8 Jan - The 'War Horse' Royal Premiere

January 8th, 2012.

So to bring you quickly up to speed : after 40 hours either on a plane or transiting through Tokyo, within 24 hours of landing in London, I had my first premiere for the new year. And not just a premiere, but a ROYAL premiere. And not just a ROYAL premiere, but a *FREAKING STEVEN SPIELBERG* Royal Premiere.

With a Horse.

No pressure, in other words : here's how it went down.

Guy next to me says: "Do I want Steven Spielberg to sign this? What, and ruin it? Hell no, I just want him to look at it and say it's cool. That way I can tell all visitors to my home "Hey, Steven Spielberg thinks this looks cool" " I might be making this up. I'm kind of jet-lagged.

Guy next to me says: "Do I want Steven Spielberg to sign this? What, and ruin it? Hell no, I just want him to look at it and say it's cool. That way I can tell all visitors to my home "Hey, Steven Spielberg thinks this looks cool" " I might be making this up. I'm kind of jet-lagged.

Texts:"At first glance it's a film called "War Ho" or something. I can't imagine Spielberg doing movies in that genre, but we'll see. Anyway, gotta go"

Texts:"At first glance it's a film called "War Ho" or something. I can't imagine Spielberg doing movies in that genre, but we'll see. Anyway, gotta go"

If ever there was a premiere where you could get fired if the lighting isn't exactly perfect, you'd think this one would be it.

If ever there was a premiere where you could get fired if the lighting isn't exactly perfect, you'd think this one would be it.

The buildup continues. There are a lot of people. My spot is okay given the alternatives, but not brilliant compared to being allowed free rein of the place. Meanwhile, a young reporter opposite me provides eye-contact, and I feel kinda vulnerable.

The buildup continues. There are a lot of people. My spot is okay given the alternatives, but not brilliant compared to being allowed free rein of the place. Meanwhile, a young reporter opposite me provides eye-contact, and I feel kinda vulnerable.

Author Michael Morpurgo wrote the book the film is based on. The beret is awesome, too.  I have writing ambitions, but I don't have a beret. Note to self : must get beret.

Author Michael Morpurgo wrote the book the film is based on. The beret is awesome, too.  I have writing ambitions, but I don't have a beret. Note to self : must get beret.

The horse (possibly called 'Joey') who plays 'Joey' (also a horse) in the film was specially brought to the premiere, and was very well behaved.

The horse (possibly called 'Joey') who plays 'Joey' (also a horse) in the film was specially brought to the premiere, and was very well behaved.

NOW THIS? Is a LIST. I'm here for the guy on the top left. Weirdly, I don't see the horse anywhere on either page.

NOW THIS? Is a LIST. I'm here for the guy on the top left. Weirdly, I don't see the horse anywhere on either page.

"Working with Benedict Cumberbatch? No comment. None at all".

"Working with Benedict Cumberbatch? No comment. None at all".

IT'S STEVEN SPIELBERG. It's by no means a good shot, but even right now, it would almost literally take Charlize Theron MAKING OUT with Scarlett Johansson to depose this man as Photo For The Day (and it's unlikely, since neither are in the movie)

IT'S STEVEN SPIELBERG. It's by no means a good shot, but even right now, it would almost literally take Charlize Theron MAKING OUT with Scarlett Johansson to depose this man as Photo For The Day (and it's unlikely, since neither are in the movie)

"Don't leave me hanging, bro. I don't care who you are. You don't DO that" Young Director. Couple of films under his belt. Could do quite well for himself in years to come.... Okay, fine, cue my childlike excitement : Director Steven Spielberg has arrived!!!!

"Don't leave me hanging, bro. I don't care who you are. You don't DO that"

Young Director. Couple of films under his belt. Could do quite well for himself in years to come....
Okay, fine, cue my childlike excitement : Director Steven Spielberg has arrived!!!!

Woo! Spielberg! He seemed very nice and friendly. I don't think he high-fived that dude, though. It's all in the timing, I think, as I start rehearsing my ten second movie-pitch to The Master. (no, I'm not telling you what it's about, if I even have one!)

Woo! Spielberg! He seemed very nice and friendly. I don't think he high-fived that dude, though. It's all in the timing, I think, as I start rehearsing my ten second movie-pitch to The Master. (no, I'm not telling you what it's about, if I even have one!)

