I landed in Los Angeles around lunchtime on Tuesday, then hauled my suitcase over to the terminal where four of the Tyndale women were due to come in. Both our flights were delayed, so it worked out great. While I sat and people-watched, I saw this one row of seats occupied by a family who looked like they might have come from Vietnam . . . three sleeping children piled on top of one another like puppies. One little boy had one shoe off and one shoe on, with his sister draped over him and Dad protectively watching over his brood. The man looked a little anxious until I caught his eye, smiled, and said, “beautiful children.” Then he grinned at me.
The Tyndale gals came in and we piled into our stretch limo and headed to the hotel in Beverly Hills. I went to my room to check email (what else?) We had about an hour before we had to get dressed.
Now, none of us five girls had ever been to a Hollywood premier before. And since it was a fund-raiser for Habitat for Humanity, Karen joked that maybe we were supposed to wear jeans “with a beaded toolbelt.” But who were we supposed to call to ask?
I said that the minute I said “premier” to the folks back home, the next question out of their mouths was “what are you going to wear?”, so I was pretty sure we were okay in our fancy duds.
So there we were, all of us in basic black–except for one brave gal who wore magenta. 🙂 It was FREEZING outside (I’m a Florida girl, remember), and I did bring an evening coat (purchased at a clearance sale), but since none of the other girls had one, I figured I’d go with my chiffon wrap. Misery loves company.
I did hesitate as I got dressed–I didn’t want to dress up too much, because I didn’t want to look like I was trying to be a big wig (trust me, I know my place in the scheme of things), but I didn’t want to look dowdy, either. So I bravely called forth my inner Brandilyn and went with a plain black skirt and a beaded top. Easy to wear, festive, and comfortable. And freezing.
We ate dinner at our hotel, then scooted out the door in taxis. (After posing for a few pictures, of course.) As we approached the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, we saw a tuxedoed mob in the sidewalk and the spangle of camera flashes. Touche! We had dressed correctly.
We got out, walked through the freezing wind, and picked up our tickets at the “will call” window. As I stood there, shivering, Gary Busey walked by. My first celebrity sighting.
How the red carpet works: The red carpet ran along the front of the building, not necessarily into the building, and some people were being pulled out so the photogs could take pictures. As we walked by, the young actor who plays Joseph was standing there, hands in his pockets, trying to look pleasant while he probably felt awkward (or at least I would have.) No one, of course, pulled us out for pictures, so we gratefully stepped into the warmth of the lobby and went upstairs to the theater.
Note: There are huge golden statues of Oscar scattered throughout the building (which immediately bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to mind), because the Academy of Arts and Sciences sponsors the Academy awards. But this isn’t the same auditorium where the Oscars are given out.
The theater was full. At the end of our row–Gary Busey. (Apparently at these things you can see lots of celebrities or one celebrity lots of times.)
The director and several of the actors were there, including the man who played Mary’s father, Joseph, and Elizabeth. There were probably others, but no one made any introductions. Finally the lights dimmed and screenwriter Randall Wallace, a believer (he wrote Braveheart and We Were Soldiers, among others) introduced Catherine Hardwicke, who stood up and pretty much said, “I hope you enjoy the movie.”
We watched the movie–and I’ve already given you my impressions. I have to admit that I watched with an analytical mind, because I couldn’t help but think of the scenes I’d created for the novel and I was busy comparing fiction against film. One note: You know, movies have their pluses–you can show so much so economically–but nothing beats a novel for getting into a character’s head.
After the movie, people stayed until the very end of the LONG list of credits, occasionally applauding (probably for friends in the audience.) And then we all went downstairs for the food provided by Wolfgang Puck’s catering service. I didn’t even go near the buffet line (too crowded), but we did spy a dessert buffet and headed in that direction.
After a while, the crowd thinned out long enough for us to pick out people we wanted to meet and greet. We spoke to Mike Rich, the screenwriter, Jonathan Bock, head of Grace Hill Media (doing promotion for the film), and some others. We desperately wanted to say hello to Catherine Hardwicke, the director, because she had admired the gift book Tyndale did for the film–and the book designers were with us. So, like a black and magenta amoeba, we sidled over to where she stood talking to some friends. We have such good manners we didn’t want to just jump in and grab her, but after a while it became apparent that’s what we’d have to do if we wanted to speak to her at all. But then came . . . yep, Gary Busey. And we surely didn’t want to interrupt him, so we waited and waited and waited . . . and finally Karen Watson touched Catherine on the arm so our amoeba could absorb her and Gary. Catherine was very kind and gracious as we went around the circle and made introductions–including Gary B., who just said, “I’m Gary.”
All in all, it was a lovely night and I got back to the hotel room at about ten-thirty–which was 1:30 a.m. on my internal clock. Went to bed, got up the next morning, and had breakfast with two dear pals who happen to live in CA. Spent all day yesterday flying back (delayed planes, missed connections), and finally got home at about 1 a.m. last night. The Hubster had roses waiting on my desk–flowers I didn’t even see until this morning because I was so tired last night.
Enjoy these pictures! I’ll have more coming in because we all promised to share the photos we snapped. And to my writer friends who are thinking about movie projects–when you have your premier, give me a call so I can come cheer you on. I have a dress. 🙂
P.S. Tomorrow–the book of the month! (Where did November go?)