“No pictures, no pictures!” The big burly bodyguard swung his hands threateningly at the swarm of paparazzi. They flinched back long enough for Laura and me to duck into the theater.
Okay, not really. We did walk the red carpet but it was a slightly different carpet than the one the stars walked. More of a back alley red carpet effect with a trim where everybody except the film stars and the director walked. I don’t know what the actual capacity of the Zigfeld theater is but it looked about a thousand and probably fifteen people walked down the paparazzi side while the other 985 of us went down the other side.
We picked up our tickets at the will call tent. They were in a red envelope which apparently kept us from being scanned with metal detectors and we got to keep our cell phones, unlike a lot of the other attendees.
In any case it was colder than … well, it was cold that night. With wind chill, about zero degree F. And the F was for f***ing cold. We had no trouble getting into the theater and the warmth was welcome.
The seats were actually assigned. We were in row Y so we were, I guess 25 rows from the front, but it went back from us into double letters and then there was a mezzanine behind that. We were, it turns out, very close to Stacey Maes, the only person (except my agent, Ralph Vicinanza who was one of the executive directors) I’d ever met before this night. However, it turned out we were sitting right next to Julianne Jordan, the Music Supervisor, and her sister, and shortly thereafter I was able to grab Dave Goyer as he walked by to get drinks and we had a nice little talk exchanging compliments (I like his movies and he likes my book.)
Shortly thereafter Jay Sanders, one of the three full producers, came by and sought me out which was very gratifying. It turned out that he had been behind one of the previous optionings of Jumper, about seven years ago, back when both he and Stacy were at James Camerons’s Production Company, Lightstorm. Later he introduced me to his Mom, a wonderful woman who said I had a “different” mind.
I found Ralph and the gang from the agency shortly after that and talked and then I went back to our seats and just chatted with Laura while we waited.
The “seven” o’clock screening didn’t start until eight as the principle actors and the director finally chewed off their arms and got away from the press. There was a round of aplause from the audience as they came in and the lights went out, even as some of them were still standing in the aisles shaking hands and hugging.
What is cool about a premiere is that you have all these crew members and stars in the audience so when the credits are coming up (and they don’t come up for quite a while into the film) you get bursts of applause and cheering. Theater wide for the big stars but little sections as you get to more specialized sections. We cheered for our seatmates when Musical Supervisor came up and they returned the favor (as did Stacy) when we finally got to, “Based on the novel by Steven Gould.”
That’s a weird feeling. I’d seen it on the posters but it felt really different out there all by itself, not squeezed in at the end of a line on the poster.
It’s weird watching something like this for the first time. I knew so much about all the different versions of the story–my own books, all five of the scripts I’d read, various conversations I’d had with Stacy that most of my time was sorting and comparing through what was and wasn’t in there. It wasn’t until I saw it a second time (at a sneak preview in Albuquerque two days later) that I could relax and appreciate it.
After, we found Beth Meacham, my editor (who’d had to dash desperately from the airport having been seriously delayed in Dallas Good thing the movie started so late.) As we worked our way up toward the front I met and introduced myself to Doug Liman, talked briefly about why we’d never met before (me living in Albuquerque).
Beth, Laura, and I ducked back into the Warwick (where we were staying that night) and Laura changed into jeans (but kept the glittery top stuff) cause it was so cold, and then we cabbed down to the reception held at La Stradas, a club down on Broadway and 21st.
I got to meet a few more people there and had a nice talk with Simon Kinberg, the man responsible for Mr & Mrs. Smith. I felt too shy to go talk to any of the actors though I regret that now. I would have especially liked to talk to Jamie Bell briefly. It was painfully loud. A DJ was playing music and there were a lot of people there but not so much as the club probably usually held. As a result there were the usual sound-damping bodies and a lot of exposed hard floors and walls. In parts of the club it was physically painful and so after one last talk and hugs with Stacy we took Beth to her hotel and had a nice chat in a much quieter bar.
Next morning we had a really nice breakfast (meaning just a little diner, really) but with Ralph and Beth and Laura and me. Great conversation and speculation and dissection of the movie, then a cab to Penn station, a train out to Islip, a shuttle to the airport, and home again.
Nearly didn’t make it. Heavy snows at Islip and Midway but fortunately our connection had to wait for our plane because it was carrying the crew for the next leg.
I’ve now seen the movie three times. Monday, for the premiere, Wednesday, at the sneak, and Thursday night for our own Albuquerque version of the premiere.
Like Brad, I can’t really predict how it will do. Reviews have been mixed tending to negative but I’m not sure how deserved they are. You will have to make up your own mind. As I write this I’m flying to Corpus Christi. I’m doing another two showings, one for the Corpus Christi film society with a question and answer session after and then an evening party followed by a showing with my Mom and Dad and siblings and my parents’ friends.
After that, I may be willing to wait for the DVD.