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FireflyFirefly - "Serenity" Movie - Los Angeles Premiere - Fan Report
Monday 10 October 2005, by Webmaster
SERENITY WORLD PREMIERE! NICE GUY STYLE!
You’ve heard me "Rant" about it. You’ve seen the ads on the site. You know how crazy stupid we are here for Firefly, and for "Serenity", the new film that continues the show that wouldn’t die. Well, what I didn’t know when I went off on the LAST update’s Rant about the movie was that, thanks to a Nice Guy fan, I’d be going to the world premiere of the film in Hollywood, AND the after-party with the director and all the stars! I kid you not! Feel free to geek out with me as I give you all the news on the big gala event!
So I was finishing up my last week at my old job, trying to tie things up at my desk before my last day. My mind was heavily on this, and the new job I’d be starting the following Monday, AND I was trying to get the big Serenity Week update ready to go for the 15th. So the Tuesday night of that last week, I decided to check my e-mail before I went to bed, and see if any Nice Guy mail had come in. I found one from Suzi, the very wonderful Nice Guy fan that had first found us through our Firefly Week flyer at the 2004 Comic-Con in San Diego, and that I had e-mailed back and forth with a number of times, and that I’d actually gotten to meet when we bumped into each other this past summer’s Comic-Con. The title of her e-mail, and its urgency, shocked the hell out of me.
Suzi, I should explain, is both a Nice Guy fan and Browncoat. If you’re unfamiliar with that term (where were you last rant when I explained all that?), that’s term used to describe fans of Firefly. Some Browncoats just like the show a lot. Some are more pro-active about it and, for example, actively try to share it with others (like me and Tim and our perpetual pimping of Firefly/Serenity on the Nice Guy page). And then, there are Browncoats like Suzi and her daughter Jessica. SERIOUS Browncoats. The ones that put all their spare time into promotion, that get together with other Browncoats, and, in Suzi’s case, get to be extras in the film and get on a first name basis with the stars and the creators. So it’s safe to say that Suzi is well-connected.
Better connected than I’d known. The e-mail I got from her said she had two tickets holding for me for the L.A. world gala premiere of Serenity the following Thursday night. We’re talking red carpet, press, celebrities, the whole thing. And the tickets I had available to me were not only going to get me into this film? But also into the after-party with director Joss Whedon and all the stars.
Two tickets to Browncoat paradise - the film and the party, respectively
Stunning, to say the least. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And a lifelong dream. A big Hollywood premiere. And not just any premiere...but the premiere of a film I’ve been waiting for for two years and that I’m completely obsessed with. A lifelong dream that seemingly had come true.
Remember above where I mentioned I was starting a new job the following week?
Starting with a new company is a touchy thing. You always want to start off with a strong first impression. What is NOT a good start is to suddenly ask for two vacation days at the end of your first week. I take this stuff seriously. But Serenity? I was agonized. I had to turn in that night, but first I sent an e-mail to Tim 1) telling him about this and seeing if he could go, and 2) asking if he thought it would be a good idea...since, in case I didn’t mention, Tim already works at the same company I’m starting at (which is how I got the job). The next day Tim wrote back, saying 1) as much as it KILLED him, he wouldn’t be able to go, and 2) acknowledging and understanding my feelings about the vacation time and the company, and he had to agree it probably wasn’t the best idea.
Jessica, Suzi and me at last summer’s Comic-Con
Well, I’d already figured that out, but that helped cement it. I told some people at work about it, who all thought I was crazy and told me I should go. However, while talking to my department manager that day about some end-of-job paperwork and such, I explained it to him, and he agreed, as a manager, that I probably shouldn’t do it. The ticket offer was only good through midnight that night. I got home and sent an e-mail to Suzi, thanking her PROFUSELY for the amazing offer...but I had to decline. She wrote back, still begging me to go for it but understanding. She said there was a chance Universal might turn her and Jessica’s tickets into “plus one” tickets, so she still might have two more before the premiere. I told if that happened, to go ahead and check in with me again. But I let it go. I’d had my shot, and had turned it down for the sake of my career.
