Avengers Assemble – European Premiere
Location: Westfield, London
Date: April 19th 2012
On Wednesday April 18th 2012, at around 1pm, my dad dropped me off at the train station for my first official trip away, without a responsible adult of some sort (this includes parents and teachers). I was off to London with my friend, and colleague, Becca. The reason? The European premiere of Avengers Assemble of course! I shall start with a little background story.
I haven’t even known Becca a year yet, I started my work placement at a radio station, the radio station she happens to be the receptionist type of person at, in May of 2011. Given that radio is a very male dominated environment, I think us females stick together as much as possible. Anyway, we hit it off, and discovered our mutual passions for lots of things, including Glee, Harry Potter and… the Marvel Universe. Captain America: The First Avenger came out last summer while I was there, and we went to see it separately, and both came back raving about how awesome it was and, “did you see the trailer for The Avengers at the end?! Ohmygod!” This led to us talking about Iron Man and Thor, which at the time, I hadn’t seen, and her scalding me for NOT seeing it. Skip forward a few months, I’ve seen Thor now and fallen in love with Tom Hiddleston. I’d decided back when The Avengers was first alluded to that I wanted to go to the premiere, but the problem was finding a willing friend to drag all the way to London with me, so I could scream at Robert Downey Jr. Enter Becca. I mentioned how I really wanted to go one day at work, and well… She basically jumped at it and said she’d go and we immediately got the buzz about it and were all ready to start planning then and there.
Unfortunately it was about 4 months before the release date of the film, no premiere dates had been announced, and there wasn’t a lot we could do. So there was a frustratingly long wait, meanwhile I was stuck at University in classes I hated; daydreaming of the day I would at long last meet my hero.
Anyway, skip forward a little more, and we get to about a month before the film is due to come out. The title has been changed from The Avengers to Avengers Assemble, and the date for the UK release of the film is now April 26th, an entire week before our American friends get it! Heehee! (I apologise, this still makes me very gleeful, I love you all in the US of A but it’s not often we’ll get these mega blockbusters before you and it was a very happy event for me.) We’re desperately looking on a million and one websites for the ACTUAL date of the UK premiere and not getting a solid answer. It’s eventually PROPERLY, OFFICIALLY confirmed for April 19th at the Shepherd’s Bush Westfield, not the Stratford one, and so the frantic and exciting job of booking a hotel and trains begins.
Now let’s skip forward back to April 18th. We’re at the train station, and the excitement is unbearable. I’m also a little nervous, because it is, like I said, my first time away without a proper adult influence, and it is LONDON, what happens if we get lost?
We successfully get on the correct train to London Euston; we then successfully end up at London Euston. Yay! The hotel, I was told by the map on the Travelodge website, is directly opposite the train station, they really should say that it’s opposite to the left a bit. But we found that too, eventually. I won’t go into the details of the hotel and everything we did, that’s not what this is about, but you know if you are going to London for a few days and want a cheap, clean hotel, then you can’t really go wrong with Travelodge.
Morning of Thursday April 19th. We woke up with the plan already set to go to Speedy’s café, on North Gower Street. Yes, that Speedy’s, the one from Sherlock! I most definitely recommend it for breakfast. At that point I was CRAVING a proper cup of tea (the only thing wrong with Travelodge is that the tea you are given in the room is WORSE than dishwater – bleurgh) so the wonderful brew, breakfast and hospitality that we received in Speedy’s was absolutely wonderful. And it was my Sherlockian fangirl’s absolute dream.
After the wonderful full English, we made our way to Westfield, via tube. I had meticulously planned our journey out the night before, (my biggest fear of London was the tubes, but it was ridiculously easy once we got there) and therefore we arrived at Westfield at about 11:30am. After first going into West12, incorrectly assuming that that was Westfield, we managed to find the ACTUAL Westfield shopping centre. We walked in through the door, which had Avengers Assemble posters on them, adding to the excitement factor, and were greeted by the most magnificent display I have ever seen. The first thing my eyes were drawn to, was the humungous screen and stage with all of the Avengers team on it, REALLY BIG. Then the ropes and the red carpet, I was ready to run all the way up to the big guard type men and beg them to let me step a toe on it, but I managed to restrain myself. We asked one of the big scary men where we were supposed to go and received a grunt in reply which we interpreted. We got to an entrance through the ropes, at which another big, scary looking man was standing, this one though, was lovely and friendly and told us before getting stamped that we should go look around the other pens before getting a stamp, because once you’re stamped once, that’s it, you’re in that pen for life. Or for the premiere. We chose the red pen, apparently, and our stamp was on the underside of our left wrists, in a red colour, surprisingly. We found what we thought was a really great spot, right at the fence next to the red carpet but behind the stage. Within about 10 minutes the guy next to us requested that we watched his stuff while he went to the bathroom, at first I found this slightly weird that you’d ask a stranger to watch your stuff, but you sort of immediately trust each other, you’re all as nerdy as each other so why would you bother stealing someone else’s stuff?
ANYWAY (again) we shall skip forward to the actual start of the premiere. As anyone who watched it online will know, when the Avengers stars first came out, they were on stage with some blonde guy who was really crap as a host, (he still managed to be better than the girl who did the World Premiere in LA though, calling poor Clark Gregg “Agent Clowson” instead of Coulson. At least blonde man got the name right) and he did a mini interview with each of them as they came out of the doors. They then walked down the stairs from the stage to the red carpet on OUR side, right in front of us, but they didn’t come over and sign or speak to us at all. Cue disappointed on a mass level. When Chris Hemsworth came down the stairs he actually signalled at us that he would be back. So the smart ones of us deduced that they were doing press interviews first and would then begin to greet fans.
