From an Armitage ambassador: “He’s smiling at you.”
Below, a report from Anna, one of the red carpet attendees in Wellington, of her experiences that evening:
I am one of a group of 7 who traveled to Wellington from around the world to attend the Wellington premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Most of us had never met in person before, but knew each other from various online sources — some of us tweet, others are AA or C19 forum participants. At our core were two ladies who are friends in real life, who organized tireless, and, in my case, encouraged me to come out of my shell a little.
I never expected to be someone who, in the prime of my life, would stand with friends alongside a red carpet. But I never realized how much fun it would be.
Nor had I appreciated all the consequences of wearing a t-shirt which had this picture on it.
Thanks to Tanni, who runs a Russian Richard Armitage fan website, and who made this design for us.
When one is one of seven wearing this shirt, walking to and then waiting for the red carpet to begin, one suddenly realizes that one’s representing Richard. We had declared publicly our allegiance and admiration for the man. This was a bit shocking to me, as someone who never usually wears clothing, bags, or other materials with prominent branding. But I took a big breath, told myself I could do it, and began chatting to all the people we met that day about Richard.
Of course, the ones we talked with most were those waiting beside us. Behind us stood a group of university students who thought attending the premiere would be a fun thing to do that day. By the time the stars of the movie approached, they had offered to take pictures for us using one of our cameras. Another lovely couple of women offered to take two of our copies of The Hobbit and stand next to us at the barricade, as some of us wanted to try to get autographs for others unable to attend. Needless to say, everyone around us knew a lot more about Richard Armitage by the end of the day!
Then the celebrities began to arrive. We were along the second half of the carpet and it took some time for them to arrive near us, but we could see the interviews happening on big screens.
Soon actors playing dwarves approached. I think we missed talking to only one dwarf who attended that day – all the others spotted our t-shirt or sign, or when we called out, were happy to come over. I didn’t realize it at the time, but in retrospect, I think some of them may have come over because they could see we were Richard’s fans. At least three of them volunteered comments complimenting Richard’s performance in the film. Some of us had attended the TORn party a couple of days before and had been able to talk to some of the dwarves there, and see William Kircher’s and Jed Brophy’s bands play, so it was lovely to be able to talk with them about the party.
Then we spotted Richard, who was talking to media diagonally opposite us. He was accompanied by a PR lady (who we believe was Ruth Bernstein) and a security guy. Ruth spotted us first — I think it is her job to scan ahead on the red carpet and make sure Richard is interviewed by the more important media. To our surprise, she turned to Richard and pointed us out to him. He turned and spotted us …
… and came over. At this point, I realized, we were no longer Richard ambassadors, we were Armitage Army/fan/ardent admirer ambassadors.
He chatted and joked with us, but to me the actual words exchanged were relatively inconsequential. What mattered was that although we all know he is not a red carpet natural and is not naturally extroverted, he was happy to see us there and engaged with us. And by us, I mean all of us, anyone who reads this blog.
Take another look at the smile above — he’s smiling at you.
A Team Thorin member
28 November 2012