When the invitation popped up in my inbox, I shrugged a little and thought, “That sounds like fun.”
And then I read to the end and just about fell over.
I was invited to an event at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, for a press day with the craftspeople who worked on the new film “Darkest Hour.”
By “craftspeople,” I mean the Director of Photography, the Editor, the Sound Editor, the Costume Designer, and the Production Designer and Set Decorator.
Which sounded interesting. Mostly because I LOVE “Darkest Hour” and want to talk to anyone and everyone I can about what a great film it is.
But I kept reading through the invitation to the end and discovered that those interviews were only the first part of the day. The rest of it consisted of a panel with the above mentioned folks, as well as two of the film’s stars: Gary Oldman and Ben Menelsohn. And also Randolph Churchill, the great grandson of Winston Churchill.
Let me just pause for a second to explain that Gary Oldman plays Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour.” And he is amazing. The film is about the first three weeks or so of Churchill’s administration as Prime Minister, which coincided with the World War II battle at Dunkirk. In fact, “Dunkirk” is a perfect companion film to this one, which is totally by chance because the two weren’t even produced by the same studio.
Anyways, I responded to the invitation immediately because duh. And when I got my confirmation, I just kept asking myself, “How is this my life?”
It’s funny because I talk to a lot of press people who interview a lot of big name stars and so many of them tend to just have this, “Been there, done that,” attitude. But this is still pretty new to me. And while I’m doing my best not to be awkward fan girl–
(except for that time I talked to Sterling K. Brown and he kissed my face)
–but I still don’t want to ever get to the point where I’m just like, “Oh, yeah, whatever,” about talking to famous people. Because that attitude is annoying and kind of elitist to people who don’t get those opportunities.
So I got to do this amazing thing and I’m still super excited about it and I don’t care if it’s not cool to admit that.
And that is how, last Saturday, I ended up on the deck of the Queen Mary in Long Beach. It’s this historic ocean liner that used to sail transatlantic trips, particularly back during WW2. In fact, Winston Churchill was a passenger on at least three separate occasions.
I interviewed six people in the early part of the afternoon, but in five sessions. One of the interviews was with two people. Everyone was so nice and, of course, really excited to chat about the film. They were altogether some of the most fun interviews I’ve conducted up to this point. Of course, it helps that I loved their work so much.
The interviews completed, I ended up connecting with two other journalists and the three of us set off to check out the Queen Mary’s new exhibit, “The Finest Hours.” It’s all about Winston Churchill and World War 2, and the Queen Mary’s role in the war. It’s a cool exhibit.
Check it out:
After checking out the exhibit, we ran upstairs for the panel. Which was fun, but kind of weird because most of it was with the craftspeople I had just interviewed, and a lot of the things they talked about were things I had just talked to them about. But it was a fun setting and pretty laid back. And then they brought out Gary Oldman and Ben Mendelsohn and Randolph Churchill, and it was super cool.
And then we went up to the Sun Deck for the reception. I kind of split up from my new friends for a bit and found Gary Oldman. And waited patiently for a chance to talk to him. I think I freaked out his security guy a bit because the guy kept watching me like he was waiting for trouble. I finally told him, “I swear I’m not going to do anything.” After that, he did his best to make it look less obvious that he was keeping an eye on me.
Another journalist I’d been chatting with came over and God bless her. She didn’t even really wait for an opportunity to meet Gary. She just took it. As he was about to turn to talk to someone, she stuck out her hand and said hello. And because I was standing next to her, he saw me and said hello, too. And I said some things that I think weren’t totally ridiculous, and then I asked if I could take a picture.
He said, “Of course! They’re trying to get me to go give a tour, but I can spare a minute!” And then we snapped a picture and I died.
Sirius Black. Commissioner Gordon. Dracula.
Yup. That happened. And it was great.
I could get used to this.