14 Jul 2019 - The 'Lion King (2019)' European Premiere

July 14th, 2019.

Before you even ask, no I did not photograph Beyonce at this premiere. She arrived after the Royals did, and as far as I can tell she never posed for a single outdoor paparazzi let alone set foot in the centre part of Leicester Square where all of what I’ll loosely call ‘The Fans’ were. But fair enough, maybe she was running late, the Limo got lost, or she didn’t want to upstage actual royalty by overshading them at her movie’s premiere. And Elton John didn’t go into the centre part of the Square either, and somehow I missed Vin Diesel. Other than that, though, here’s how it went down:

It rained heavily in the morning of the event, so the Covers stayed on into the aftenoon. And initially, Security had planned to place us ALL outside the centre of Leicester Square, on the assumption that all of us with low number wrisbands were autograph dealers and wanted to be at drop-off. My preference : stay where the ‘action’ was… fortunately there was a pen next to the stage for people who wanted to stay.

It rained heavily in the morning of the event, so the Covers stayed on into the aftenoon. And initially, Security had planned to place us ALL outside the centre of Leicester Square, on the assumption that all of us with low number wrisbands were autograph dealers and wanted to be at drop-off. My preference : stay where the ‘action’ was… fortunately there was a pen next to the stage for people who wanted to stay.

The view from my spot (or rather, the top of my GoPro-on-a-selfie-stick) - with the stage behind and to my right. (Obviously the carpet was never this empty once it got started…. and obviously the words “Lion King” weren’t written upside-down on the carpet. Disney are fairly coldly professional like that.)

The view from my spot (or rather, the top of my GoPro-on-a-selfie-stick) - with the stage behind and to my right. (Obviously the carpet was never this empty once it got started…. and obviously the words “Lion King” weren’t written upside-down on the carpet. Disney are fairly coldly professional like that.)

“Please don’t ask me what’s in the plastic bag. And on a related note, please keep that sniffer dog away from the plastic bag. And finally, on a possibly only tangential note, please don’t ask me about the live meerkats Disney had planned to have roaming the carpet to liven up the premiere and how they might relate to the plastic bag. Okay, bye, now!!”

“Please don’t ask me what’s in the plastic bag. And on a related note, please keep that sniffer dog away from the plastic bag. And finally, on a possibly only tangential note, please don’t ask me about the live meerkats Disney had planned to have roaming the carpet to liven up the premiere and how they might relate to the plastic bag. Okay, bye, now!!”

“Who soiled the carpet? I have no idea… but the giant footprints might offer some clue…”

“Who soiled the carpet? I have no idea… but the giant footprints might offer some clue…”

“Tom, I’m here in what I’m guessing is “Europe” for the “European Premiere” of a movie I’m certain was already a Disney animated feature back in 1994, but which has now been made into a computer-generated animated feature rather than a traditionally animated animated feature. More information once the confusion clears….”

“Tom, I’m here in what I’m guessing is “Europe” for the “European Premiere” of a movie I’m certain was already a Disney animated feature back in 1994, but which has now been made into a computer-generated animated feature rather than a traditionally animated animated feature. More information once the confusion clears….”

“Can I have another look at that map?” ”Why, can you understand it?” ”Well, no…”

“Can I have another look at that map?”
”Why, can you understand it?”
”Well, no…”

Excellent news : your good friend and mine Hakeem Mister Impact and his tame dejay Pryde Rockz Da Hizzie were on-hand for the warmup component of the event. He didn’t invite anyone to rap for valuable Freeness, which is a pity as I’d shortlisted Flyin’, Lyin’, Cryin’, Sighin’ and Vibin'’ as things that tentatively rhyme with “Lion”. (And I was even wearing my shiny brass “L.A.” cap for most of the event, too…)

Excellent news : your good friend and mine Hakeem Mister Impact and his tame dejay Pryde Rockz Da Hizzie were on-hand for the warmup component of the event. He didn’t invite anyone to rap for valuable Freeness, which is a pity as I’d shortlisted Flyin’, Lyin’, Cryin’, Sighin’ and Vibin'’ as things that tentatively rhyme with “Lion”. (And I was even wearing my shiny brass “L.A.” cap for most of the event, too…)

“Puttin’ lights under the words of the parchment doesn’t suddenly make it ironic, people….”   Will.I.Am Shakesman has a point.

