It's Fall. In Los Angeles that means all the big potential-to-get-nominated-for-awards movies come out. For me, that means lots of free screenings. I am getting several emails a week inviting me to this or that movie. I can't make all of them, but with the price of movies at the theaters, I'm seeing as many as possible. Most of the screenings are for people who work in the film industry (through Below-the-Line or Women In Film, etc.) or for writers (Creative Screenwriting has lots of screenings this time of year). And generally the screenings have pretty interesting Q&As after the show.
Recently, I received this email:
WOMEN IN FILM AND UNIVERSAL PICTURES INVITES WIF MEMBERS AND A GUEST TO A SCREENING OF:
CHILDREN OF MEN
Q&A follows with Director Alfonso Cuaron and star, Actor Clive Owen.
Thursday, November 16th
7:30 PM (you must be at theatre at 7pm)
The Village Theatre
961 Broxton Ave.
Los Angeles, CA
RSVP: ONLY 50 SEATS AVAILABLE. You MUST call the WIF RSVP line, 310.362.xxxx, and state that you're reserving for the Children of Men Screening. Please be sure to leave your name and phone number.
At the screening, if asked, let them know you are with Women In Film.
CHILDREN OF MEN
Children of Men envisages a world one generation from now that has fallen into anarchy on the heels of an infertility defect in the population. The world's youngest citizen has just died at 18, and humankind is facing the likelihood of its own extinction. Set against a backdrop of London torn apart by violence and warring nationalistic sects, Children of Men follows disillusioned bureaucrat Theo (Clive Owen) as he becomes an unlikely champion of Earth's survival. When the planet's last remaining hope - a lone pregnant woman named Kee - is threatened, this reluctant activist is forced to face his own demons and protect her from certain peril.
Directed and co-written by acclaimed filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron, Children of Men also stars Julianne Moore as Julian, the leader of an underground opposition group, and Michael Caine as Jasper.
PLEASE ARRIVE EARLY. Limited seats available. THIS TICKET DOES NOT GUARANTEE YOU A SEAT. THEATRE IS OVERBOOKED TO ENSURE A FULL HOUSE. THEATRE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR OVERBOOKING. NO ADMITTANCE ONCE SCREENING HAS BEGUN. We reserve the right to admit or refuse access to the theatre at the discretion of an authorized representative.
NO RECORDING This screening will be monitored for unauthorized recording. By attending, you agree not to bring any recording device into the theatre and you consent to physical search of your belongings and person for recording devices. If you attempt to enter with a recording device, you will be denied admission. If you attempt to use a recording device, you consent to your immediate removal from the theatre and forfeiture of the device and its contents. Unauthorized recording will be reported to law enforcement and may subject you to criminal and civil liability.
Clive Owen? Who could say no to that?
I called the RSVP number and later received an email confirming I had two seats for the screening. Cool. So, after a hard day's work, I hop in the car with a screenwriter friend and make the drive over the hill to deal with the potential parking nightmare known as Westwood. No time to change. I'm wearing a pair of faded (because they're old) black jeans with ragged fraying cuffs and a white pull-over hoody sweatshirt. My friend is dressed similarly. We arrive at the closet parking lot and the usual $5 parking fee has been jacked up to $10. Crap. Oh well, the movie's free.
We trek down the street toward the theater and the sidewalk is blocked. Huh? It's just a friggin' screening. What's the big deal?
Then I see it. Aack! The Red Carpet. And the Lights. A premiere? Can't be for Children of Men. Could it? Thanks for the heads up, WIF. (See above for what I was wearing.)
I walked up to Mr. Security and said, "I'm on the list for the screening." He told us we had to cross the street to get around to the other side of the theater and half-way down was the will-call. Okay. I'm not good with being told what to do. I tried to save six steps by walking down the middle of the street. I was quickly yelled at by another security and warned that there were police present.
We get to the will-call table set up on the sidewalk half a block down and I am presented with this (+ one for my friend):
I look back toward the theater and see the Bright Lights and the Red Carpet flanked with tons of photographers. Then noticed a line of regular-type people wrapping around the the corner. Okay, that's where we're going...into the regular people line and we'll be let in after all the Red Carpet stuff is done. Phew.
We walk across the street and show our tickets to another security guy. Expecting him to direct us to the back of the line. He doesn't. He waves us onto the Red Carpet. To be honest, at this point, I was cracking up. I knew I looked like crap. But I figured that was better than looking mediocre. At least if you look like total crap, and you're on the Red Carpet, it looks like you dressed down intentionally. As if to say, "Fuck you, Hollywood. I'm too cool for you."
So, my friend and I walked the carpet like we owned it. Sadly, we didn't pull one over on the paparrazzi. Maybe one flash went off. Maybe.
We hit the lobby and were immediately offered free popcorn and sodas. Perks. And then found our front and center (heavy on the 'front') seats. After a really long wait, the film was introduced by director, Alfonso Cuaron. The movie was great. And so was Clive.
There was no Q&A with Clive Owen. Duh. It was a studio premiere. My friend saw Clive in the lobby. I only saw him in the movie. But we breathed the same air. Aaaahh.
Tonight, I'm going to see Notes on a Scandal, starring Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett. It's on the Paramount lot. I'm not dressing up.
Tomorrow night, it's Stranger Than Fiction on the Sony lot. I'm not dressing up for that one either.