As part of my dad’s role as an architect, he works on bars, clubs and restaurants from his offices in both Birmingham and London.
He has close connections with everyone he works with and often gets invited to openings of newly designed bars, clubs and restaurants. Mom and I were often invited too, which we always took advantage of.
We were also given the opportunity to attend other opening events. A couple of years ago in November 2011 my dad came home from work and told me that the Westminster fire officer, who he works with, was going to be the fire officer at the Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Part 2 London premier.
To my shock and amazement the fire officer invited us to the premier and we were able to walk down the red carpet and go into the first screening of the film.
I was big fan of The Hunger Games series and because The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 was the last film it made more eager and anxious to go. I nagged my dad regularly to talk to the fire officer and get tickets, constantly reminded him the premier date repeatedly, or trying to make subtle hints towards it when he least expected it. So much so I became very annoying!
Each time dad asked me to do something I smiled and said I would do it, if and only if dad asks his friend about tickets and whether he’s managed to get them or not… hehe!
The extent of media about the film and the upcoming premiers made me more excited. Every time I heard dad’s phone ring I thought it was the Westminster fire officer telling us he’d got tickets.
The closer and closer to the date, the more anxious I felt. I began to think we weren’t going the longer we didn’t hear, I was upset and disappointed but accepted it.
However, there was a small part of me that didn’t give up hope of being able to go. My hope paid of…
Two nights prior to the premier I was out with mom when got call from my dad. He had received a phone call from the Westminster fire officer who had pulled some strings and spoke to a few people and he managed to get us tickets…
WE WERE GOING!
Arriving at London Marylebone Station the following morning and got a taxi to Leicester Square.
Looking out the windows and saw it was pouring with rain, we were going to get soaked.
The roads and streets were blocked with people and cars flooding into Leicester Square for the premier, so much so the taxi had to dropped us a long way from the square and we had to walk the rest of the way.
When we got closer to Leicester Square and the premier, we could see barriers and security everywhere. It was madness.
The gates were closing at 4:00pm and we arrived with only ten minutes to go! We stood at the front barriers worried that we wouldn’t get in as we were running out of time.
Luckily dad’s friend came to us and got us past barrier and to our space. Phew. Panic over!
We had a brilliant spot and view as we sat with other wheelchair users. Straight in front of us was the red carpet and the Odeon cinema with a large monitor overhead, which the premier would be broadcast on.
We couldn’t ask for better spot. Sitting in the pouring rain under umbrellas didn’t bother me; I was there, at Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 Premier!
Speaking to other people beside us, we were told they had been there since early hours of the morning, some since 9am in morning.
Positioning myself to the very front of barrier, I saw people with various posters with quotes such as “fives days of camping = selfie with Josh”. People apparently had been turned away earlier that day as the premier was full.
I felt guilty but amused at the fact that lots of people had been there for days and dad and I had turned up with ten minutes to go and we just slipped in.
Some fans however had been there for days just for the premier, now that what I called commitment!
Arriving at 4:00, we looked at the itinerary for the evening and saw that the cast and crew were arriving at 6:30pm.
To pass the intervening time, one of the commentators of the premier walked around interviewing members of the crowd, asking questions such as where they came from and how long been there, waiting for the day of the premier etc.
When talking to those with posters they showed them on big screen over cinema, then talked about their excitement for the premier and what they were excited about most.
To get the crowd even more excited they played the Mockingjay Theme over the PA System at regular intervals.
Then on the big monitor showed us shots of cars in which cast and crew were travelling in to Leicester Square with mini countdown clocks in the corner counting down to their arrival.
As it got darker there was a big light show with different kinds and colors of fireworks going off everywhere, finishing by the Odeon cinema and Leicester Square being light up.
Getting closer to 6:30pm, everything got more intense and exciting. They began showing clips from the new and last Mockingjay film, which was great, playing the Mockingjay Theme before and after each clip.
I was so happy to see and feel the rain stopping and even happier to see that it was just in time for the cast and crew arriving. Perfect timing.
Announced by the commentator over the PA system, and the countdown clocks hitting zero, one by one the cast and crew arrived in separate cars shown on the monitors accompanied by a short profile of the character they play in the film.
They then towards the square, posed for photographs taken by the press and then walked around the crowds having photographs with fans and signing autographs for them…
As we were positioned half way around the square, we couldn’t see who entered the square, but each arrival was met by cheers and screams of excitement, increasing in volume depending on the cast or crew member and the role they play in the Hunger Games film series.
Girls in particularly screamed with excitement when Sam Clafin that played Finnick Odair, or Liam Hemsworth who plays Gale Hawthorne appeared.
However nothing beat the extent or the volume of the screams and shouts of excitement when Josh Hutcherson who plays Peeta Mellark were announced to be heading our way.
Then there was one very loud, collective scream at Jennifer Lawrence who plays Katniss Everdeen arrival at the premier. Crowds pushed and shoved to get to the front of the barrier to get autographs and selfies with cast and crew.