“Puttin’ lights under the words of the parchment doesn’t suddenly make it ironic, people….”
Will.I.Am Shakesman has a point.

“OMG is that PRINCE HARRY???” ”No, and you’re about an hour too early and there’s no way they’ll let you stay on the carpet until he arrives” ”But that guy is wearing a jacket, shirt and tie, Debra… are you sure???”

“OMG is that PRINCE HARRY???”
”No, and you’re about an hour too early and there’s no way they’ll let you stay on the carpet until he arrives”
”But that guy is wearing a jacket, shirt and tie, Debra… are you sure???”

“He’s here?? He’s HERE!! By the way, I hope you’re talking about me. Because I’m here.”  Keegan-Michael Key plays the role of the Hyena ‘Kamari’ in the film, and also had a voice role in ‘Toy Story 4’ which had its premiere in London a few weeks ago.

“He’s here?? He’s HERE!! By the way, I hope you’re talking about me. Because I’m here.”
Keegan-Michael Key plays the role of the Hyena ‘Kamari’ in the film, and also had a voice role in ‘Toy Story 4’ which had its premiere in London a few weeks ago.

In the absence of photographing Beyonce at this premiere (and having never photographed her before), I hereby dub this Beyonce. I hope her new album and/or fragrance and/or diversified hedge fund does well.

In the absence of photographing Beyonce at this premiere (and having never photographed her before), I hereby dub this Beyonce. I hope her new album and/or fragrance and/or diversified hedge fund does well.

Although there’s no real evidence, I like to think this is Nathalie Emmanuel, who played ‘Missandei’ in Game of Thrones. But then I like to think a lot of things about people I photograph.  (edited to add : it’s Nathalie Emmanuel : thanks Shannon!)

Although there’s no real evidence, I like to think this is Nathalie Emmanuel, who played ‘Missandei’ in Game of Thrones. But then I like to think a lot of things about people I photograph. (edited to add : it’s Nathalie Emmanuel : thanks Shannon!)

"Of course I'd love to save up money and travel to Wakanda myself... I hear it's lovely this time of year" "That's nice. I'm based in Germany, actually" "Oh...."  Florence Kasumba is possibly best known for playing the role of ‘Ayo’ in Black Panther / Avengers.

"Of course I'd love to save up money and travel to Wakanda myself... I hear it's lovely this time of year"
"That's nice. I'm based in Germany, actually"
"Oh...."

Florence Kasumba is possibly best known for playing the role of ‘Ayo’ in Black Panther / Avengers.

“I never said I was better than Whoopi Goldberg at being a hyena : I merely pointed out that I’m TALLER. And NO, not in animation terms… are you even listening to me??”

“I never said I was better than Whoopi Goldberg at being a hyena : I merely pointed out that I’m TALLER. And NO, not in animation terms… are you even listening to me??”

“Okay, I’ll smile. But mainly because I also have money riding on that bet you placed”  Florence Kasumba is a German-based actress who’d actually had a year of experience playing her character on stage before playing it in this film.

“Okay, I’ll smile. But mainly because I also have money riding on that bet you placed”
Florence Kasumba is a German-based actress who’d actually had a year of experience playing her character on stage before playing it in this film.

“So the reason they’re not showing either the Wimbledon Final or the cricket World Cup final on the big screen they’ve got up there is….?” ”Because there’s a European premiere on….” ”Yeah, but literally everyone looking at the screen is already at the European Premiere!!”

“So the reason they’re not showing either the Wimbledon Final or the cricket World Cup final on the big screen they’ve got up there is….?”
”Because there’s a European premiere on….”
”Yeah, but literally everyone looking at the screen is already at the European Premiere!!”

