Last year, I attended the premiere of a movie franchise I knew nothing about, Breaking Dawn, the first of the final two movies of the Twilight series.
It was entertaining, sort of bizarre, and a true spectacle to see the thousands of people camped out in downtown LA, shrieking and sobbing as they watched Robert Pattinson and Kristin Stewart pout and grope each other in love scenes right out of a teenage novel written for grown adults. The whole thing was a sociological wonder to me and I didn’t feel judgmental about it so much as amused and fascinated.
So I went again this year to the final installment, Breaking Dawn 2. It was a lot like last year to be honest, but I knew better what to expect. Fancy Assistant Brandon came with me, wearing suspenders and a tie with his standard-issue Converse. (Sort of love him.)
Here are the highlights, starting with some bumps in the road, lest you think red–er, black (think vampire)–carpet premieres are all fun and games.
1. My dress (which was vintage) was great to stand up in and fit me well, but it was excruciating to sit in. My rib cage literally feels bruised today. My 4 1/2 inch heels held up well and only after the movie ended and the mad rush to leave the theater began did I take them off and run with them in my hand to exit the building and find our car. (See a shot of me on the black carpet here.)
2. Police State! The NOKIA Theater security was in fine form last night, confiscating cell phones, patrolling the aisles for “rogue” cell phones, and yes: physically stopping me from going with Fancy Assistant Brandon to retrieve our phones, rather than stand alone in a lobby full of thousands of people. (I was “woman-handled,” I suppose you could say and I didn’t like it one bit.) I don’t much like feeling like I’m living in a police state, so just to be clear about how I feel about it: NOKIA security needs to simmer down now. Or go work for TSA, another security organization that likes to harass and grapple my body and be gruff and grumpy and mean and act like I’m some threat to the world before I even do anything. Who’s grumpy now? (Me.)
3. Jaleel White! Jaleel and I went to UCLA together and obviously are former child stars who are sort of normal, so we bonded after not having seen each other since UCLA. We were seated on the same aisle, and had some really good laughs together. He’s a seriously funny sweet guy.
4. Weird Al Yankovic! There are not many people I cry over, but apparently Weird Al is one of them because when I saw him, I started to cry. Before the movie started, he was making his way up the aisle and I surprised myself more than I did Fancy Assistant Brandon. I stood up on my 4 1/2 inch heels and shook Weird Al’s hand and gushed that I just “had to say hello.” I was struck mute after that and tried to imagine telling him how I have memorized entire albums of his, and how “Dare To Be Stupid” formed my youth and how much he means to me (which I knew would sound weird to say out loud). The woman he was with I think recognized me and was really sweet, but I didn’t want to be a creepy weird fan (which clearly I am anyway) so I told him, “That’s all. Enjoy the movie.” I’m so weird.
5. My manager! She was there with another client but we hung out together before the movie started (which was about three hours after we got seated in the theater–yes, three hours waiting in the theater while the main stars walked the carpet; that’s a long time). My manager and I knew each other in high school. She had moved to LA and we met at the gym and became friends and had some great times together. Then we lost touch and I heard she got into the industry, but it wasn’t until I was pregnant with my second son that we reconnected and she asked if I wanted to be her client. It’s super fun to have someone as your advocate in this business who is also an old friend. I still feel kind of intimidated by her, because she’s a fancy business person, but we had fun hanging out and catching up and I felt so grateful to have a manager who was first my friend.
6. Make-A-Wish! After walking the seemingly miles-long “black carpet,” I could barely stand or smile anymore and was so ready to go inside the theater and sit and eat popcorn. As I made the final turn off the carpet, I saw a woman call my name and say, “Do you have a minute Ms. Bialik to come say hi to our Make-A-Wish friend Ethan?” The woman wore a blue button designating herself as part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, providing once in a lifetime experiences to children with terminal illnesses. I hobbled over on my heels and kneeled down to Ethan, a sweet teenage boy in a wheelchair. He was very shocked to see me and smiled so big. His mom looked like she was going to cry, and I said, “Ethan, you’ve got the best seat in the house!” because he literally had a view of the entire carpet and event. Ethan is from Maine and I signed his autograph book and took a picture with him and tried not to cry. I walked away and felt like going home; here I am in fancy hair and makeup and a dress and heels talking about a vampire werewolf movie, and here is Ethan and his mom from Maine wanting to be a part of this as a wish for him.
7. Insight! I am always scared by large events, and scared by crowds, and scared by and about all of the half-naked starlets who are 40 pounds lighter than me, and scared by security (rightfully so). Last night, seeing Ethan reminded me it’s okay to be scared, and it’s also okay to suit up and show up anyway because you may find something beautiful waiting for you at the end of the carpet experience. We only get one life. I’m trying to make the most of mine and Ethan was a breath of fresh air in a night that could easily have bruised not just my rib cage but my ego and maybe even my spirit, too.
Ethan, I hope your wish was fulfilled Monday night for a star-studded front row seat to the Twilight finale. I hope you got to meet fun people and see fun things and I hope you see how crazy and silly and also fantastic this machine we call show business is.
But really, I’m just glad you were a part of my night.
For more from the red carpet, read Mayim’s recap of her first Twilight premiere experience, her trip to the SAG Awards, and her night among the Emmy-nominated stars.