We started to get a sense of this after we arrived at our hotel and decided to go for a walk. The streets around the theater closed, bleachers went up and red carpets laid down. As we dressed for the event and looked out the window from our room, it was evident that the the activity in and around the theater had increased.
Still unsure of what lied ahead, my wife and I walked over to the theater and onto the red carpet, past the bleachers full of fans who I am sure were thinking, who are those two?
We noticed separate red carpet entrances for the actual stars, which clearly tells us this is a routine they’re all familiar with to maximize their celebrity and exposure to fans. While I’m sure stars have friends, the presence of certain celebrities add wattage to the event. The first one we see is Prince who I’m not even sure he stayed through the movie. We never saw him leave or attend the afterparty.
At the afterparty, mostly celebrities fill the grand ballroom. I’m a lot more comfortable chatting with guests in our restaurants than at an event like this.
At one of the bars, we strike up a conversation with Cuba Gooding Jr. I turn to my left and there’s George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and their entourage. Clooney is so sought after, a human security barrier surrounds him preventing even his Hollywood pals from getting close.
As we walked back to our assigned table, we run into Steven Soderbergh who remembers us from the L. Woods shoot.
“No one does premieres like this anymore,” he says, reminding me that’s he’s a very down-to-earth guy. “Only Jerry.”
Next to our table, we see Bruce Willis and his kids. We enjoy a nice meal, spot a few more actors. The star power was surreal for us, clearly a sign we are way out of our element.
We head home, knowing this certainly was no Chicago premiere. After the Hollywood premiere, I decided to do our own at L.Woods. We got a copy of the movie, rented a theatre, invited all the L. Woods staff to attend and treated them a screening, popcorn, candy and drinks. As cool as the Hollywood premiere was, hanging out with the staff and watching our restaurant in the movie was a lot more fun and rewarding.