My name is Chris (aka OZ) &, like you, I have been totally obssessed with LOTR. The Sydney premiere was coming up & I did not want to miss it. I went by myself & the plan was to stand outside the premiere & get some photos & autographs of the stars of the Fellowship Of The Ring.
Things don't always go as planned.
I had enterred a few competitions to go INTO the premiere & was absolutely livid when I didn't win any of them.
There were only 3 ways to get into the premiere:
1) Be media or a celebrity
2) Win a pass in
3) Pay $200 for a charity ticket.
I wasn't eligable for any of them, so I resigned myself to just standing outside.
On Friday 21st Dec 2001 I left home, which is a 3 hour train ride north of Sydney, at 11am. Only had 1 hour sleep in 2 days. The stars were surposed to start arriving at 6.30 pm so & I got to the cinema at 3pm. Expecting to see hundreds of people there already I was surprised to see that I was the second person to arrive. I got talking to the first person there (hi Venus) & it turns out she wasn't there for LOTR but Olivia Newton-John who was rumoured to be there. She knew nothing about LOTR, but she did by the time I was done with her.
Other people started arriving at 5pm. I thought they were fans of LOTR but most of the people around me were there to see someone else or were curious as to what celebrities were coming. If I had a dollar for each time I was asked, "What's going on here?" & "Who's coming?" I could've afforded at charity ticket into the premiere.
At 6pm the MC for the night started asking questions & giving out prizes of LOTR t-shirts & caps. You can bet I wanted both. So when he was walking along the red carpet asking for fans I was jumping up & down screaming, "Me. Me. Me. Me". He asked me a question which I answered correctly & got both a t-shirt & cap. Well happy. I don't think he was too happy when I corrected his pronounciation. "It's FRODO not Fredo."
A publicist was walking around handing out cards & keyrings. Yes. I got everything.
I was ready for autographs. I had made up a piece of black cardboard with Fellowship Of The Ring written on the top & a photo sized gap in the middle for a photo of the cast. I would get the cast to sign it with a silver pen then find a good picture to place in the centre the, hang it on my wall in a frame. Pretty cool, huh?
At 7pm Hugo Weaving turned up. He didn't want to sign any autographs but I worked my charm on him & almost forced him to sign my cardboard. Anyway, the pen didn't work to well so I asked a guy next to me if I could share his silver texta. That looked much better.
1 down 4 to go. Billy, Orlando, Elijah & Dom were coming but no Peter Jackson. I was a little dissapointed but I would get to see "the boys" so that was OK.
I had positioned myself at the corner of the L-shaped red carpet so I could watch them come towards me & I was directly in there eyeline. I wore a red sleevless tight top so I stood out from the crowd. Where I was also gave me enough time to get over the shock of seeing them in the flesh so I could actually talk once they came close. I NEEDED that extra time because I froze when they finally arrived.
At 7.20pm the boys arrived. WOW. They are all so gorgeous!
Lij, Dom & Orlando arrived first. Billy was late but more about that later.
Skip to me. They came to sign our autographs & I started talking as soon as they came close enough. Calling out their names & getting their attention was great because I seemed to be the only one there who knew who Orlando & Dom were. I had my cardboard in one hand & camera in the other.
Dom was right in front of me signing my cardboard & I spoke.
"Dom. Could you give me a big smile please?"
He stopped signing other people's autographs, looked straight at me, smiled & answered, "Anything for you my darlin." He then put down the pen & took a small step back so I could get a good photo. I was very happy.
I thanked him & he said, "You're welcome." Can't get the smile off my face thinking about it. "My darlin."
Next was Orlando. I must say that guy is a character. Not only was he incredible beautiful but he was hysterically funny, pulling all these faces (which I caught on film & is my favourite photo of them all) & acting like a cartoon character.
He reminds me of a kid with a.d.d because it is hard to hold his attention for more than a second. Again I spoke up.
