20 Jan - The UK premiere of 'Spotlight'

January 20th, 2016.

Unaccountably, for yet another year I find myself in London doing movie premieres. I guess I'll keep doing them as long as I have no supermodels to date, or otherwise nothing better to do. And this particular evening, it was cold and dark and I had an evening phone conference with the USA scheduled....

... so in other words, I had nothing better to do. Here's how it went down:

The movie is 'Spotlight' and it's got SIX Oscar nominations for this year's awards, including best picture, director, supporting actor and supporting actress. Devasatingly (for me), the best supporting actress nominee Rachel McAdams is not expected to attend tonight.

The movie is 'Spotlight' and it's got SIX Oscar nominations for this year's awards, including best picture, director, supporting actor and supporting actress. Devasatingly (for me), the best supporting actress nominee Rachel McAdams is not expected to attend tonight.

Needless to say, this is not Rachel McAdams, nor a reasonable facsimile thereof.

Needless to say, this is not Rachel McAdams, nor a reasonable facsimile thereof.

This premiere is not being held in the glitz and glamour of Leicester Square tonight... it's in a disregarded laneway at the Curzon Mayfair, and ominously it seems they are electing not to close the road for this one, meaning I could be shooting through stalled traffic and large white vans from across the road when the stars arrive. Ouch.

This premiere is not being held in the glitz and glamour of Leicester Square tonight... it's in a disregarded laneway at the Curzon Mayfair, and ominously it seems they are electing not to close the road for this one, meaning I could be shooting through stalled traffic and large white vans from across the road when the stars arrive. Ouch.

"Are ALL of these people coming? At once, I mean?" your camera's rapid-fire mode may be required. The key attendees at this one : Michael Keaton (former DC Batman), Mark Ruffalo (current Marvel Hulk) and Stanley Tucci (sadly not current DC Lex Luthor).

"Are ALL of these people coming? At once, I mean?" your camera's rapid-fire mode may be required. The key attendees at this one : Michael Keaton (former DC Batman), Mark Ruffalo (current Marvel Hulk) and Stanley Tucci (sadly not current DC Lex Luthor).

"Wait... both Val Kilmer and George Clooney played BATMAN?? Why didn't anyone tell me before now?" damn you, imdb.

"Wait... both Val Kilmer and George Clooney played BATMAN?? Why didn't anyone tell me before now?" damn you, imdb.

"... and that's how we're dealing with aggressive autograph dealer scum in 2016". Sadly, this will not be the case, and there are theories that dealer scum get away with their vile aggressive soccer-hooligan-ish behaviour because they provide kickbacks to security to turn a blind eye. Scurrilous though such rumours might be, some evidence backs that theory..

"... and that's how we're dealing with aggressive autograph dealer scum in 2016". Sadly, this will not be the case, and there are theories that dealer scum get away with their vile aggressive soccer-hooligan-ish behaviour because they provide kickbacks to security to turn a blind eye. Scurrilous though such rumours might be, some evidence backs that theory..

Some venues and events get more sexy and/or intimate and/or glitzy by night. The Curzon Mayair : not so much. The ambient streetlighting provides enough lumination to be mugged by, which is something...

Some venues and events get more sexy and/or intimate and/or glitzy by night. The Curzon Mayair : not so much. The ambient streetlighting provides enough lumination to be mugged by, which is something...

The temperature has remained at a balmy 2 degrees celsius and this event has started about an hour later than most premieres. And, momentously, and true to the spectacular form I've retained from last year's concluding events such as The Evening Standard Theatre Awards, The British Fashion Awards, and The British Independent Film Awards.... I have no idea who these people are.

The temperature has remained at a balmy 2 degrees celsius and this event has started about an hour later than most premieres. And, momentously, and true to the spectacular form I've retained from last year's concluding events such as The Evening Standard Theatre Awards, The British Fashion Awards, and The British Independent Film Awards.... I have no idea who these people are.