The next day, Thursday, was my last day at the old company, so that was mostly occupying my thoughts, getting things all wrapped up and saying goodbyes. On the drive home, though, I did have time to think about the choice, and wonder if I’d made the right one. But kicking myself wasn’t going to do any good. It was over, and I’d just have to live with the choice, and wonder what could have been.
I got home and checked my e-mail. There was one from Suzi. Her tickets had gone “plus one”. She had two more. And she was begging me, again, to take them.
Wait for it...wait for it...
How often do you get a once-in-a-lifetime chance? Well, that question kind of answers itself. But then how often do you get a second chance at it after you’ve screwed it up? I had to ask myself which choice I’d find myself regretting more five, ten, twenty years down the road. I just couldn’t make the same error twice. I decided I had to go for it.
The next day (Friday, my one day off before starting the new job), I got up and called my recruiter. I explained the situation, my feelings about it, and wondered if it was going to be possible to ask for the days off at the last minute. She wanted to check with management at my office to be sure. So I waited for her call back...all day. Finally she called and let me know she couldn’t reach anyone, and then she found out why...they were all at a conference in Vegas. No one was reachable until Monday. But she’s left voice mails and e-mails about it, and didn’t think there would be a problem. But I wouldn’t know for sure until Monday. But I went forward on the assumption that it was going to work, and told Suzi “yes” (qualified until Monday) on the tickets.
Now came the job of finding the person to take with me. When you’ve only got one ticket to something like this, and so many friends into the show, it’s a very tough choice. All I could do was go by seniority...who I’d known the longest of the people I knew who were fellow Browncoats. Tim was out. Next was my old roommate, Aaron, now living in Seattle. I let him know, and he said he was in. But later that night, he called back, and it turned out he wouldn’t be able to make it. That put Russ next, who, along with Aaron and my pal Tony, was part of our original Friday Night Browncoat Boys group that discovered and watched and mourned over the show together. But it turned out Russ had to fly to Boise with his girlfriend that day, and that was too locked in. He had to turn it down as well. But both Aaron and Russ agreed that while they felt bad about missing it, the one person who would appreciate it most was the biggest fan of all of us. That was Tony.
Me and Tony at Con time last summer
I called Tony, completely blew his mind with the offer, and he was in in a heartbeat. Plus he lived in San Diego, so he’d be able to just drive it. He’d just have to take the couple of days off for it. Which he did. Now two guys who had seen their show get cancelled three years before and never thought they’d see more of it again were going to be going to the world premiere of the film continuation of the show.
That is, if my company would let me. I went to my first day on Monday and met with my new manager, and thankfully, he had no problem with it. Whew! I was locked! I let Suzi (and Tony) know right after work, got my plane reservation, and got Tony and I a room booked at the Beverly Garland hotel in Burbank right by Universal, where Suzi and her family and other Browncoats would be staying. It was on!
Thursday I got up and caught a shuttle to the airport, and my flight to Burbank. I checked in with Tony to make sure he’d be picking me up. Not only was he getting me, but had already checked into our room, and been over to scout out Universal to make sure where everything was to plan out our day.
In front of the theater at Universal before the festivities began
Plans were required for a couple of reasons. Suzi had sent over the FAQ about the event for Browncoats that Universal had e-mailed her. The schedule went like this. At 5:00, tickets for Browncoats would be available for pickup at a table at Universal. At 5:30, the press would check in and get lined up along the red carpet leading up to the theater. At this point, there would be a couple of special areas set aside for attending Browncoats to stand along the carpet and watch the procession if they wished. We didn’t have to...we’d be walking the red carpet ourselves (the carpet was divided into left and right areas...Browncoats on the left, stars on the right), and could go in any time we wanted. The catch was, though, that no cameras were allowed inside the theater, nor at the after-party...which kind of bummed us out (but was kind of a relief, too, because neither Tony or I really wanted to be those guys with the cameras snapping them in stars faces when you could be meeting and mingling with them). So if you wanted walk photos, that was your one chance. At 6:30 the stars would show up, and they, and us Browncoat types, would do the walk and head in. The movie would start at 7:30. And then, immediately after, the after-party would begin, right inside the closed-off Universal Studio theme park next door.
