Given that it’s the last week of term, Ryan & I (of Films Are Sick fame) have an awful lot of work to get done before we head back home. But today was also the European premiere for Star Wars: The Last Jedi at the Royal Albert Hall, which obviously takes precedence. We can’t live close to where STAR WARS is premiering and not go.
Suffice to say, we didn’t arrive anywhere near early enough to get by the red carpet, but we did find ourselves a spot where we could see the cast arriving. It just happened to be from afar, and we only really saw the back of their heads. Even so – I have now seen Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis and Gwendoline Christie in the flesh. Colin Trevorrow, director of Jurassic World and the ex-director of Episode IX, walked past us. Eeeeek!
But I didn’t get any photos. Because it was too fleeting and packed. So, I can’t actually prove that I have. But I have!
I say ‘eeeeek!’ but there’s something I find slightly off-putting about film premieres. The sheer lavishness of outfits and decorations (particularly for Star Wars at the Royal Albert Hall, with Prince William & Harry in attendance), the fans begging to be noticed, the elite nature of receiving an invite… it feels very exclusionary. Like the film industry dangling a chance for ordinary people to mix and mingle with their favourite celebrities right in front of us, and then snatching it back and putting up blacked-out barriers. I know that barriers and security and all that is just necessary, but I think that, if I could plan an event like this, I’d do it a little differently.
Perhaps it’s just jealousy getting the better of me, knowing there’s no way in hell I’d have been able to attend this. Even when I was in a position to be invited to press screenings, Disney didn’t invite me to see The Force Awakens early. And I know that there’s no way in hell I’ll have the opportunity to be in any way connected to the filmmaking process of these movies. It’s easy for me to say, “oh, I make films and YouTube videos, I used to do online journalism, blah blah,” until I remember that, in the grand scheme of the film industry – and in the grand scheme of what I want to do with my life – it’s small fry and doesn’t really result in much that is concretely cool. I remember that I’m still 18, and the people who make these movies are decades older. They’ve waited for longer than the entire span of my existence to get the chance to make Star Wars. Rian Johnson didn’t make his first feature film until he was 30 (he’s 43) – I want to make mine now. But if they can wait, I can too.
And then I remember that I’m impatient, and I’ve never ever bought into the idea that my age should be a barrier to doing cool stuff. I don’t think it should be for anyone. I’m happy when I see my friends going out and doing fantastic work that you wouldn’t expect young people to do (making and releasing music, mainly) because it always sets an example for others to aspire for. I’m reminded of the lyrics from one of my favourite Tom Rosenthal songs – Don’t Wait. And it’s incredibly difficult for me to even attempt to pick any favourite Tom Rosenthal songs. They are all ethereal perfection. But this is a favourite.
All the losers are late, darling.
If you like it don’t wait.
All the losers are late, darling.
If you want it don’t wait.
Anyway. I’m very grateful and very lucky to be in a position where I can hop on the tube and catch a glimpse of Luke Skywalker. I’m grateful and lucky to be alive and wanting to make movies when new Star Wars movies are coming out. Good new Star Wars movies – no, great new Star Wars movies. I just want to see how many times I can type new Star Wars movies before it really sets in that this is a proper thing that exists.
Maybe in 2019, I will properly go to the Episode IX premiere. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?