Jeremy Irvine and Steven Spielberg : Director and main star converse. Something about a dicey real estate scheme? Who knows...

Jeremy Irvine and Steven Spielberg : Director and main star converse. Something about a dicey real estate scheme? Who knows...

"Oh, no. Isn't there meant to be some guy who I owe five dollars to at this premiere? I totally forgot. I wonder if my autograph might satisfactorily discharge that alleged debt?". Yes, yes it *absolutely* would.


"Oh, no. Isn't there meant to be some guy who I owe five dollars to at this premiere? I totally forgot. I wonder if my autograph might satisfactorily discharge that alleged debt?". Yes, yes it *absolutely* would.

"You bought Amistad on VCR for me to autograph? F*&% yeah, I'll sign!" (to be fair, I'm not actually claiming this happened, or that Mr Spielberg swears, or that I was less than insanely jetlagged. But ten minutes later, somebody looking exactly like this guy signed an autograph for me and I think it was him!)

"You bought Amistad on VCR for me to autograph? F*&% yeah, I'll sign!" (to be fair, I'm not actually claiming this happened, or that Mr Spielberg swears, or that I was less than insanely jetlagged. But ten minutes later, somebody looking exactly like this guy signed an autograph for me and I think it was him!)

One of these three ploughs through barbed wire in the film. I'll give you a tip : it's not the director or the actor.

One of these three ploughs through barbed wire in the film. I'll give you a tip : it's not the director or the actor.

I kinda wish the Pentax had an autofocus setting that says 'focus on nobody but who I specify, ie. not anyone but Spielberg'.

I kinda wish the Pentax had an autofocus setting that says 'focus on nobody but who I specify, ie. not anyone but Spielberg'.

"Waddaya mean, George Lucas has finalised a script for the fifth Indiana Jones move and is starting shooting without consulting me on the story.... again? Are you sure? Can we stop him with snipers if necessary? Well, do it!" Damn straight.

"Waddaya mean, George Lucas has finalised a script for the fifth Indiana Jones move and is starting shooting without consulting me on the story.... again? Are you sure? Can we stop him with snipers if necessary? Well, do it!" Damn straight.

Emily Watson is not the girl from the Harry Potter movies, all grown up so soon. No, EMILY Waston has been in a heap of movies I haven't watched. Well... other than this one.

Emily Watson is not the girl from the Harry Potter movies, all grown up so soon. No, EMILY Waston has been in a heap of movies I haven't watched. Well... other than this one.

Not a random passerby shot by any means. This is producer Kathleen Kennedy, who has basically produced every Spielberg movie ever, plus pretty much everything else big in Hollywood since Back to the Future. (I exaggerate, but not much). Besides Mr Spielberg himself, if you (or I) were going to pitch a movie idea to anyone at this premiere, it would be her. I clutch my draft script for teen vampire romance with, like seriously, almost NOTHING in common with TWILIGHT very tightly...

Not a random passerby shot by any means. This is producer Kathleen Kennedy, who has basically produced every Spielberg movie ever, plus pretty much everything else big in Hollywood since Back to the Future. (I exaggerate, but not much). Besides Mr Spielberg himself, if you (or I) were going to pitch a movie idea to anyone at this premiere, it would be her. I clutch my draft script for teen vampire romance with, like seriously, almost NOTHING in common with TWILIGHT very tightly...

Meanwhile, Michael Morpurgo's beret continues its plan to take over the world. If successful, Michael Morpurgo's scarf will be given administrative control over Australia.

Meanwhile, Michael Morpurgo's beret continues its plan to take over the world. If successful, Michael Morpurgo's scarf will be given administrative control over Australia.

Steven Spielberg has entered 'our' area, and is SIGNING AUTOGRAPHS!!

Steven Spielberg has entered 'our' area, and is SIGNING AUTOGRAPHS!!

He may or may not also be getting a whole heap of very very rapidly delivered script treatments. This expression, I think, means that he's not entirely dismissing my idea for a teen vampire romance with werewolves, but, like seriously, almost NOTHING in common with Twilight. Wait, really? Well, my people will STILL contact your people, yes? Needless to say, I got the autograph FIRST, then pitched the screenplay.