“Right now you’re wondering if this beard is real, or CG. And THAT’S how good Disney has gotten at this”  Seth Rogen plays the role of the warthog Pumbaa in this film. I’ve only photographed him once before, and that was this year at    the premiere of “Long Shot”    with Charlize Theron

“Right now you’re wondering if this beard is real, or CG. And THAT’S how good Disney has gotten at this”
Seth Rogen plays the role of the warthog Pumbaa in this film. I’ve only photographed him once before, and that was this year at the premiere of “Long Shot” with Charlize Theron

“And now you’re wondering if the slight wisps of wind moving the beard might also be CG… am I right? Please don’t ask me any questions on any subject other than this. As you can see I’m very passionate about it.”

“And now you’re wondering if the slight wisps of wind moving the beard might also be CG… am I right? Please don’t ask me any questions on any subject other than this. As you can see I’m very passionate about it.”

“Finally - remember to stay hydrated. Look at me : I’m carrying a bottle of water that’s not even open and yet I feel as hydrated as if I’d just taken a shower. Hydration is important, people…” ”…..” ”Oh, and also : watch this movie. Disney loves you.”

“Finally - remember to stay hydrated. Look at me : I’m carrying a bottle of water that’s not even open and yet I feel as hydrated as if I’d just taken a shower. Hydration is important, people…”
”…..”
”Oh, and also : watch this movie. Disney loves you.”

You might not have heard of Lebo M, but I’m almost 100% you’ve HEARD Lebo M - his is the voice that’s the first thing you hear in this (and the original) Lion King movie - the sun rising and somebody singing something that sounds like   “NAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANTS ingonyama bagithi baba“   (or nearest equivalent)

You might not have heard of Lebo M, but I’m almost 100% you’ve HEARD Lebo M - his is the voice that’s the first thing you hear in this (and the original) Lion King movie - the sun rising and somebody singing something that sounds like “NAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANTS ingonyama bagithi baba“ (or nearest equivalent)

“You wanna hear me sing it MY way? Okay… stand by”

“You wanna hear me sing it MY way? Okay… stand by”

“NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-sing along if you have the skill of circular breathing otherwise this is gonna get you light-headed as we continue - AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA—-”

“NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-sing along if you have the skill of circular breathing otherwise this is gonna get you light-headed as we continue - AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA—-”

“That lady over there looks unhappy. Maybe my dress will cheer her up? It certainly cheered ME up!”  I believe this is Maya Jama but I’m not entirely familiar with her, or the emotional possibilities of her attire.

“That lady over there looks unhappy. Maybe my dress will cheer her up? It certainly cheered ME up!”
I believe this is Maya Jama but I’m not entirely familiar with her, or the emotional possibilities of her attire.

“You didn’t have to write the answers to the questions they’re about to ask me on your hand. I don’t think they’ll be THAT hard….”  Comedian Billy Eichner plays the role of the meerkat Timon in the film.

“You didn’t have to write the answers to the questions they’re about to ask me on your hand. I don’t think they’ll be THAT hard….”
Comedian Billy Eichner plays the role of the meerkat Timon in the film.

“This isn’t a Jedi mind trick per se… but I’d appreciate it if you could move my car so it’s more conveniently parked for when I want to leave the cinema later on…”

“This isn’t a Jedi mind trick per se… but I’d appreciate it if you could move my car so it’s more conveniently parked for when I want to leave the cinema later on…”

“Wait a minute, Jo… I just want to see what that guy’s going to do with my car…”

“Wait a minute, Jo… I just want to see what that guy’s going to do with my car…”

Okay, fine, so I somehow missed photographing Vin Diesel when he failed to come anywhere near me, or entirely face in my direction through the crowds of people on the red (yellow) carpet. At least, and possibly more importantly, the photos of the lion, monkey and warthog in this photo are in focus.

Okay, fine, so I somehow missed photographing Vin Diesel when he failed to come anywhere near me, or entirely face in my direction through the crowds of people on the red (yellow) carpet. At least, and possibly more importantly, the photos of the lion, monkey and warthog in this photo are in focus.

“Is that lady photobombing me? Damnit… I’m wearing SHORTS especially at this premiere”  - behind the smiling lady is 13-time-Grammy Winner Pharell Williams, who produced several songs for the soundtrack of this movie (or I’m guessing ‘variants of songs from the original’?)

