Met up with Brom as planned and as we walked down 42nd street at 12:15 pm I could see preparations for the red carpet. Because of the cold weather and maybe because of the possible threat of snow in the forecast they had set up a tent to go over the red carpet, which I thought might really really suck for fans trying to catch a glimps.
Walked over to Times Square and got a gander and the great ape. He was sitting on the island in the middle of Broadway and 7th Avenue. They had a small stage area set up for the press to stand on to take pictures and video and at first we stood behind that and took pictures, but then a security officer said we could go up closer. So we did.
Access Hollywood was there doing lead-in spots for their show. I saw Billy Bush and Nancy O'Dell and watched them do their thing for awhile. It was interesting to see how those spots are put together. They did a few with Nancy in the hand of the beast and of Billy popping up in the other hand. They were both very nice and took time to talk to fans.
As I stood there watching that I heard a man behind me say "He's the guy who put Kong together." So I turned around and saw a group of people taking pictures in front of Kong. One was a very large tall man with a beard wearing a leather jacket and the other was an older shorter white haired man. I listened closely and sure enough their companions taking the pictures had an accent. A kiwi accent maybe? The big guy in the leather jacket looked familiar so I turned to him and asked him if he was from Weta and sure enough he was. He was Gino Acevedo who was the head of prostetics for Lord of the Rings (and presumably King Kong) and most importantly had cameos in the films as a dwarf and a pirate on the Cosair ship in Return of the King. I remembered seeing him on the DVD extra. Shook his hand and told him how great I thought Weta was and chatted a bit. Gino said that they built Kong in California and shipped him in 8 pieces to New York where they put him together in the early morning hours.
In the crowd we got to chatting with other fans as sometimes happens in those circumstances. I can never keep my mouth shut when people ask a question I know an answer to, and I must have listed the stars of the film 100 times, in addition to explaining that Kong was only going to be in Times Square for one day and then he was gone.
After a few hours I was getting cold so we walked up 42nd street to Starbucks and got some hot chocolate, made a stop in Duane Reeds for supplies. I decided we should wait around on 42nd Street rather than at Times Square so that we could scope out a good spot to watch the red carpet arrivals. If I had known how badly they had planned this event I would have stayed up at Times Square. We met up with a few of the other fans that we had chatted with at Times Square and by some unspoken decision we all hung out with each other for the rest of the night.
A security guy with a tan hat on told us we were wasting our time standing in the cold for hours to see nothing because we wouldnt be allowed to stand there. We couldn't believe that there wasn't going to be anyplace for fans to watch the red carpet events, so like idiots we stayed. We did go in to get warm and get pizza at one point, but went back out as people started lining up to get into the 2 theaters on either side of 42nd street. The cops on each side of the street keep moving us along. We weren't going to be allowed to stand and watch arrivals. I don't understand why they couldn't just block off 42nd street for 2 hours and let us watch. Brom and I ended up practically hanging off a light post on the corner of 42nd and 8th avenue trying to see around press people and security yahoos. We couldn't see much. I kind of saw Adrien Brody arrive. I did see Glenn Close arrive but only because she walked up the wrong way. I kinda saw George Lucas arrive. I saw Donald Trump arrive, 5 minutes late. I did not see any hobbits. Not one. Not two.
Meeting up with out fellow fans we decided as a group to go around the back of the Lowe's and see where they would come out of the theatre after the movie was over. We saw the long line of limos waiting there and chatted with some of the drivers and people. They were pretty nice and didn't seem to mind us asking questions and hanging out with them. We found out were the after party was going to be but was told not to waste our time trying to get anywhere near it. We chatted for a nice long while with the guy who had been driving Peter Jackson around town all week. Hope he got his nice tip.
The security guys kept trying to shoe us off. Imagine fans wanting to see some celebrities at a world premier event. The nerve of us. They did finally set up a few barracades for us to stand behind and we waiting for anyone to come out. I think only the people directly associated with King Kong came out the back. The door we could see anyhow. The only non Kong person I saw come out that door was George Lucas. I did see Naomi Watts and Adrien Brody waved to us. Jack Black didn't. I saw Richard Taylor but didn't realize it was him until I also saw Gino Acevedo again. Hey Gino! I looked closely for hobbits but didn't see any. I did see a gollum though and I called him over and took his picture. Andy Serkis was the only one to come over to the fans. He didn't stay long, signed an autograph or two for some kids and was gone, but at least he made that much effort. Poor Andy - the title star of the film and no one recognizes him and barely know who he is. I hope Andy's next movie puts his face on film.
I finally left the city at 12:01 am, getting home after 3 am - no way I was going to be going to work Tuesday. I have mixed feelings about the whole experience. It was great as always seeing Brom, it was fun meeting new people, it was exciting to meet Gino and have Andy respond to my calling out to him. I was less than thrilled with the way the fans were treated. We are the ones who will (or will not) be buying those opening weekend tickets that can make a break a film. I will definitely give a second thought to going to any premiers in New York, particularly in winter on 42nd street. I have still to see a hobbit up close and personal, but its been 2 days since the premier and there are no pictures anywhere of Elijah or Billy, so maybe they weren't even there. I think it would make me happier to know they weren't there then to think they were and I couldn't see them because of poor event planning.
Until next time.