"I know the makers of the film decided not to use my design for their Poster... but I want to give them another chance to reconsider"

"I know the makers of the film decided not to use my design for their Poster... but I want to give them another chance to reconsider"

"Look over there! Why? So that Michael Keaton can run into the cinema while you're distracted." And indeed, unaccountably, the main draw of the premiere didn't merely step out of his arriving limo and hurry into the event - he sprinted past everyone without acknowledging anyone, not even pausing to pose for the press photographers. WOW.

"Look over there! Why? So that Michael Keaton can run into the cinema while you're distracted." And indeed, unaccountably, the main draw of the premiere didn't merely step out of his arriving limo and hurry into the event - he sprinted past everyone without acknowledging anyone, not even pausing to pose for the press photographers. WOW.

Our second arrival Mark Ruffalo barely stops to provide a half-hearted wave to nobody in particular before also heading into the cinema. And I'm going to be honest... this isn't cool. (Also : as previously stated : the temperature is close to zero degrees... it's actually FRIKKIN COLD)

Our second arrival Mark Ruffalo barely stops to provide a half-hearted wave to nobody in particular before also heading into the cinema. And I'm going to be honest... this isn't cool. (Also : as previously stated : the temperature is close to zero degrees... it's actually FRIKKIN COLD)

Director Tom McCarthy arrives and is the first to acknowledge the paparazzi pen, but not the crowd... before also going into the cinema. I have to say, I've been to better premieres than this, and I'm struggling to remember one that was worse! BIFA 2015, maybe, but that wasn't a premiere. And at least there, the weather was mild and I had a nice view of The Shard...

Director Tom McCarthy arrives and is the first to acknowledge the paparazzi pen, but not the crowd... before also going into the cinema. I have to say, I've been to better premieres than this, and I'm struggling to remember one that was worse! BIFA 2015, maybe, but that wasn't a premiere. And at least there, the weather was mild and I had a nice view of The Shard...

"WTF just happened?" I don't know, ladies. Certainly most premieres aren't over within 3 minutes of starting 25minutes late. My best guess: Michael Keaton hates you, Mark Ruffalo hates you, and director Tom McCarthy doesn't care about you.

"WTF just happened?" I don't know, ladies. Certainly most premieres aren't over within 3 minutes of starting 25minutes late. My best guess: Michael Keaton hates you, Mark Ruffalo hates you, and director Tom McCarthy doesn't care about you.

Fortunately, the world (or rather this premiere) has Stanley Tucci - true gentleman, who signed a little bit before also going in to the cinema, leaving everyone (even autograph dealer scum, who deserve the odd crushing defeat) wondering what the point of all this was.

Fortunately, the world (or rather this premiere) has Stanley Tucci - true gentleman, who signed a little bit before also going in to the cinema, leaving everyone (even autograph dealer scum, who deserve the odd crushing defeat) wondering what the point of all this was.

One of the organisers came out to reassure the press photographers that, yes, Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo would 'eventually' come out and pose for them.

One of the organisers came out to reassure the press photographers that, yes, Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo would 'eventually' come out and pose for them.

A short while later...

"Are all these people fans? I thought they were homeless!" Mark Ruffalo exits the cinema. Pandemonium threatens to ensue.

"Are all these people fans? I thought they were homeless!" Mark Ruffalo exits the cinema. Pandemonium threatens to ensue.

Pandemonium does in fact ensue, as both Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo exit and the whole security barrier threatens to collapse as dealers, fans and opportunists swarm desperately to get illegible scrawls from two people who now have an actual safety-related reason to prefer to be elsewhere...

Pandemonium does in fact ensue, as both Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo exit and the whole security barrier threatens to collapse as dealers, fans and opportunists swarm desperately to get illegible scrawls from two people who now have an actual safety-related reason to prefer to be elsewhere...