“Is that lady photobombing me? Damnit… I’m wearing SHORTS especially at this premiere” - behind the smiling lady is 13-time-Grammy Winner Pharell Williams, who produced several songs for the soundtrack of this movie (or I’m guessing ‘variants of songs from the original’?)

“You composed your photo above the shorts…. what does that say about you?”  My opinion on shorts is limited to the temperature above which I will consider wearing them (and thereby subjecting innocent bystanders to the whiteness of my legs). It’s 40 degrees Celsius. Or anytime I’m in Singapore.

“You composed your photo above the shorts…. what does that say about you?”
My opinion on shorts is limited to the temperature above which I will consider wearing them (and thereby subjecting innocent bystanders to the whiteness of my legs). It’s 40 degrees Celsius. Or anytime I’m in Singapore.

“No, that button boots up the AI so that it can digitally remove your hat from appearing in the photo so you don’t have to suffer the inconvenience of having to take it off and risk looking ridiculous” ”But what if I WANT to look ridiculous” ”The A.I. knows better than you do, dear…”

“No, that button boots up the AI so that it can digitally remove your hat from appearing in the photo so you don’t have to suffer the inconvenience of having to take it off and risk looking ridiculous”
”But what if I WANT to look ridiculous”
”The A.I. knows better than you do, dear…”

“Well, on behalf of my good friends at Disney, I’d certainly prefer you watch the movie than NOT watch this movie, of course!”  - Jon Favreau directed this film - his second in the vague category of “live-action remake of Disney animated properties” - the other being    ‘The Jungle Book’ in 2016   .

“Well, on behalf of my good friends at Disney, I’d certainly prefer you watch the movie than NOT watch this movie, of course!” - Jon Favreau directed this film - his second in the vague category of “live-action remake of Disney animated properties” - the other being ‘The Jungle Book’ in 2016.

“Have any of you ever TRIED to pick up a lion cub and hand it to a monkey, especially when its parents are around? Of course we were never going to do this as a live-action film! We’d be MAD to try!”  Interesting fact: when I posted this photo on facebook and attempted to tag it “Jon Favreau” (who has 400K followers) it said I don’t have permission to do that. (Although I do have permission to tag the Duke, Duchess, Hans Zimmer, Tim Rice and everyone else… just not Jon Favreau.)

“Have any of you ever TRIED to pick up a lion cub and hand it to a monkey, especially when its parents are around? Of course we were never going to do this as a live-action film! We’d be MAD to try!”
Interesting fact: when I posted this photo on facebook and attempted to tag it “Jon Favreau” (who has 400K followers) it said I don’t have permission to do that. (Although I do have permission to tag the Duke, Duchess, Hans Zimmer, Tim Rice and everyone else… just not Jon Favreau.)

“Alfre Woodard? I can sign as her. Chiwetel Ejiofor? I don’t think he’s coming either - I can totally sign as him. Elton John? Hell why not - I’ll sign as him. James Earl Jones? He’s awesome… I’ll totally sign as him…. anyone else??”

“Alfre Woodard? I can sign as her. Chiwetel Ejiofor? I don’t think he’s coming either - I can totally sign as him. Elton John? Hell why not - I’ll sign as him. James Earl Jones? He’s awesome… I’ll totally sign as him…. anyone else??”

“I didn’t bring them with me… but they are shiny”  - Tim Rice was the lyricist for the songs in the original Lion King (which are also in this movie) - and has won three Best Original Song Oscars - for Evita (“You Must Love Me”), Aladdin (“A Whole New World”) and, appropriately, “The Lion King” (“Circle of Life”)

“I didn’t bring them with me… but they are shiny” - Tim Rice was the lyricist for the songs in the original Lion King (which are also in this movie) - and has won three Best Original Song Oscars - for Evita (“You Must Love Me”), Aladdin (“A Whole New World”) and, appropriately, “The Lion King” (“Circle of Life”)

“Oh, I see Jon Favreau already did most of the names you need, including mine…. but I can sign as Hans Zimmer or Pharrell Williams if you want?”

“Oh, I see Jon Favreau already did most of the names you need, including mine…. but I can sign as Hans Zimmer or Pharrell Williams if you want?”

