Sunday, April 19. A date that will go down in my personal history to mark the occasion that I attended my first big movie premiere. And this premiere wasn’t for just any old local thing – no, it was for the biggest movie of the year, Avengers: Age of Ultron. When I got the news, I jumped out of my skin in excitement. Not only would I be seeing the film two whole weeks before American audiences, I’d also have the opportunity to cover the red carpet arrivals and interview the celebrity guests.
Now, Australia doesn’t get a whole lot of love when it comes to international press tours, but stars do travel here to promote their movies. Occasionally we hit the jackpot and get to play host to a massive world premiere, like 2009’s Star Trek, but more realistically, some films get a smaller-scale premiere with a couple of cast members doing promo and a bunch of local famous faces making up the bulk of the special guests. The likelihood of a star-studded red carpet rises dramatically if one of the film’s leads happens to be Australian themselves – for example, Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe both attended the Sydney premiere of Les Miserables.
So, in my anticipation, I started to think. Did you guys know that Chris Hemsworth is Australian? And not only is he Australian, he’s the kind of Australian celebrity who actually lives here with his family? That kind of knowledge can get a girl’s hopes up – surely such a loyal Aussie would make an effort to attend his hometown premiere. What a fantastic surprise, for Chris Hemsworth to show up and take the Sydney audience, who remember when he was just little Kim Hyde from Summer Bay, by storm. He wasn’t on the guest list, but those things are more like guidelines anyway, and okay, the Sydney premiere was slap-bang in the middle of the press tour somewhere in between the much more high profile Los Angeles and London dates, but it’s still doable, right? He’ll make it work. For Australia. For me.
The day arrived, I claimed my spot in the press pit, feeling very professional. I waited and watched as faces appeared. None of them were Chris Hemsworth. No Hemsworths at all. No Liam, no Luke, no proud Hemsworth parents. Nothing. Nothing! So much for local pride. What the premiere did have, however, was a large range of interactive Avengers activities for fans and attendees to take part in while entering the theater. In an attempt to pull myself out of my self-made Chrisless rut, I sampled all of them.
Just in case anyone passing by didn’t get the message of what was going down at the cinema that day, guarding the entrance to the complex was an imposing 10ft statue of Iron Man’s bulked-up new Hulkbuster suit. Getting to stand next to it and seeing it among the buildings really put the size of the armor – and, by association, the Hulk himself and the damage this pair will cause together in Avengers: Age of Ultron – into perspective. The red carpet also featured a custom ‘Stark’ Audi which would fit in perfectly in Tony’s garage. These items were very shiny, but you know what would have been shinier? A Hemsworth.
Wrestling with the Big Guy
Continuing on with the Hulkbuster theme – Marvel clearly wants people to get excited about that Science Bros battle – the first interactive exhibit I tried out was an arm-wrestling game between the Hulk and the Hulkbuster suit. I jumped up and put my hand in the detached Hulk arm, I found a challenger to put her hand in the detached Hulkbuster arm, and we went for it. I gave it my all, but the Hulkbuster was declared the winner. Hulk, aka me, demanded a rematch, but I lost a second time… a bit of a hint for what to expect in the movie, maybe?
Are you worthy?
As I explored the red carpet, I came across a street scene set-up where Thor’s hammer Mjolnir had crashed down and ruined a stretch of sidewalk and was unable to be cleared away. I got to take my turn at trying to budge it, but alas, I could not. Another failed attempt at brute strength and not a judgement on my personality… nah, let’s face it, I’m just not worthy. There’s a few new potential rulers of Asgard out there though – every once in a while, Mjolnir deemed someone worthy and was lifted aloft by a premiere guest, with much rejoicing. And mead. Well, okay, maybe not mead.
The inferior Iron Man
This motion capture experience was actually way cooler and more immersive than I expected it to be, especially for someone like me who doesn’t even understand Wii Tennis. I stepped up and the exhibit took my measurements, projected me onto a big screen and built my own digital Iron Man suit onto me! I had to dance in public in front of people to test the suit’s movement capabilities, which was horrible, but then I got to blast targets with my Iron Man hands and also fly around the room. I’ve learnt that I should never become Iron Man, because I have very bad aim and hit my digital head on all of Tony Stark’s ceilings.
Stepping into Steve’s shoes
Not the most interactive of experiences, but the one that I was looking forward to the most as soon as I spotted it. Captain America is my favorite Avenger, so it was somewhat of an honor to get to have a go with the tools of his trade – his signature motorcycle and of course, the shield. The bike’s attendants were very excited by my Comic-Con exclusive Cap hoodie, and I definitely spent the longest time at this exhibit, just nerding out over the shield, holding it in different ways, trying to figure out if I could sneak it into my handbag, you know, the usual…
He’s here! Sort of…
Tragically, as I may have already mentioned, Chris Hemsworth was not able to make it to the Sydney premiere, so they sent his life-size wax double for fans to have a photo op with. Australia is ridiculously proud of the fact that we have our very own Avenger, but can we all, as a society, collectively agree that the whole Madame Tussauds thing is weird? It’s an art form, to be sure, but it’s still weird. The fact that this statue is the character of Thor made it slightly less alarming than the ones meant to represent the real human beings (not pictured here: evidence of the time I paid money to ‘meet’ Madame Tussauds One Direction) so I got a few pictures – though he was way too tall to snap a selfie with!
After experiencing all the Marvel games and props provided, I headed back to the red carpet to cover the arrivals of the sadly Hemsworth-free local celebrities. I spoke with veteran Aussie actor John Waters, who brought along his two young sons, and one of Australia’s favorite TV hosts Osher Gunsberg, a serious fan, who was more than happy to chat in depth about comic book canon. Ed Oxenbould, the young star of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, was most excited to see the new characters Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, and visiting Brit Gary Beadle from Geordie Shore claimed that David Beckham or Russell Brand would epitomize the ideal British superhero.
Finally, it was time to head into the cinema, hand over my phone to security, put on my Hulk-eyebrows 3D glasses, and join the audience for one of the world’s first screenings of Avengers: Age of Ultron…
‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ giveaway:
I might not have been able to grab a selfie with a Hemsworth – real or otherwise – but I did manage to score a couple of these amazing Avengers: Age of Ultron poster print T-shirts! These stylized stencil graphic tees are exclusive promotional swag and Hypable have a few to give away to our readers. Enter the draw below for a chance to own one of these shirts – this contest is open worldwide.
‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ is in cinemas now
Images by Leonie Bunch