Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Walking the red carpet, for real this time

We head up the aisle of the theater and deposit our 3D glasses with others on a ledge at the bottom of the stairs leading to the lobby. As we climb we can see that maybe all the celebs haven’t fled after all. There are large clusters of people ahead of us, and a few video camera lots sticking above the crowds. It’s impossible to see who might be at the center of the clusters, though.

One of the mobs is between us and the courtyard door we entered when arriving. As different and exciting as our celebrity adventure has been, though, we’re ready to head out and call it a night. It’s getting close to midnight “our time,” and this has been one long and brain-overloading day. And Becky’s not feeling well.

There are fewer people to our right, towards the center of the lobby, so we cut over that way and exit through the main, central doors – onto the red carpet. Now that’s pretty cool!

The courtyard is abuzz with activity. It’s still barricaded off from the public, so everyone here came out of the premiere, and are hanging around talking and enjoying the courtyard. Besides the handprints and red carpet decorations, there are several SUV-limos lined up waiting for their celebrity cargo to emerge. Hey, cool, we still might see somebody else we recognize – though at Becky’s insistence I call our driver to come get us while we wait.

I am enjoying just being here, though, standing on the red carpet at the center of the courtyard of Grauman’s Chinese Theater, with premiere-goers milling around, limos waiting, lights shining. It’s a strange and powerful feeling being on the inside of the barricades.

Still no celebrity sightings, though, until… I see a small cluster of people, led by a female security guard in a dark jacket carrying a walkie-talkie striding very purposefully towards us on the way from the theater to one of the limos. And right behind her is a familiar face – Kal Penn, one of the two stars of the movie – and he passes not more than three feet away from me.

Yep, I could have reached out and touched Kumar as he passed.

A few minutes later, a call comes out to “clear the courtyard.” Are more celebrities coming out? I’m a bit resentful about being cleared out; hey, we paid for our tickets, we should be allowed to stay! Oh, wait, no we didn’t. Anyway, being shooed out means (1) our time on the “inside” is coming to an end, and (2) we have to head back to the clamor and weirdness of the street. This courtyard, behind the barricades, is a bit of a haven from all that.

We start moving toward the street – but without being in any real hurry. Before we reach the street, another security “handler” breezes by, heading for a limo. We recognize the young guy following her as also being in the movie; he played a foul-mouthed teenage son of a Russian mob boss who causes trouble for H&K. [Later i.d.’d as Bennett Saltzman. Hmm, IMDb says this is his only movie credit. I wonder if this was his first Hollywood premiere, too?]

A minute later and we cross out of the courtyard and past the barricade. Sigh. No more celebrity status for us.

Now where the heck is our driver?

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