(Photo Courtesy: Sarah Garrun, Channel 24)
I had the absolute honour of attending the premiere of ‘Olympus has Fallen’ in Johannesburg last night.(8 April)
The chain of events that got me there is most intriguing as I did not have plans to set foot near the premiere until two hours before the event, never mind not having tickets.
On Sunday evening after hearing about the Johannesburg Olympus has Fallen premiere and got myself into an absolute excited panic, I just had to go! I looked everywhere for tickets but to no avail. I began to feel so disappointed that I was going to miss out on such an incredible opportunity: My two favourite actors, Aaron Eckhart and Gerard Butler were here and there was no way for me to meet them. First thing Monday morning I called Ster-Kinekor and Nu-Metro and both said their events for the two A-Lister’s was sold out. I was quite miserable and kept consoling myself with the fact that there would be other opportunities in the future.
About three hours before the event, I had been informed that there would be a low-key Red Carpet event for fans at the Black-Tie affair on that Monday evening. It had not been overtly advertised as Tuesday night’s event was a planned for fans. In an absolute huff, I decided I was going to go, even to just catch a glimpse of the boys would be worth it. I took my notepad and pen for autographs and headed out the door unsure of what to expect. Nothing would prepare me for what was to come. By 4pm
At the event
At 5:30 I went to find a comfy spot at the front of the red carpet area so that I would hopefully be guaranteed a set spot to see them. Although the event had not been advertised too much, I was worried hundreds of fans would arrive and swamp the area. While standing there, I met three other die-hard fans and together we began chatting and became acquainted with each other.
I explained that I’d been a huge fan of Aaron Eckhart’s ever since I’d seen him in the film ‘Possession’ with Gwyneth Paltrow at age eleven. (You can all figure out how old I am now!) As I grew older, I felt as if his movie career was growing with me. I sincerely enjoyed his method of acting, whether it be as an action hero in ‘The Core’ or ‘Battle Los Angeles’, a romantic in ‘No Reservation‘ and ‘Love Happens‘, a grieving parent in Rabbit Hole or Harvey Dent in ‘The Dark Knight’, his films were an integral part of my growing up. The same can be said for Gerard Butler. As a teenager, I was quite smitten with the man’s good looks and charm. His musical talents shone brightly in The Phantom of The Opera which was the first film of his that truly caught my eye. I’d seen him in ‘Tomb Raider’ and had enjoyed his performance in ‘Timeline’ but it was ‘Phantom…’ that I’d loved the most. I cried like a baby when his character Gerry died in P.S. I love you and laughed hard during his comedies, ‘The Ugly Truth’ and ‘The Bounty Hunter’. His action films such as Law Abiding Citizen and Gamer always kept me on the edge of my seat. So meet these incredible actors would definitely be a big tick on my Bucket List.
By this time it was 6:15pm, guests were arriving and things were getting busy. Out of the blue, a very formal looking man from Nigeria introduced himself to us. He explained that he had three extra tickets as his guests were unable to join him and asked if we would like to come instead. I explained that I had no money to pay him for the tickets and his response was “Well dear, it’s your lucky day, you can have the tickets for free. There would be no point in wasting them.”
I cautiously agreed to take them, nervous as South Africa is not the safest place in the world and I had heard some strange stories about taking “free gifts.” However the man truly seemed legit and I thanked him deeply, received my armband and ticket and was in absolute shock. I was actually going to a Premiere, a real movie premiere with lots of celebrities, while wearing dark Denim and a black collared shirt (hardly black-tie in my books). Moreover I realized that I had a real chance to meet my acting heroes. I was beyond excited!
7:15pm came along and I heard that the boys had finally arrived, most guests went upstairs but I decided to wait for the guys downstairs and greet them on the Red Carpet. I looked down as I moved down the escalator and spotted the boys coming down, kindly meeting and greeting all the fans. I made my way to a nice spot on the edge of the carpet and waited excitedly. The first to come down was Aaron. My heart literally skipped a beat, he was meeting fans, talking and just being himself. Finally he came to me, large smile and had hand out. He was the sweetest person, he is literally one of the nicest guys in the world. We chatted and I had some photo’s, got a few hugs and a kiss on my cheek. (Yes!!! Dream come true!) He asked my name and I told him ‘Ilanit.” He asked about it as he had never heard of it before and I told him I was Jewish and he said “Oh wow, it’s hebrew?” He then proceeded to tell me that it’s the most beautiful name he has ever heard and that if he ever has a daughter he’s going to name her after me. (I nearly fainted at that point.) I thanked him and told him how honoured I am and he then replied that “the honour is all mine sweetheart” proceeding to put his arm around me. (Ahhhh!!)
