After she finishes, she exits the carpet and manages a vague wave over her shoulder, but goes straight into the theater. Ugh! Very disappointing!
Timothy finishes doing press and also heads straight inside…although we call for him, he doesn’t acknowledge us. Sadness! I wish he would have come over, but at least he did some for the other corner. Sigh! Wrong place! It’s always a crapshoot!
Then, the main event begins! Johnny has finally finished signing for all the kids and he’s also finished with his interviews. Security is out on force and there is a huge team around Johnny. They cross over and he begins on the far side of our corner. Yes, those exchange students are thanking me now as he heads straight toward them!
In the chaos, Pinky manages to get a picture with Johnny which is amazing! I settle in to wait for Johnny to make his way down and his publicist is trying to keep the mob calm by reassuring us that he’s coming and we should NOT push. I’m not sure any of the people behind me heard that! Pretty soon, he’s making his way over and the crush begins.
Among the several brave security guards is one guy who is bent in half, bracing the barricades with all his might as the crowd 7 people deep starts to surge. I’m braced shoulder to shoulder with my neighbors as we try to brace against the onslaught from above and behind.
I barely manage to get my Pirates of the Caribbean poster signed as one of the, uh, less popular professionals dives over our heads with a stack of photos. Since we’re all braced against each other, the entire barricade shudders together and even Johnny pauses as all the photos and posters in front of him shimmy. Johnny takes a second to re-set where he is and then starts to sign my second item which is Mike’s Sleepy Hallow poster! Can it be I just got 2 from Johnny Depp?!? In this madness!? Wow!
There is still a ton of push from the crowd behind us which is now getting desperate as Johnny is finishing up in our area. I’m trying to hold onto my precious signed posters and my camera while simultaneously not barreling head-first into the barricade where the security guard is still doubled, pushing to keep things upright. This is what happens when you meet the biggest movie star in the world!
Then as suddenly as the wave pushed forward, it lets up as Johnny continues to make his way down the barricade.
As chaotic as this was, Johnny was pretty serene and signed so much for everyone! There were fewer people here than his last premiere so he took a little more time.
In fact, everyone I talk to got multiples from Johnny! Wow! This man really deserves his reputation as being great to his fans. He spent more time with his fans (us + kids in the bleachers) than with the press and signed somewhere between 300 to 400 signatures tonight. I don’t think you will find many celebrities who would do that, do you?
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