He may or may not also be getting a whole heap of very very rapidly delivered script treatments. This expression, I think, means that he's not entirely dismissing my idea for a teen vampire romance with werewolves, but, like seriously, almost NOTHING in common with Twilight. Wait, really? Well, my people will STILL contact your people, yes? Needless to say, I got the autograph FIRST, then pitched the screenplay.

"'ET2'? No, and stop asking. 'A.I.2'? Hayley Joel Osment is, like, forty by now. 'Jurassic Park IV'? Already working on THAT so back off. 'Jaws V'? No chance. 'Indy V'? Only if the flying monkeys I've sent after George fail in their task. 'Catch me if you Can II'? I barely remember that film. Keep 'em coming, people..."

"'ET2'? No, and stop asking. 'A.I.2'? Hayley Joel Osment is, like, forty by now. 'Jurassic Park IV'? Already working on THAT so back off. 'Jaws V'? No chance. 'Indy V'? Only if the flying monkeys I've sent after George fail in their task. 'Catch me if you Can II'? I barely remember that film. Keep 'em coming, people..."

Just in case you thought this premiere couldn't be more awesome, Tom Hiddleston and Tom Hiddleston's lustrous hair just showed up!!

Just in case you thought this premiere couldn't be more awesome, Tom Hiddleston and Tom Hiddleston's lustrous hair just showed up!!

Ah, yes. The matter of the five dollars one of us owes the other...

Ah, yes. The matter of the five dollars one of us owes the other...

Benedict Cumberbatch! You may remember him from.... from.... from.... the premiere of 'Creation'? No.. .too obscure. This movie? Well... no, you haven't seen it yet. So......?"

Benedict Cumberbatch! You may remember him from.... from.... from.... the premiere of 'Creation'? No.. .too obscure. This movie? Well... no, you haven't seen it yet. So......?"

Ah, yes. The TV Series 'Sherlock'. But I haven't seen that yet.

Ah, yes. The TV Series 'Sherlock'. But I haven't seen that yet.

Fine. One more shot of Loki for the connoisseurs out there 8)

Fine. One more shot of Loki for the connoisseurs out there 8)

There was a stage in the far, far distance. Fortunately indeed I opted against the small fan enclave near it, because basically none of the *major* cast or crew (or horse) were interviewed on it or near it. (Whew!)

There was a stage in the far, far distance. Fortunately indeed I opted against the small fan enclave near it, because basically none of the *major* cast or crew (or horse) were interviewed on it or near it. (Whew!)

Richard Curtis is normally a director ('Love Actually', 'The Boat That Rocked') - but he wrote the screenplay for this  film (and 'Notting Hill', among other things). Still, gives you an idea of the kind of pull Spielberg has. The Wachowski brothers might even be runners on the set of a Spielberg movie if he wants them to.

Richard Curtis is normally a director ('Love Actually', 'The Boat That Rocked') - but he wrote the screenplay for this  film (and 'Notting Hill', among other things). Still, gives you an idea of the kind of pull Spielberg has. The Wachowski brothers might even be runners on the set of a Spielberg movie if he wants them to.

Not sure. One of the little kids from Harry Potter, now aged in his mid/late twenties?

Not sure. One of the little kids from Harry Potter, now aged in his mid/late twenties?

David Thewlis, aka Professor Lupin in Harry Potter, stops to sign briefly. Sorry about the weird tint on this one. Orange ambient lighting and a lot of mobile phone and point-and-shoot flashes from the crowd can make things difficult. (No I'm not complaining!)

David Thewlis, aka Professor Lupin in Harry Potter, stops to sign briefly. Sorry about the weird tint on this one. Orange ambient lighting and a lot of mobile phone and point-and-shoot flashes from the crowd can make things difficult. (No I'm not complaining!)

"War of the Worlds 2"? Nah, we already won pretty decisively. "The Terminal 2?" I don't really even remember the movie. "Duel 2"? Fast and the Furious pretty much covered it. "Close Encounters of the SIXTH KIND"? I don't even want to know what kind of closeness we'd be talking about. "1941-II"? Wow, really? Still, keep 'em coming... I can reject about eight of these per minute..."