The entrance to the red carpet before people showed up...and before we were on it!
And there was another opportunity that Suzi let us know about. A documentary is being made called “Done the Impossible”, the tale of the rise and fall and rebirth of Firefly, through the eyes of the fans. The filmmakers would be on site conducting Browncoat interviews from 2:30 to 5:00. So there was a chance for Tony and me to get ourselves on the documentary...and, hopefully, for me to plug the Nice Guy on it!
So our plan was this. We’d head over, with our cameras. Tony had found rentable lockers at Universal. We planned to do the interviews, then meet up with Suzi and get the tickets, and get in the carpet-watching area and get some shots. After some pics, Tony would run the cameras to the locker, ditch the cameras, and we’d do the walk and head into the movie.
Browncoats getting their tickets at will call
So Tony grabbed me and we headed to our hotel. I called Suzi, and she and the family were still a couple of hours away. So we headed over to Universal and got ourselves set up. Just so you know you’re at Universal? All the parking garages have different movie-themed names. We parked in “Jurassic Parking”. I still can’t believe we didn’t get a picture of the sign for that. So we looked around and finally found the closed-down restaurant they had rented out for the interviews. They were doing them upstairs, and the restaurant’s elevator was down, but we got some helpful Universal people to find us a route via a freight elevator to get me and my wheelchair up there. Met the film crew, and a couple of other waiting Browncoats (not many of us had shown up early). Brian was the guy doing the interviews, and was a great guy. We sat by while the first Browncoat-Carlos Cartagena, an AMAZING artist (www.carloscartagena.com) who’d discovered Firefly with the DVDs-did his interview. Then a girl whose name I can’t remember for the life of me did hers, and she was great. Then I got mic’d up and did mine, and was sure, of course, to push the Nice Guy. Tony then did his, and Tony hit out of the park. Seriously. They were doing the film on high def video, and actually ran out of tape they had Tony talking so much. He was very well-spoken and voiced the opinions of Browncoats very well. Then after that, the four of us were sitting around and started talking about our favorite episodes and such, and Brian said, “Why didn’t we get this stuff on camera?”. I believe it was Tony’s suggestion that maybe we ought to set up four chairs and have kind of roundtable with all of us, and they loved the idea. So we did that, too. A lot of fun, that was. Hopefully we’ll make it into the film. Guess we’ll find out when it comes out in November. If you want to check it out, you can pre-order it now at donetheimpossible.com. Oh, and while you’re there, watch the trailer...and you’ll see Suzi and Jessica in it!
The crowds begin to show up
As that finished up sooner that we’d expected, we figured we’d better get some lunch going (I hadn’t eaten all day). Since we were on the City Walk (the big mall, basically, in the middle of Universal), we had a number of restaurants to choose from. Sure, there was the hipper Hard Rock Café or B.B. King’s place, but we just headed into Tony Romas. While we were eating, I got a cell call from Suzi...they had arrived and were in front of the theater. I advised we’d hook up with her as soon as we finished, as it was getting close to time to get tickets. We headed over and couldn’t find her, but found a lot of other Browncoats showing up and getting pre-pictures. One group was trying to get a group shot, and Tony volunteered to take it for them so they could all get in. While he was laying on the cement trying to frame the perfect shot, I noticed, off to the side, a male Browncoat taking a knee in front of a female Browncoat in front of the theater. Yep. He had a ring. After he put in on her finger and they kissed (I assume she said yes...) a group of their friends watching from up on the food court level cheered. A Browncoat proposal. I like to think those two met because of Firefly, so that seemed like the perfect place and night for the big question. Good for them.
And the excitement mounts!