"Orlando. Can you give me a big smile please?" He stopped & looked at me with a huge smile on his face. I was a little worried that in the photo I took he wouldn't be looking directly into my camera because I was a second too late. He was facing me but he was checking me out. Turns out I was right. I don't have a photo with him looking directly into my camera, but he is checking me out. Cool. I thanked him. I think we also chatted a little but I can't remember what was said because I was too mesmerised by his beauty. Sounds corny, I know. I can hear your groans. I almost forgot the mention the pen incident. Orlando had a blue pen which he was going to sign my black cardboard with when he stopped & realised it wouldn't turn out. I grabbed the other guys texta & said, "You'll have to use this."
He looked at the blue pen, held it up & said, "Who owns this?" No response so he just throw it blindly over his shoulder then proceeded to sign my cardboard with the silver specially for me. I am special.
Then the man of the hour. Everyone there knew who Elijah Wood was. Everyone went nuts.
He was gracious & polite & sweet & funny & excited all at the same time. He signed every autograph & talked to people. I was surprised at how down-to-earth he was. He was genuinely happy to be there & more than willing to keep the fans happy.
There he was in front of me. I told him that I have been waiting for so long to see this movie & he replied, "Well I hope you enjoy it". As he signed my cardboard, & for the third time I asked, "Lij. Can you give me a big smile please?" He said, "Sure," then looked right into my camera & gave me a huge smile. The photo is fantastic. Totally natural yet comical. Fraggle shot we call it here in Australia. I love that one. My thanks to him got me another look & a huge smile from Lij. I said with total affection, "Thankyou Frodo." He seemed to really like that. He looked proud & pleased that someone had called him Frodo. I had to do it. Couldn't help myself. Got the response I wanted.
4 down. 1 to go. Where the hell are you Billy Boyd?
He eventually turned up & flew past everyone. I found out today he signed 1 autograph. I am dissapointed it wasn't mine. However, I did get his full attention.
He was in such a hurry he just waved at everyone & wanted to keep walking until I spoke up.
I yelled at the top of my lungs, "Billy." He turned to see me jumping up & down chanting, "Just one. Just one. Just one." He stopped dead in his tracks & was torn. Go into the premiere NOW because my publicist is screaming at me or sign this crazy girl's cardboard? He had his arms slightly out & was swaying from one side to the other like the was being pulled in 2 directions. He eventually looked me in the eye & said, "I can't. I'm really sorry. I have to go. Sorry." Then he was gone.
So that was my story of meeting the cast of Fellowship Of The Ring. I got the full attention of each & every one of them for however long that might have been. I was the happiest girl on earth.
BUT!!! That's only half of my story. The luckiest girl in the world part came into play before the stars arrived, when one of the "ordinary people" out of the blue gave me her premiere ticket as she walked the red carpet. The way it happened is one of the most bizarre experiences I've ever had.
You needed a ticket to get past the security at the beginning of the red carpet. Men in earpieces. You had to run the gaunltlet so I knew there was no way I could sneak in.
Out of nowhere this woman & a man came onto the red carpet & she headed straight for me. I was surrounded by people but she targeted me. She came close &, without saying a word, held out her ticket to me. I took it, not knowing if it was OK but she had a smile on her face & a look of, "Go on. It's yours." Some people around me went to take the ticket but it was like something slapped their hand, stopping them before they could get to it. It was meant for me. This woman was giving it to me on purpose. I couldn't say anything other than thanks. She smiled then turned & disappeared down the red carpet. Not saying a single word the whole time. I didn't know this woman & I would never recognise her if I saw her again but she seemed like an angel appearing out of nowhere to give me this amazing gift.
When my shock subsided panic & fear set in. Should I use the ticket & try to get into the premiere? Everyone around me was encouraging me to go for it. I saw security pointing at me & talking. I thought they had spotted the fact that I had been given a ticket that had already been used & don't let me in. Another thing I noticed was there was a little signature on the ticket which I took as authorisation that it was invalid. My hopes were dashed as I decided that it wasn't worth getting in trouble over.
10 minutes later I changed my mind. I decided to wait until the LOTR boys had come & gone & I'd gotten my photos & autographs THEN I would try to get in. That was a good time to get past the security, who spotted me earlier, because they would be following the boys down the red carpet.