As cast and crew made their way through the square, down the red carpet, they were surrounded by security while they signed autographs and having photographs taken with fans.
I thought the cast and crew were fantastic how they reached over the each barrier to give as many autographs and take as many photos as they could before moving on to next crowd, all with smiles on their faces and considering they had already undertaken lots of premiers for the same film in other city’s and countries, they had bags of energy and were very enthusiastic.
Reaching over the barrier I managed to catch the cast and crew’s members attention as they came through the square.
First arrivals were Director: Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson of Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2, they happily had their photographs taken and gave out autographs, including to me.
Next came the actors/actresses who star with smaller roles; Gwendoline Christie who plays Commander Lyme of District 2, Stanley Tucci who played Caesar Flickerman, Julianne Moore who plays Present Coin, each of which I got to give me an autograph and to sign my book.
Natalie Dormer who plays Cressida giving me an autograph was great, she looked so different in reality to her character on screen, and it was a shocking transformation.
Then came Donald Sutherland who played President Snow who I was honored to get his autograph and photograph from as he was a film icon and has been for years and his role in the Hunger Games series was brilliant.
The excitement continued as I got autographs from and photographs of Sam Clafin who played Finnick Odair, Elizabeth Banks who plays Effie Trinket, Woody Harrelson who plays Haymitch Abernathy and Liam Hemsworth who plays Gale Hawthorne as their roles are so significant in the Hunger Games film series.
Feeling beyond excitement I saw Josh Hutcherson finally Jennifer Lawrence arrived at the premier. As Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson came close to the barrier in front of where we were sitting, I felt star-struck.
Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence play their roles perfectly in the Hunger Games film series, the on – screen chemistry is portrayed effectively, fulfilling their roles perfectly.
Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) was said to become a role model for young girls because of the different types of stands she took in the films.
I agree to this and do admire Katniss Everdeen for these reasons. I couldn’t believe that it was happening. They were really there in the flesh, signing my autograph book.
While I was trying to get autographs from cast and crew, my dad took photographs of everything at the premier as well as taking photographs of each of cast and crew as they were signing my book.
As there were many of us behind the barrier where we sat and as many of us were wheelchair users, it was difficult to twist enough to do an effective selfie with each of the cast and crew.
On other photographs, I managed to twist slightly in my chair and photo-bombed other people’s photographs and posed in them. Sneaky.
While the remainder of the cast were arriving and completing the circle around the square, the first arrivals were pulled up onto the main platform by the commentators and were interviewed.
These interviews were shown on big screen over the Odeon cinema, for the whole square to see.
Each interview was introduced by the Mockingjay theme and finished by a short clip featuring that particular actor/actress.
Coming up to the end of the night all the cast and crew members were called up on stage and participated in a final interview; – and thanking all the fans.
Then there was a collage of all the Hunger Games symbols from the films flying onto the big screen over the cinema.
As a finale there was a grand fireworks show of all different shapes and sizes. They exploded in the night sky, which made it even more spectacular.
Cast and crew began to file into Odeon cinema to watch the first screening of Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2.
Seeing they were leaving, fans were screaming and calling for the cast and crew to come back and to sign final autographs and take final photographs.
Those cast and crew members that heard us were generous and signed more autographs before going into cinema.
Once the last cast and crew member entered the cinema, fans stood and watched highlights of the premier on the big screen and enjoyed the last of the fireworks before leaving Leicester Square.
Coming away from Leicester Square was as difficult as getting in, the streets were very busy and we had to weave in and out of the crowds to be in the direction of the train station. Finally getting in a taxi, we made our way to Marylebone Station.
As we were travelling through London we were stuck in queues of traffic and saw that there were more crowds in masks protesting against capitalism, which increased the amount of traffic.. I didn’t care, I couldn’t believe where I just been. It felt like a dream.
Arriving home at midnight, I was so excited and told mom, who was unable to come due to work commitments all about it and showed her all the photos from the night. She was jealous! Going to bed, I was exhausted but thrilled; I felt numb and my mind was buzzing with the night’s events.
The following days, I did nothing but gloat about going to Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 – London Premier.
I couldn’t resist telling everyone exactly what happened not leaving out a single detail, showing everyone the autographs I got and posting all the photos we got or took at premier on my social media sites.
Being feet away from the cast and crew of Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 and being able to get autographs and selfies with them was a dream that I can keep and treasure forever.
The biggest highlight of the night came at the very end, getting an autograph and selfie with Josh Hutcherson (Peeta Mellark), my favorite actor, I can’t believe he was so close and I was able to able to get an autograph and selfie with him, I treasure this photo, it is one of my absolute favorite.
As soon as this photograph was up on my social media sites and showed everyone, they were all jealous that I’d met him, causing me to gloat more. :D.
Putting the cherry on top of a fantastic cake, I saw myself on TV on Good Morning Britain when they did a piece at Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 – London Premier!
A truly amazing night, to which I am very lucky and grateful to my dad and his friend for giving me the chance to have that truly fantastic experience.