Tony and I wandered, circling around the Hard Rock to try and find the will call table behind the theater (you had to go around the Hard Rock at this point because the red carpet walk area was blocking off that side of the theater), and as we approached a set of bars, I spotted Suzi talking with some of her fellow Browncoats. A very grateful hug from me was had, and I got to introduce her to Tony, oh-so-grateful his damn self. She was talking a mile a minute, all psyched up and trying to organize everything for everybody she was hooking up. She said she’d ordered some food at the Hard Rock, and as soon as she finished she was coming over to set up tickets. Tony and I hung out around the table and took in all the Browncoats (and the curios onlooker also at the City Walk wondering what was going on). Soon Suzi and Jessica got in line and got all the tickets (she was able to get a LOT of them and was hooking people UP!) and handed them out. Turns out the ones Tony and I got were in theater 1. See, they were showing the thing, it turned out, in four different theaters to accommodate all the people. As luck would have it, our tickets were in the main one where all the cast would be. Sweet! But it was also assigned seating, and that was likely going to be a problem with the wheelchair. So we decided then we’d better go in earlier than we’d planned and get that worked out.
Tony and me in the gallery area, playing spectator before doing our carpet walk
Tony and I put on our Serenity buttons that let you into the viewing area by the red carpet and got in mostly early. This put us in front of the theater with a pretty good view of most of the walk. But there were some signs up that were going to keep me from getting many good photos at my sitting height. But Tony was there with his camera, too, so we figured we’d be okay. The area quickly filled up several people deep behind us, and we were boxed in. We waited as 6:30 came. Naturally, the celebrities never show up right on schedule. As we waited, there was a big video screen up above the theater that, every few minutes, would run the Serenity trailer, which Tony had been religiously avoiding all this time to go into the film totally spoiler-free. So he did his best to do what he’s done in theaters when it comes on...look away and plug his ears. Eventually the MC got on the mic and started things going, and getting the crowd wound up. He kept saying the stars were showing up any minute, but 7:00 kept getting closer, and Tony and I realized if we wanted to handle the seats, we couldn’t hang around and watch all the stars. Finally Ron Glass started making his way down (woo hoo!) and we got to see him, and catch him get up on the small podium and talk on the mic. Neither Tony or I were going to be able to get any good shots, we realized. So when Ron stepped down (after ending with a “Browncoats forever!” and pumping fist that drove the crowd wild, we had a security guy let us out of the barricade. I headed for the entrance to the walk, Tony took off for the lockers to ditch our cameras.
Me waiting in the gallery, with the big screen behind
The red carpet walk, as I said, was divided down the middle, and both stars and Browncoats would be walking at the same time (just separated by the rope). As I waited, I realized that Amy Acker (from Angel) was standing next to me with her husband, talking to someone. They really were just mixing up fans and celebs. Awesome. Tony made it back and got to exchange a “hi” with Amy he’ll probably take to his grave. We started to head down, but Tony paused while pushing me to turn me to the right to watch Jewel Staite (Kaylee) getting her last minute make-up done.
Nice Guy fans in the house!!! Okay, probably bigger Serenity fans this night... Jessica and her friend Blyth made the celeb web sites with this photo...while Suzi, in the background, worked the phone...probably checking in with their agent...
Then it was our time to shine. We started our red carpet walk, right through all the assembled press and watching fans. We paused right behind Nathan Fillion (Mal) and his wife as they paused for photos, hoping we might get ourselves into the background of one. We did the same with Morena Baccarin (Inara), who was being interviewed by CNN, and Summer Glau (River) who was posing for photographers (and looking fantastic). We finally got up to the front of the theater, and a heard a bunch of girls screaming my name. Suzi, Jessica and some of their friends had made it into the galley, and were cheering for me as I passed. So I got my moment in the celebrity sun.
NOTE: AS CAMERAS WERE NOT ALLOWED ON THE RED CARPET, IN THE THEATER, OR AT THE PARTY, THE PHOTOS THAT FOLLOW ARE PHOTO INTERPRETATIONS BASED ON (MOSTLY) ACTUAL EVENTS
We got into the theater, went through the metal detectors, and went into theater 1. As most people (stars and fans) were still outside, it wasn’t too full yet. We found a friendly usher and explained our problem with the assigned seats. I’d seen wheelchair seating in the very back row, but that didn’t sound like too much fun. And it turned out our assigned seats were in the very FRONT row. Not too cool either. This guy pulled out his seating chart and looked at the aisles where seats had been removed for wheelchairs. He started to mention one on aisle G, but said the seat next to it was taken. I was wanting us to sit together, but Tony said not to worry about it, that that was probably the best seat for me. As the guy went to double-check it, Tony told me WHY he was adamant that I take it. He’d looked at the chart, and the name listed in the seat next to it was Jewel Staite. There was no way he was letting me pass that up, and would be happy, he said, to sit by himself for that. The usher came back and said it was clear, and Tony took me over there. Yes, not only did I get to go to this big premiere? I was going to be sitting with the cast.