Before they came and did the fan thing though, Jonathan Ross appeared and called them all on stage one by one to do another little interview with them. After this they came to us, yay!
Mark Ruffalo was first, he was absolutely wonderful. His handler told him to stop signing just before he got to us, the handler said, “Okay, thanks guys. Come on Mark.” And started trying to pull him away, but Mark just continued signing, like the fabulous human being he is. He signed my magazine and I thanked him profusely, as did Becca.
Next was Scarlett Johansson’s appearance. Her handlers also tried to get her to stop, but she, like Mark, also refused and continued signing – my magazine got another signature. She looked absolutely beautiful and she was really friendly too.
And then, along came Tom Hiddleston. I got ridiculously excited at this point. I could believe it, that I was actually going to meet Hiddles! He came along and I got him to sign my magazine, which he did, he was absolutely lovely. As he continued on past us, I got this opportunity to take a really great clear picture of him, as I was about to press the shutter down, he chose that moment to sneeze. I’d be annoyed at him but it was absolutely adorkable. Everyone said “Bless you!” at him as he sneezed and he said thank you to us all after giggling a little. I thanked him a lot and at one point he looked me in the eye which obviously means he wants to marry me.
The producer then came along – Kevin Feige. This guy was absolutely amazing. One of the women in our pen recognised him as he walked past and called him over, which he did, and he said, “I’ll sign small so you have enough space for someone more interesting than me.” I mean, BLESS HIM. I couldn’t believe how humble he was. I told him he was just as important but I don’t think he heard. He signed my magazine and I thanked him and he said, “You’re welcome.”
Chris Hemsworth. Now, when Chris made his way over to us Becca got incredibly excited. Chris is Becca’s Robert Downey Jr. She had requested that I take a picture of her and Chris together but the handlers decided that we weren’t allowed to have pictures with them. So I handed him over my magazine to sign (touching his hand in the process, WHAT? It’s Chris Hemsworth, he’s a God) and then using Becca’s camera got the greatest picture of him ever, which I’m afraid I don’t have, as Becca is TERRIBLE at uploading the photos. I’m pretty convinced she was ready to cry with happiness when I showed her the picture I got of him for her.
Robert Downey Jr. Just in case you hadn’t yet guessed, Robert Downey Jr was the entire reason I went to the premiere. I went all the way to London, just for him basically, (eventually it became about Tom as well, and after seeing the film I am VERY glad I got to see the rest too) so he was my main target. I bought an Iron Man t-shirt especially for Robert to sign. He came down the stairs the first time round, after the interview with Blondey and by then we’d cottoned on to the fact that they weren’t signing that first time, so I didn’t get too upset. When Mark and Chris etc. started coming round again though, I got VERY excited. I was convinced I was about to meet this man, my inspiration, my hero and I was struggling to control myself. The rest of the stars came and went and I was starting to get concerned about why he hadn’t come over, but convinced it was just because he was held up with an interview of some sort. Anyway, the steady trickle of stars coming over stopped; there was still activity, but none of the cast of Avengers, and most importantly, NO ROBERT.
All of a sudden, they all filed out in a line of sorts from behind the stage and a curtain, right in front of us. There was Mark, Chris, Scarlett, Clark, Jeremy and ROBERT (and everyone else). Everyone in the pen started calling their names, particularly the ones who hadn’t come over to us, like Robert. And he ignored us. He was stood right in front of me. If I’d reached over and stretched as far as I could (and broken my ribs in the process) I would have been able to touch him. I was shouting his name, trying to get his attention, practically begging him and he completely blanked us all. All I wanted at that point was for him to just turn around and acknowledge us, the fact we were there, a smile or a wave would have been more than enough. But we didn’t get that. And in that moment, as overdramatic as it sounds, I felt like my heart had been removed.
They all proceeded to do the assembly thing on stage, and my last desperate ray of hope was that he might come down the steps off stage on our side again, but alas, he did not. The next time we saw him, he was on the elevator moving upwards towards the cinema. And there ended my hopes and dreams of actually meeting him, if only for five seconds.
Moving on, I’ve just about stopped moping about the fact I didn’t meet Robert, after nearly two weeks. It was still one of the best moments of my life.
After the premiere had ended, everyone started packing up and leaving and we noticed Edith Bowman walking past us, with her high heels off her feet and in her hand, which made her seem incredibly approachable all of a sudden. I sort of jog, walked over to her and asked her if she’d mind signing my t-shirt, she smiled and said of course she would, and Becca then asked if we could also have a photo with her, to which she agreed, her handler type person took Becca’s camera off her so we could all get in the picture which was lovely of him and we thanked her a lot and she was really friendly with us.
After that we made tracks back to Euston and the hotel, in the pouring rain, and incredibly happy with the day’s happenings.
And that, in approximately 2000 words, is my Avengers Premiere experience. I apologise for how wordy it is and if you’ve stuck through to the end, thank you.
I hope to get some photos up soon, but that involves connecting a camera to the laptop and I’m insufferably lazy when it comes to technology.