My Saturday evening was MADE by putting Hollywood celebrities Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, Champs Élysées and box office hit The Post’s premiere into the equation. Even the thought of attending such a star-studded event would have been unthinkable a few months ago.
So, THAT happened thanks to good friends and A LOT of good luck. Steven Spielberg’s most recent movie, The Post, reveals an exciting account of the Washington Post’s risky decision to publish the Pentagon Papers in the early 1970’s. As its European premiere had already been held in London, an insider informed us that the cast would be doing some promoting in Paris too.
Some prior investigating led us to believe that they were set to be interviewed in the northern part of the French capital on Friday, the 19th. All in all, we waited outside for about 4 to 5 hours. It was cold but #yolo. The prospect of giving up on that chance was non-existent. And thank god it stayed that way.
Friday, 13:00h – We spent a good hour in front of the Four Seasons hotel – a place previously frequented by the group. We eventually learnt they’d been staying at Le Bristol. We were hoping to catch a glimpse of the press conference.
16:00h-ish – Following a stop at Starbucks, we arrived at a sort of built-for-the-occasion TV studio located in a regular building in the vicinity of Oberkampf. We claimed our positions between the entrance – another tall wooden doorway – and a wine store. We did some eavesdropping on a suspicious-looking group standing beside us who eventually turned out to be paparazzi. About an hour later, some lady got inside carrying 2 Eiffel-tower souvenirs - which you can, in fact, see in the interview. A man on a motorbike, who’d probably been there for as long as we had been, confirmed at least Tom Hanks was either inside or was supposed to come soon.
17:30h-ish – Security shows up and installs barriers around the entrance. This is happening FOR REAL. Passers-by decided to stop and queue. Paparazzi showed up out of nowhere and some other random folk spread out posters for Catch me if you can onto folders. Professionals. We had, in fact, passed by a stationary store to grab a notebook and markers. Needless to say, the notebooks have their own space in our handbags just in case we may need to ask for an autograph.
18:25h sharp – A black car pulls up. A tornado of flashes and screams swirls around us. Tom Hanks hops out and strides into the building.
18:30h sharp – A second black car pulls up. The guards seem to take forever getting ready to open the door. Meryl pops out, turns to recuperate her handbag before turning back to face the crowd - us standing a couple of meters away. After taking a good look in our direction, she waves, smiles, and off she goes.
Well, that seemed like slo-mo. No autographs were given. Everyone practically ran inside. We heard a number of less-than-flattering comments regarding "the 3 jerks" by haters from the press. Change jobs if you hate it as much...
The next day we were instructed that a private premiere for the press was to be held at one of Champs Elysées’ UGC theaters. My friends had been there since 15h. I, on the other hand, got there at 18:40h following a marathon through the underground labyrinth of the metro. "Fun"!
I squeezed through people to (at some point) get to the first line of onlookers leaning against the barriers. AlloCiné and France24 were already hauling large TV cameras around. It was after 19h that security peeled the nylon off the red carpet and local celebrities started arriving – journalists, mainly, and Inès de La Fréssange. It was nearly 19:30h when Steven Spielberg and his wife passed in front of us. He waved at us!
Streep accompanied by Tom Hanks followed close. Yet again, they didn’t stop for an interview but at least they took their time walking down to the cinema’s entrance – waving and blowing kisses. You were left with the impression that everything had stopped for a moment just so that everyone could glare at them. The moment they'd disappeared, the crowds dispersed in a matter of seconds. Everything was over so quickly.
Once they got inside, we got to the back exit located in a parallel street. Thankfully, it wasn’t packed. The paparazzi had, of course, already taken their positions. Police was making sure the street was ready for the 3 black vehicles in front to leave immediately.
Hanks was first to leave, followed by his costar who yelled “avion” - to Milano, as an excuse for running too late to stop for an autograph. Spielberg left probably half an hour later. We had some laughs with the security guards. Was everyone freezing at this point!
It’s been two weeks since I pretty much had the most eventful weekend of my life. It was just too good to be true, hence, the reason why I’ve waited for as long as I did to reflect on it. I needed time to wrap my head around an instance that’s been widely anticipated and positively life-changing.
I’d been having flashes of that oh-so-short a moment – accompanied by 3am-sobbing-in-a-pillow tantrums – for what feels like my entire life. The reasons are countless and self-explanatory. For those who haven’t developed an obsession over anything or anybody (in a positive way) – what have you been doing with your lives all this time?
In case you cannot grasp the idea of being utterly enthralled with somebody famous, it simply means you’ve found an individual that you wholeheartedly look up to for what they are (rocking some flawless personality), what they’ve achieved (the enormous recognition for their lifelong effort and talents), and the fact that they’ve literally been blessed by the Gods with character, looks, the people they’ve met, and generally, the events that have occurred in their lives. I guess fans of The Beatles, someone's uncle’s fascination with 1960’s baseball players, or artists studying their predecessors’ work feels the same way.
More often than not, celebrities argue that their reality couldn't be farther from exciting - probably because they're in it 24/7. Also, nobody cares about their possibly “bad sides of character”, if that even exists. Your head's floating in the clouds – you choose to see them as this sort of super-humans that make you believe that everything you set your mind to is possible. They make you understand why you're worthy. (Lady Gaga and Beyoncé, anyone?)
Consequently, the thought of meeting them in person seems mind boggling. Imagine what it would feel like meeting the Queen of England! You’d literally be meeting the British history in person. Your mind runs flashbacks of all these facts you’ve read about, and you weigh in that part of personal history you have zero knowledge of, and all of that together creates this energy about your idol based off what they’ve lived through – it’s the origin of the enigmatic charm of the person in question. You’re bound to spend forever thinking what they’re "really" like. I don't mean to say that they have this face they put up in front of their audience. It has to do with the actual feeling of their presence.
Surely, you’d be hit with a wave of emotions upon meeting them in real life. You’ve grown to respect them tremendously over the span of multiple years. That enormous dedication triggers an emotion of inferiority. Technically, if you bumped into them, you'd freeze and just let them go along - you'd be giving up your chance to talk to them since you respect their privacy more highly than your own selfishness. No wonder world famous newspapers publish celebrity-related articles entitled “What a great time to be alive” – their readers are united by this boundless state of gratitude for existing at a time when a genius is treading on the same planet.
Finally, "its" purpose is equivalent to its root – it's inspiration. The entire process of “stanning” is about you finding an unfaltering source of inspiration that won’t fail to get you through your day. Showbusiness was errected on the same basis anyhow. You nurture a devotion towards somebody who’s a public speaker and an activist – a teacher. So, you just take whatever story and advice they have to tell and you apply it to your own self-growth. And this process works in a similar fashion whenever you happen to admire someone that has remotely achieved anything of substance in their lives. Isn't that the way humanity has been moving forward anyway?