Tony and me doing the red carpet and dealing with the press. It’s the price you pay for fame.
None of the main stars were there yet, but sitting right behind me was an actor I recognized-Michael Hitchcock, who I knew from such films as Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind. Felt kind of bad because there wasn’t much room to sit a wheelchair there, and I was talking up a lot of his legroom (he would in end inadvertently kicking my feet a couple of times during the film). Soon the stars and the others started making their way in, though it was clear the film wasn’t going to start at the set 7:30. Sure enough, Jewel Staite came in. The bad news? She took the next seat over and her husband sat next to me. Ah, well. I saw Morena and Ron come into my row, too. But soon they started flashing the lights, wanting to get the film started (we all kind of wanted that, too). With people still milling around and finding seats, they went ahead and raised the curtain and lowered the lights. After that, I really didn’t care about much else.
I watched this show on its very first night. I loved it and had it taken away from me like so many others. And now, after all the waiting, it was finally happening. I was seeing Serenity.
Which I’m glad I’m seeing again, because I missed a lot of the opening dialogue because of all the cheering, which lit up every time a new actor’s name came on screen. Cheering from both fans and stars. Now I can’t, here, get into the film itself. I refuse to do any spoilerizing, as I’m going on the assumption that you’ll be seeing it yourself (right?). Let me just say that it was worth the wait. It was the old crew back together again. But where the series had been more comical? This, while having its share of patented Joss laughs, was DARK. It was scary. It was violent. I had moments I can’t discuss that were unbelievably shocking to me as a fan...moments shocking, I think, only to Tony and I, because the more I talked to people during the evening, the more I started thinking we were the only two that hadn’t already seen the film. Universal had been running all kinds of preview and test screenings for fans. I think Suzi had seen it five or more times. And of course the stars had seen it many times. It was a very fulfilling vindication for all the waiting, and I loved it. And Tony loved it. Our only question, still, has how people not familiar with the show will feel about it. It’s really made for the fans, for the people who already know the characters and their backstories and relationships. As promised, it really does pick up where the series left off, without a lot of dumbing down or explanations for newbies. While that makes me love it more, as a fan, I’m going to be very curious to see how the uninitiated receive it.
When Amy met Tony. Tony’s brush with babeness as he spoke with Amy Acker
It ended to a very prolonged throng of applause. People started filing out, stars started crawling past me. Tony came over and found me and we had to have our state of shock conversation. We stayed through the ending credits (worth it because of the instrumental version of the original show theme that kicks in) and we wandered out. We had to hang out outside the theater door for a few minutes, just because Joss was there, as well as Alyson Hannigan and husband Alexis Denisof, both favorites of ours from Buffy and Angel. We thought that might be a good place to thank Joss, but he was pretty busy, so we figured we’d catch up with him at the party (though Tony did let him know his shoes were untied). That seemed to be where everyone else was headed anyway.
As you exited the theater, there was a barricade set up beside it, with Universal employees waving light to guide you along it. The barricade would lead you right to the party, which was taking place at the Universal Theme Park a short stroll away. With our party tickets in hand, we found the entrance. Security was taking people’s tickets, but were nice enough, when asked, to let us keep ours as keepsakes. The main party was outdoors at this point, and hundreds of people-famous and fans-were milling around. Let me tell you-Universal knows how to throw a party. There were food stations and open bars everywhere. Tables were spaced throughout where groups were sitting. The staff was incredibly friendly and accommodating, from servers to security. I don’t know how many times we were welcomed. Thanks to Tony Romas, we weren’t really feeling like eating, so we just walked around and took things in to start. Tony spotted Christina Hendricks, who played “Saffron” in the series and made us all drool at the time, and we had to follow her, and her dress, for a while. We passed up actor David Krumholtz, who played “Mr. Universe” in the film, an actor I’ve been a fan of since he was a child actor (who later went on to stab Dr. Carter in ER), standing with a talking with some fans. Soon we found our group, Suzi and Jessica and friends, and got introduced around. There was a ballroom nearby, and we heard someone say that’s where the VIP party was going on. This was a little disappointing as it got me thinking the stars would be in there and we’d be stuck inside. But the good news was that the VIP event was a brief one, and they quickly opened the doors to everyone.
