FireflyRed Carpet Revelry at Serenity Premiere
Tuesday 27 September 2005, by Webmaster
Serenity - Red Carpet Revelry
Lowdown by Neil Figuracion, posted September 26, 2005
Anticipation has been growing for weeks with the approach of the red carpet premiere of Serenity. If you’ve never heard of the film, it’s an action flick that takes place 500 years in the future about a band of rebels on the run from the law. The movie was based on the cult-hit TV show Firefly, a show that barely aired eleven episodes on the Fox Network and was cancelled after various counts of preempting, poor promotions and schedule changes. Now, thanks to the fervor of the Firefly hardcore fans (known as Browncoats), the story of the hapless crew is being brought to the big screen, and it’s been said that Serenity is the only ship powered completely by fans.
Along the red carpet at Universal Citywalk, the cast and crew were greeted by hundreds of those same fans, some from as far away as Germany and Australia. A screaming mob of Browncoats waved signs and cheered for their Big Damn Heroes. The cast could only share in the excitement.
“I was practicing my autograph and my Oscar speech when I was supposed to be studying math in the 10th grade,” quipped Nathan Fillion, who reprises his role as Captain Malcolm Reynolds. “This day’s been a long time coming.”
Alan Tudyk, who plays the ship’s lovable pilot Wash, took time off from his busy schedule on the Broadway production of Spamalot , to feel the love. “My plane leaves tomorrow at 8am. I have a show tomorrow night, two on Saturday, one on Sunday. I don’t give my understudy much work.”
The red carpet is the site of the ultimate celebration of any film. In attendance were Raz Odoti, co-star of the upcoming Doom, based on the popular video game, former Buffy star Alyson Hannigan, currently on the new sitcom How I Met Your Mother, along with husband and former star of Angel , Alexis Denisov, All were looking forward to seeing the film for the first time.
Some guests recalled the feeling of kinship with the crew of Serenity. There was definitely a feeling of family amongst the cast. “I had a blast,” recalls Christina Hendricks, who played the cunning seductress Saffron on Firefly . “I just had so much fun. They were really welcoming and great.”
Raphael and Yan Feldman, the actors who played the film’s identical gangsters Fanty and Mingo were at first intimidated about working with such a tight knit crew. “I was scared, because when we got the role, we rented the series. These people are tight. They’re a family, and I was like ‘How’re we gonna infiltrate?’” recalls Raphael. “They were the most welcoming people I think we’ve ever met. It was such an unbelievable experience. We really felt at home.”
“I am a Browncoat,” boasts Barry Mendel, the film’s producer. “We wanted to please the fans that already existed but we wanted to tell the story for someone who’d never seen it before, and have it feel like it was totally made just for them.” Mendel couldn’t hide his enthusiasm on the red carpet. “I’m excited. I’m just here to have a great time and enjoy the fruits of everybody’s labor. Everybody worked really hard, laid themselves on the line, and now it’s just time to enjoy that.”
When over 400 fans were invited to the premiere in Universal City, message boards lit on fire. When the opportunity came to attend the event and the after-party there was a feeding frenzy. This was the ultimate present to the people who kept Serenity alive. For most, it was a dream come true.
After numerous preview screenings, it’s easy to lose track of the fact that there are still hundreds of thousands of Browncoats, not to mention the uncounted millions of casual movie-goers who have remained unfamiliar with Firefly . At the premiere, the large portion of the audience had never seen the film.
“I’ve seen it. I’m really excited to see it again, which says a lot,” reports Raphael Feldman. “The first time it was just like a roller coaster. It was unbelievable to take everything in all at once. It was some of the most thrilling movie-watching I think I’ve had in years. I was totally a little kid again. It was awesome”
The film provoked laughter, tears and gasps of fear for an audience that was largely unprepared for the experience. The bulk of the viewers were surprised by the smart, funny and action-packed film that played on the screens in front of them.
At the after party, held on the grounds of the Universal Studios theme park, close to a thousand party-goers joined in the festivities. Several open bars and buffet tables lined the walks of the park, and in one corner was a dazzling fountain of molten chocolate.
When the VIP room opened to the public, there was a flood of the many Browncoat fans who had been invited to the shindig. Some danced the night away, while other enjoyed the scenery, a giant room decorated in an eclectic tableau. Giant planets hung from the ceiling, suspended benches ornamented with fans and parasols recreating the film’s Asian influenced design. Along the far wall, a giant Buddha, while in another corner, DJ Kane Fortune spun a rousing mix of hip tunes and popular favorites.
The Browncoats themselves were a bit of a motley crew. Dressed in a multi-cultural melange of outfits, juxtaposing the Chinese motif with a more western sensibility, only some of the fans succeeded. “Browncoats have no sense of fashion,” noted one unapologetic fan with a laugh. Some even showed a little less sense of decorum. While most of the fans were content to enjoy themselves and the party going on around them, others seemed to forget that their Big Damn Heroes expected to spend time with their friends and families. The stars were eclipsed by a crush of well-wishers and autograph seekers. Eventually security began redirecting the crowds so that the actors could get some breathing room. Still, the majority of the merry-makers simply entertained themselves, meeting friends whom they’d previously only met on message boards, chatting, laughing and promoting their various fan events, like the Big Damned Flanvention, a Southern California Firefly convention scheduled for early December.
Asked about the fans and their role in the making of Serenity , Writer/Director Joss Whedon confides that “I can only say one thing; it means the world to me. I’ve waited my whole life to make a movie and the fact I’ve worked so hard to make this one and that they were there supporting me... It’s my night. I feel so good.”
As the music ended, the party lingered on with the hope that the revelry would continue. “It was the best night of my life,” exclaimed one overwhelmingly happy Browncoat as she and her boyfriend walked back down the red carpet towards the parking garage.