At left : it’s Hans Zimmer!! He’s won an Oscar (appropriately for ‘The Lion King’ (1994)’) and been nominated another TEN times. I’ve previously photographed him at such premieres as    Man of Steel   ,    Rush   , and    Batman v Superman   …    The Dark Knight Rises   … and so on.

At left : it’s Hans Zimmer!! He’s won an Oscar (appropriately for ‘The Lion King’ (1994)’) and been nominated another TEN times. I’ve previously photographed him at such premieres as Man of Steel, Rush, and Batman v SupermanThe Dark Knight Rises… and so on.

“I’d love to sign some autographs and take some selfies… but as you can see this lady is walking in front of us, and I want to be ready if she decides to start a conga line…. plus I’m sure Tim Rice did an exceptional job signing autographs as me”

“I’d love to sign some autographs and take some selfies… but as you can see this lady is walking in front of us, and I want to be ready if she decides to start a conga line…. plus I’m sure Tim Rice did an exceptional job signing autographs as me”

‘CANT SEE U. WEAR R U?’   Awwww…. come on, Mom… the suit isn’t THAT camouflaged….

‘CANT SEE U. WEAR R U?’
Awwww…. come on, Mom… the suit isn’t THAT camouflaged….

A suitable time after the yellow carpet is cleared of civilians, the Royals - in this case Harry and Meghan - the Duke and Duchess of Sussex - arrive to cheers that were exceeded only in volume by those showing the arrival of Beyonce’s car while they were on the carpet. But Beyonce never came into Leicester Square, or did any on-carpet interviews, or pause or stop for any outside media, while the Royals did a full circuit of the centre of the square.

A suitable time after the yellow carpet is cleared of civilians, the Royals - in this case Harry and Meghan - the Duke and Duchess of Sussex - arrive to cheers that were exceeded only in volume by those showing the arrival of Beyonce’s car while they were on the carpet. But Beyonce never came into Leicester Square, or did any on-carpet interviews, or pause or stop for any outside media, while the Royals did a full circuit of the centre of the square.

“What do you mean ‘did I get her’? Of course I got her. Well… not all of her, of course. With this zoom I can get three, maybe four teeth at minimum focus distance. But damn the resolution is great. Look at that incisor…”

“What do you mean ‘did I get her’? Of course I got her. Well… not all of her, of course. With this zoom I can get three, maybe four teeth at minimum focus distance. But damn the resolution is great. Look at that incisor…”

“One will keep walking this circuit until one can be assured of not having to queue for popcorn inside the Odeon. One does not queue for popcorn… it’s just corn, Meghan… and nobody queues for corn.”

“One will keep walking this circuit until one can be assured of not having to queue for popcorn inside the Odeon. One does not queue for popcorn… it’s just corn, Meghan… and nobody queues for corn.”

“Wait… I think that guy might be willing to part with his popcorn in exchange for a Selfie… quick, tell me….what’s a “Selfie” again?”

“Wait… I think that guy might be willing to part with his popcorn in exchange for a Selfie… quick, tell me….what’s a “Selfie” again?”

“As long as you realise that an entire armada of the royal family’s private lawyers will defend me at all costs in denying I said any such thing, yes me and the rest of the Royal Family absolutely endorse your upcoming rap album”

“As long as you realise that an entire armada of the royal family’s private lawyers will defend me at all costs in denying I said any such thing, yes me and the rest of the Royal Family absolutely endorse your upcoming rap album”

So… that was that. I briefly headed over to the Odeon Cinema ‘edge’ to see if I could potentially photograph Beyonce or any of the other guests if they left the screening early, ultimately we were told we had to make room for trucks that were coming to help dismantle the whole setup.

And that’s how I spent my Sunday. Worth it? Don’t ask me - ask the Russian bots that faithfully follow this site, giving it a large percentage of my total views, and the 1/4 of all my twitter followers who seemingly followed me to publicise their Indonesian political views, which I’m not familiar enough with to describe (or confident at drawing the connection to my premiere photography…..).

Until next time? Sure, why not.

ps. feel free to follow me on twitter at berndt2_photo (for political or other reasons), or the recently-$5-billion fine-suffering-for-privacy-breaching Facebook at premieresdotco.