"War of the Worlds 2"? Nah, we already won pretty decisively. "The Terminal 2?" I don't really even remember the movie. "Duel 2"? Fast and the Furious pretty much covered it. "Close Encounters of the SIXTH KIND"? I don't even want to know what kind of closeness we'd be talking about. "1941-II"? Wow, really? Still, keep 'em coming... I can reject about eight of these per minute..."

Eddie Marson plays Inspector Lastrade in Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes. Oh, and he's in War Horse.

Eddie Marson plays Inspector Lastrade in Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes. Oh, and he's in War Horse.

Actor Jeremy Irvine is the lead in this film and he's actually never been in a movie before. That's a pretty seriously cool director to be able to put on your resume. And here's his 'Check Out How Cool I Am' pose. (Damn. That's pretty cool.)

Actor Jeremy Irvine is the lead in this film and he's actually never been in a movie before. That's a pretty seriously cool director to be able to put on your resume. And here's his 'Check Out How Cool I Am' pose. (Damn. That's pretty cool.)

Apparently cast him in spite of his 'Check Out How Cool I Am' pose.

Apparently cast him in spite of his 'Check Out How Cool I Am' pose.

All the stars have gone inside and it has started to rain. Time to go home? No… not yet. But things start getting a lot less good photographically from here. And did I mention this was a Royal Premiere? Well, it is.

 

"Spielberg not only signed it, but he breathed on it. Quick...how do you spell 'ebay'??"

"Spielberg not only signed it, but he breathed on it. Quick...how do you spell 'ebay'??"

Devastation. Unbeknownst to me until I got home, my manually prefocussed lens had been bumped by an umbrella put up by fans who couldn’t hack a bit of rain. Gah!!!

Devastation. Unbeknownst to me until I got home, my manually prefocussed lens had been bumped by an umbrella put up by fans who couldn’t hack a bit of rain. Gah!!!

To even partially and improperly improve this unsalvagable shot, I had to roll out The Photoshop Filter Of Last Resort. GAH!!!

To even partially and improperly improve this unsalvagable shot, I had to roll out The Photoshop Filter Of Last Resort. GAH!!!

In every frame before this, the umbrella blocked the view. In every frame from this one on, His Royal Highness has chosen to hold the umbrella handle in such a way as to block Her Royal Highness' face. GAH!!!!!!!

In every frame before this, the umbrella blocked the view. In every frame from this one on, His Royal Highness has chosen to hold the umbrella handle in such a way as to block Her Royal Highness' face. GAH!!!!!!!

"So anyway, why not keep the delightful discussion we're having right in front of your husband going so you don't have to look at the crowd, shall we?" I say again : *GAHHH!!!!!!*


"So anyway, why not keep the delightful discussion we're having right in front of your husband going so you don't have to look at the crowd, shall we?" I say again : *GAHHH!!!!!!*

"No... sadly while one does have two tickets to the film, one will be taking one's wife to see it I'm afraid"

"No... sadly while one does have two tickets to the film, one will be taking one's wife to see it I'm afraid"

And? It's time to go home.

(pause for effect)

But I got Spielberg!!

So, basically, it's a pretty damn good day when you get a photo of Steven Spielberg. It means that if I go through the list of my favourite directors of all time, I can now say I have actually photographed James Cameron at Avatar,  and Peter Jackson at The Lovely Bones, as well as J J Abrams at Star Trek, and of course Quentin Tarantino at Inglourius Basterds.... and possibly Zack Snyder if I can ever forgive Sucker Punch by remembering how awesome 300, Dawn of the Dead or Watchmen were (Me, 2014 : I've seen Man of Steel, so... No).

To summarise: It's a pretty cool thing to be able to do by mere virtue of me having time, and a camera, and sufficient motivation to go to these things. Is it time to pack up this craze and find something else, though?

Erm... no. Ridley Scott? The Wachowskis? Sofia Coppola? Robert Zemeckis? Clint Eastwood Without A Cappuchino Sign behind his head? Some dude called CHRIS NOLAN? .... They're all on my 'To-Do' list. (As for George Lucas, dude.... I'm afraid your strike rate is just too damn low). (But you know I would!).

Anyway, a big win for "The Archive of Movie Premieres"

Until next time!

And if you ever want to know when I post one of these journals, feel free to follow me on twitter @berndt2_photo, or on facebook at premieresdotco.