<internal monologue> "all of a sudden, I've become aware that I could also NOT share in any part of this insanity"

<internal monologue> "all of a sudden, I've become aware that I could also NOT share in any part of this insanity"

<internal monologue> "you know... all of a sudden it also seems safer and more enjoyable to step directly into traffic than to face this". I can kind of sympathise... what the hell happened to London premieres? Or did everyone just really love the movies Multiplicity and Begin Again?

<internal monologue> "you know... all of a sudden it also seems safer and more enjoyable to step directly into traffic than to face this". I can kind of sympathise... what the hell happened to London premieres? Or did everyone just really love the movies Multiplicity and Begin Again?

Michael Keaton does indeed step into traffic, and briefly decides that he prefers to sign autographs on random car hoods.

Michael Keaton does indeed step into traffic, and briefly decides that he prefers to sign autographs on random car hoods.

"I'd rather not sign that, if you don't mind. And if you DO mind, then... well.... how best to put this... NO". And at that point, Mark Ruffalo more or less elected to find a passing car to get into and leave.

"I'd rather not sign that, if you don't mind. And if you DO mind, then... well.... how best to put this... NO". And at that point, Mark Ruffalo more or less elected to find a passing car to get into and leave.

"It's more posing than I did for the Paparazzi, so be grateful". That's true. Neither Ruffalo nor Keaton ended up posing for the Paparazzi - and Michael Keaton did eventually make it past that car to sign for some people on 'our' side of the road.

"It's more posing than I did for the Paparazzi, so be grateful". That's true. Neither Ruffalo nor Keaton ended up posing for the Paparazzi - and Michael Keaton did eventually make it past that car to sign for some people on 'our' side of the road.

"...." And after just one more withering glare from the former Mr Mom, I'm pretty much ready to find a pub to have one (or maybe two) mulled wines and solace in, before a Cloud Computing conference I'm already minimally enthusiastic about...

"...."
And after just one more withering glare from the former Mr Mom, I'm pretty much ready to find a pub to have one (or maybe two) mulled wines and solace in, before a Cloud Computing conference I'm already minimally enthusiastic about...

So while Michael Keaton heads off to headbutt fans or kick babies or subject bunny rabbits to medical testing elsewhere (perhaps), fortunately Stanley Tucci remains an island of 'sure I'll look at your baby photos if I have to' kindness on a cold London night.

So while Michael Keaton heads off to headbutt fans or kick babies or subject bunny rabbits to medical testing elsewhere (perhaps), fortunately Stanley Tucci remains an island of 'sure I'll look at your baby photos if I have to' kindness on a cold London night.

"I'm sure neither Michael Keaton nor Mark Ruffalo hate you. Well... not you specifically, anyway. And as for the Director? Who can say..."

"I'm sure neither Michael Keaton nor Mark Ruffalo hate you. Well... not you specifically, anyway. And as for the Director? Who can say..."

So I'm going to be honest, that was not a pleasant way to spend nearly 4 freezing hours. I don't mind stars disliking fans, and I definitely don't mind stars declining to autograph for dealers, and in principle I don't even care if stars don't pose for the paparazzi in preference to breezing into an event, staying for ten minutes, then hightailing it to the afterparty or whatever.

What I dislike is that events like this happen, and get called premieres, and have barriers and numbering systems and partial road closures and some degree of (for want of a better word 'promised') organisation, to imply that there is a purpose to this ... this thing.

That wasn't in evidence here... and what was worse was the behaviour of the ongoing colossally thuggish, unrestrained behaviour of autograph dealers operating with all but explicit approval of event security who seem to be there mostly to *appear* to be doing a job rather than actually doing one. That's downright appalling.

So.... welcome to 2016, I guess?.... with +1 for the Archive of Premieres, and another one scheduled for next week. I kind of wish I was back in Australia/Japan...

Mind you, those mulled wines afterwards WERE fantastic.

Until next time!

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