The time had come to give it a shot. I was really nervous so I decided to play dumb. Pretend that I had arrived late & hope that I hadn't missed it. Guess what. It bloody worked. I got past the 2 lots of security (the ones with the suits & earpieces) without so much as a glance at my ticket. First hurdle gone I was on the red carpet heading for the premiere. I was stunned. I saw my new friends at the other end of the carpet & I could see all of their jaws drop at the simultaniously when they saw me walking the red carpet. It was a great sight to see because it made me laugh & calmed my nerves. Turn the corner & head up the longest stretch of red carpet there. Gonna get busted this time for sure.
As I was walking along something totally surreal happened that makes me chuckle every time I think about it. In the middle of the red carpet "the boys" were being interviewed & I had to walk around them to get to the cinema. How bizarre. I had been standing in one place for over 4 hours waiting for them & now they were in my way & I had to go around them. Just thought of something. I should've pinched Orlando on the bum as I walked past. Would've looked good on TV.
That wasn't the end of the gauntlet. I had 4 more tests to get through before I could go into the premiere.
There was a woman waiting at the end of the red carpet checking tickets. I flashed my ticket & asked if I was too late. She casually replied that I wasn't too late then directed me to cinema #7. Up the stairs I go. I got to cinema 7 & flashed my ticket. The woman there asked me if I had a seat number. I thought that I was definately gone that time. I played dumb again (getting really good at it by now) & babbled that I have no idea if I had a seat number or not. I just have the ticket. I was then informed that cinema 7 was full & I'd have to go to #10. OK. Took my ticket & got to 10 where I was met by a man this time. He took my ticket & we repeated the "seat number" incident. He let me in but didn't hand back my ticket.
"Can I have that back as a momento? I asked.
"We have to take them & count them & you can get them back after the screening," he replied. No worries. I was in & that was the end of the gauntlet, or so I thought.
At the top of the stairs I was confronted by 3 women. So close yet so far, I thought. They asked the seat number question & I repeated my dumb act for the 3rd time. I waited for them to tell me to leave. Their response surprised me.
"OK. Well just take a seat down the front on either the left or right side. Enjoy the movie."
I WAS IN. FINALLY.
I took my place in the front row in the left bank of seats near the aisel. Waiting on most of the seats were a bar of chocolate & a bottle of softdrink. I put one of the chocolates in my bag & ate a spare.
I stood with everyone else waiting for something to happen. I was praying that the cinema wouldn't fill up & it'd be one seat short. Silly thought, I know, but what moron would have a ticket to the Australian premiere of Fellowship Of The Ring & not turn up? A couple of morons actually. How many people would kill for those tickets?
The lights went down & some guy came to the front of the cinema & spoke. He tried to speak but the microphone wouldn't work. 5 minutes later they found one that did work & the crowd cheered.
He introduced the associate producer who talked for a while then introduced the producer. He chatted then introduced the 5 cast members that were there one by one. I was very pleased to see that my crappy seat had some merits. Each of them had to run past me to get to the front of the cinema. On top of that they stood to the left of the screen rather than in the center of the screen. Who was sitting on the left up the front? ME! They stood right in front of me. I have the photos to prove it. In one photo Dom is looking straight at me.
OK. I am going to go a little fangirl right now & tell you about Orlando & me locking eyes. We stared at each other for 5 long seconds & I think it was me who broke. It was way too intense. Orlando's #1 Aussie fan's dream come true. We shared a moment. Man his eyes are intense.
The introductions over it is now onto the movie. And that's where I am ending my long story of how I am the luckiest girl on earth. Hope you could follow it & I hope I gave you some sort of insight as to what goes on INSIDE.
Things like this don't happen to people like me. I am one of those people who have to fight for everything they get yet I was handing this amazing gift last night that I will cherish & treasure forever. Thankyou Venus & all those other people that made my 4 hour wait enjoyable. Thankyou publicity woman for giving me all those freebies. Thankyou mystery woman for the most amazing gift I have ever gotten in my life. Thankyou cast of LOTR. Thankyou to me for having the courage to be loud, get seen & take the chance on getting into the premiere. That one incident has been more significant to me then anyone will ever know & I cannot thank all involved enough.