He then signed an autograph for me; I’d told him I loved his portrayal of Harvey Dent and low and behold he drew a “Two-Face” picture for me that also spelled out “ya” – proceeding to write my name and draw a large heart next to the “Two-Face” figure with his signature underneath. (Ilanit, Love ya, Aaron Eckhart) He said that we’d chat later and made his way upstairs.
Then came Gerrard, a tall, rugged and well-built figure. His scottish accent and an unruly smile on the tip of his lips. He came over and I said, “Gerry! Gerry!” in my best attempt at a Scottish accent, he laughed and said “Nice try darling!” We spoke briefly and I told him that his Twitter posts always make me laugh, he asked if I’d seen the new one of his “Crazy busy, no time to shave” and his “kid weights.” I had seen both and told him that’s exactly why they’re hilarious. We then had a picture, my camera started acting out and in a very humorous way Gerry went on a mild swearing trip. We then had picture together with all my friends and Gerry on his own phone. It was very exciting! He is most certainly a BFG – (Big Friendly Giant) of the most gentlest kind.
Finally we all went up, I shouted for him to “Say something in Scottish Gerry…!” while having photo’s in the press area, his response was a pout and he then pulled a most hilarious face at me. In-between photo’s he said to me in his most heavy Scottish accent, “How ’bout NO Lass.” We both just laughed (Freek-out, I shared a moment with Gerry Butler!) and after his walk on the press carpet we had a “Blue-Steel” photo together.
Then, the boys then went off for the pre-film screening interview with Anele. I got a big wave and an “I know you!” as Aaron Eckhart made his way towards the stage. Anele’s interview was fantastic. She asked many a few questions that received answers which had the crowd in stitches of laughter. The best two parts of the interview – when Gerry did his famous line from 300, “This is Spaaarrttaaa!” and when Anele asked Aaron what his best part of South Africa is and he responded “The Smell!” meaning that “Africa has the most invigorating and unique smell. It’s just this precious smell. The minute you get off the plane and you open the door you know that you’re in Africa.”
The Film: Olympus has Fallen
The interview ended and we all went toward our delegated Cinema’s. I went in and there were complementary popcorn’s and drinks for all patrons. I was excited to have a snack seeing as in all the hype I hadn’t eaten a thing since 1:00pm. I looked forward to the movie, in the trailer it looked absolutely thrilling. I wasn’t disappointed. Throughout the entire film I was literally on the edge of my seat, Aaron played a very brave and very noble U.S. President and Gerry a very strong willed, big muscled “knight in shining armour” (figuratively) It was a clever and most plausible plot line (albeit ‘mildly’ violent – but that was to be expected) that had a fair few pithy lines that had the audience chuckling here and there. It was filed with action and even a tiny drop of romance. I must say, I was most impressed. I also found it quite ironic that the movie was due out now during a time when there are issues and instabilities taking place in the Korean region and the movie itself (SPOILER ALERT!) deals with the attack of N. Korean’s on the the White-house after US intervention in the region. The movie was filmed months before the current issues erupted and Gerard Butler himself said that “it just shows how life can imitate art.”
Overall, I had a most wondrous experience along with many of South Africa’s top celebrities. A few who I had the honour of meeting after the film. It was a fantastic evening that was just pure, clean fun. A huge thank you must go out to ALL those involved in putting this event together especially to Ettiene and the entire Crystal Brook Distribution team for bringing Aaron and Gerard out – without you this would not have been possible. A massive well done to Ster-Kinekor and The Zone at Rosebank for brilliant organization and for getting together such a stunning event overall!
Thank you again to my amazing Nigerian friend who sponsored my ticket and allowing me to enjoy this amazing event.
Olympus has Fallen will be out in cinemas nationwide on 12 April 2013.