Meeting hot actresses from a wheelchair is not as easy as you’d think...
We hung outside and talked with Suzi and others for a while, but soon decided to roam inside and check it out. The ballroom was packed...more tables, more fantastic food and deserts, more bars, and music playing quite loudly. Tony and I ran into Carlos, whom we’d done our interview with, and talked to him for a while. We could see the stars in there too (Summer was in line getting food next to where I was parked), but didn’t make any move to meet anyone just yet. The extra loud music was making the idea of that kind of a pain. Soon we decided to take a break from the loudness and headed outside, figuring we’d take this chance to grab a table and smoke a couple of the cigars I’d brought. As we looked for a spot, I spotted Ron Glass having a cigarette and talking with some fans, so I took this chance to roll over, introduce myself, and shake his hand. Great guy. I can’t disclose what I talked to him about in regards to the movie (spoilers!) but it was a nice brief chat. And an honor to meet an actor I’d been a fan of since I was a kid (when he was on Barney Miller). Tony and I got a table near the main exit, where most of the other smokers were, and lit up, and talked about the film, and the night. I noted, in the middle of it, how funny it was that we were finally in a place where we could sit around and talked about Firefly and Angel and Buffy and not be the nerds in the room. Everyone there was on our same wavelength. As we were finishing up, Ron came walking by, on his way out, and Tony quietly applauded him and complimented the film, and Ron graciously thanked him.
We headed back inside and found Suzi at a table. I asked her if Adam (Baldwin...who plays “Jayne”) was still there, and she said he’d left, which was too bad, as I’d really wanted to meet him and Suzi knows him best of all the actors. She asked if I’d met anyone else, and I said just Ron. And she quickly pulled Jessica over and said they needed to take me to make some introductions. Turns out those two are on a first-name basis with pretty much all the mains.
While we were heading over to find them, Suzi introduced me to someone, and started to tell him right away about the Nice Guy. This was a young guy, and I had NO idea who he was, but I just went with it, and talked Nice Guy, and ended up giving him one of our cards. I would ask her later, back at our hotel, who I was talking with. Turns out it was comic artist John Cassaday, who works with Joss, currently, on Astonishing X-Men. I’m a huge fan! And I had no idea! Would have had a few comments for him. But this way, at least, we kept the conversation focused on me. J
The next hit was Joss himself. My creative hero. Got to meet him, got to talk with him, but again, can’t tell you what we talked ABOUT with the film (write to me after you see it, I’ll tell ya). Had a good chat with him, and (what do you know?) the subject of the Nice Guy came up, and I ended up getting him my card. Do hope he drops in and checks it out while it’s still Serenity Week. That was, of course, the highlight, meeting the man himself. A big dream of mine (yet another) that came true that night.
Me giving my Nice Guy card to Joss Whedon at the party. Anyone else notice he’s gotten a big head since he went Hollywood?
Then Jessica pulled Summer Glau over, who, true to rumor, is an absolute sweetheart and a pleasure to talk to. Got to let her know how wonderful she was in the film, among other things. And there was a woman with her, talking with me as well (and commenting on the big bag of cigars in my lap) that I wouldn’t find out until the next morning, when Tony was pulling up premiere photos, was Joss’s wife!
Next I got to meet the very gracious Sean Maher (Simon), who knelt down to talk with me so we could be heard over the noise. I think he was the one I talked to the longest. Great guy. And soon after came the Captain himself, Nathan Fillion. If you know anything about Nathan Fillion, you already know how it went. Never seen a celebrity be so accessible and friendly to his fans as this guy. Got to talk a bit, and brought up the Nice Guy and Serenity week and got him a card. He looked at it and said he’d heard of the comic somewhere before. On the Firefly board, maybe? I said possibly, or it might have been at the 2004 Comic-Con when we snuck our Firefly Week flyers up on their table at the Serenity panel, and Adam took one, checked it out, and passed it down the line to the other actors while Joss was speaking. Again, hope he takes the time to check it out. I also got to briefly meet Morena Baccarin, but didn’t get to talk much as she was taking off. Tony later told me that at that moment, he actually had to turn away, because he was afraid she was going to lean over when she shook my hand, and, in the dress she was wearing, he didn’t think he could handle that. As I’ve said here before, she’s one of the most beautiful women on Earth, and if you’ve seen and Firefly, you know I’m not kidding.
Pretty soon they started dimming the lights, announcing that the party was winding down and needed to move outside. My only regrets were that I didn’t get to meet the rest of the crew-Alan Tudyk (Wash), Adam, as mentioned, or Gina Torres (Zoe) or her husband Lawrence Fishburne (actually, no one saw them, and I think they didn’t make it). Or to properly meet Jewel. But I wasn’t complaining. Got to meet and talk with some people that I’m a huge fan of, and not in some autograph line at a convention, but mingling at a social event. I can’t imagine any other film having that kind of premiere, one where the director and stars are just out there mixing with everyone else, sharing their appreciation of the fans as their fans appreciate them. And I have to give it up for the Browncoats. I didn’t, myself, witness one moment of annoying fandom. A lot of that was probably due to the ban on cameras, taking away that temptation. An amazing event I’m not even properly describing to you. That bond between the creators and the fans was so palpable, all of them loving this show/movie so much that they all felt they were on the same side.
Me and Tony posing at the theater after the party, at like 2:00am
We cleared out as everyone else was starting to. We took a leisurely walk back to the City Walk, and grabbed our cameras from our locker and decided to take some late night photos of the place. We met some more nice folks at the end, a group there from Oregon (http://movie.groups.yahoo.com/group/eugenebrowncoats), that we chatted with for some time. But then we finally decided it was time to get going, because we wanted to meet up with Suzi and Jessica back at our room, so I could give them the thank you gift I’d brought along (as if that was going to be enough for all this). We hit our room and called them, and waited for them to show up after saying good-bye to some friends, and Tony and I toasted with a couple of beers. They made it up, and I gave them the drawing I’d asked Tim to do for them...using a photos I had of them as reference, I’d told him I wanted one of them in Firefly garb, and he cranked out an amazing work. We took some photos together, all hung out and talked for a while, but as it was now after 2:30am, we all had to call it a night and say our goodbyes. Tony and I were up for a little while longer, but turned in soon, and both went out the minute our heads hit our respective pillows (neither of us had gotten much sleep the night before, and it had been a LONG day).
Jessica, me and Suzi back at our hotel at night’s end
The next morning (this morning) we got up and took our time getting ready, checking the internet for the first photos of the previous night’s event, neither of us still quite believing it had actually happened. We checked out and grabbed some lunch at the hotel restaurant, then Tony dropped me at the airport in Burbank, where we didn’t have to say much of a good-bye...since I’ll be flying to San Diego in less than a week to catch the movie again on opening day with him, Aaron and Russ, as we’d all promised long ago we’d do (based on the circumstances, they’re certainly not complaining that we saw it without them). And I made it home, caught a shuttle back, and immediately started this, while it’s all still fresh in my mind.
The Jessica/Suzi Browncoat art that Tim did for the gals
I know I’m forgetting things. So much happened. I’m forgetting to mention meeting the young actress who played the young River in the film. I’m forgetting to mention that my buddy Jim, hear in Sacramento, got me a Browncoat bracelet as a gift to wear to the event (which I did, and which I still have on). I’m forgetting lots of amazing Browncoats we met along the way through that remarkable day. I’ll never get it all in here, or properly capture what it was like to be a part of that. What I won’t forget is how a woman named Suzi made this all happen for me-even after I turned her down and almost missed it completely-and how much that means to me. And how much it meant to share it with a friend who’s as crazy about Firefly as I am, one that used to watch it was me on those too few Friday nights when it was on the air, and one that, like me, never dreamed we’d get a second shot at stepping into this universe that our Big Damn Hero, Joss, created for us. And I’ll never forget actually being able to tell Joss, in person, how much I loved it, and to thank him.
And now, if enough of you will trust me on this and get out see Serenity, I may just get a sequel. And, you never know...I might just be showing up for that premiere too.
And if that does happen? I’ll might actually manage to talk to Amy Acker this time. Hey, YOU look into that face and try to get three words out...
AND THE CELEBRATION CONTINUED...
And as if all that Serenity fun wasn’t enough, I STILL had my plane ticket to San Diego to see the film on the official opening day (Friday the 30th) with my boys. Couldn’t back out on that, now, could I?
Got on a plane Thursday night, and got picked up by my pal Russ at the airport. Aaron’s plane was coming in from Seattle about an hour later, so we took the chance to take a quick drive to my favorite San Diego restaurant, the Elephant and Castle (check the Photos page for the Comic-Cons for the past two years, you’ll see I go there whenever I’m in town). We knocked down a couple of pints and had a great dinner (shepherd’s pie is the shiznit, yo!) and grabbed Aaron. Tony met up with us back at Russ’s place, where we all got to relax and have some cigars...and Tony and I got to keep our mouths shut about the movie.
Russ points out where we’re headed as soon as we’re done with our drinks...
The next day was the big Friday. We had tickets to the first (11:45) show. We got there early enough and picked up our tickets so that we were able to run next door to Islands for appetizers and a couple of beers. And then it was into the film...second time for Tony and me, but the end of a very long wait for Russ and Aaron. Pretty full for a weekday afternoon show, I was happy to see. The film lost none of its luster (it managed to get better) for me, and Aaron and Russ got to experience it for the first time. September of 2002...we all discover Firefly together and watch it every Friday night at Russ’s. September of 2005...there we were watching the movie on the big screen. Nice.
We got tickets for the 9:00pm showing as well for that night, and headed back there after having some dinner. MUCH better crowd. The good thing about the early show was that it wasn’t as loud, and you could get to hear all the dialogue. But on the opening day of a movie you’ve been waiting for, you really want that big crowd feel, too. We got it. Sold-out show, place filled with Browncoats. Lots of cheering, lots of laughs, a few gasps, a few tears. Great crowd. Really made it an event.
Me, Tony, Russ and Aaron...the San Diego Friday Night Browncoat Boys, enjoying some treats before the big show
On Sunday morning, Tony, his wife Wendy and I got up and caught the opening show, so that made the 4th time I’d seen it. Our whole goal, you see, was to see it multiple times to keep the box office numbers up. It makes enough money, we get a franchise. But it wasn’t a chore. On time number four, I still hadn’t gotten tired of it, and still loved it as much. Brilliant! And can’t wait to get out this weekend and see it again!
The big drama, then, was watching the box office all weekend and on Monday. Didn’t do as well as we’d all hoped, though it was still the #2 movie in the country and beat out the Jessica Alba in a bikini movie, which I thought would stomp us. So we’re still hopeful, still trying to get the word out (as we’re all finding more and more people who have no idea what this movie is and have never heard of it), and all planning to keep on seeing it.
The boys relaxing between viewings at Russ’s place (along with Wile E. and Anna)
So GO OUT AND SEE IT!!! If you’re a Browncoat, it’s yer duty! None of this "I’ll wait for DVD" crap. And if you’ve never tried it, this is a perfect time to get a taste of what all the fuss is about. This film’s a hell of a ride, getting great reviews, and this is your chance to see all these relatively unknown actors and actresses before they really hit it big...and I think all of them will. Go find out for yourself! Jump in and become a Browncoat! It’s a great deal. Universal will throw you a great party and everything....
SEE THE FIRST NINE MINUTES OF SERENITY...NOW!
Want to try a taste before you go buy a ticket? There’s a web site you can go to where, for free, you can watch the first nine minutes of the film, unedited and full-screen. Simply click on the graphic below, choose your quality, and enjoy!