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Emma writes: My apologies for the delayed report going Edinburgh straight to Toronto, home for a week, then Hooligans premiere (Im throwing a line party) followed the next day by leaving for Toronto Film Festival Im a bit strapped for time!
Anyway, I had always planned to go to London for the Green Street premiere, but when we heard that it was, in fact, going to premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival, I figured Id just have to forget going. But with the help of a last-minute airfare drop (from preposterous down to merely ridiculous) and the assistance of some friends with a room and travel plans, I was able to go.
I arrived in time to see the second showing of Billy Boyds On a Clear Day with a few other fellow travelers who were there early (others came in later that night or the next day). After the movie, we were lucky enough to be able to still get tickets to a talk with the writer, Alex Rose. It was fascinating to hear about getting a book from paper to screen, and overall, Mr. Roses experience was generally a very positive one since he and the director (Gaby Dellal) had very much the same vision for the movie. He did mention that Billy was very funny and quite good at ad libbing, and originally quite a bit of what Billy added was used in the movie. But when they picked up a distributor after Sundance, it was felt like there was a little TOO much humour, and it changed the balance of the movie. So the version we saw in Edinburgh (and which everyone else will see), has some of the humour (and in particular, some of Billy) excised. Not to worry, though Billy still plays a huge role in the film. I heartily recommend the movie it was so much better than I expected, and very engaging.
The majority of the group I was with we called ourselves the Edinburgh Hooligans, and were 25 women from 10 different countries who met via LiveJournal decided to meet outside the cinema at noon for the premiere of Green Street.R21; 3 of the ladies who only arrived that morning decided to forego checking in to their hostel and instead went straight to the cinema so we had a presence there from 9AM onwards, with the majority arriving at noon, and a few stragglers later in the day. We spent the day getting acquainted, listening to One Blood (Terence Jay single from the movie, available on ITunes), and the latest Gogol Bordello album (some of which will be on the Everything is Illuminated soundtrack). I had some t-shirts made from the promo poster/postcard for the movie in the US, and also made some laminated badges with the same image, and the location and date. Another of the group designed a button, and we had a supply of those as well which would prove very popular, well beyond our group!
A couple of hours before the movie, after we had been standing there all day, they finally began setting up the area and advised us that we had to stand on the other side of the street! Much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth ensured, and eventually, the Powers That Be told us that, indeed, the early arriving fans are normally allowed to stand against the actual barriers so, those of us whod been there all day took our proper places, hurrah! I will say that the actual film festival staff couldnt have been nicer there were a few security people (not with the festival itself) who seemed ill-informed and occasionally a bit brusque, but the people who mostly worked with us were unfailingly helpful and polite. And most of them went home with our Stand Your Ground buttons!
About a half hour before showtime, Lexi Alexander showed up, followed by Leo Gregory, Elijah Wood, and Charlie Hunnam, in rapid succession. (There was one other actor I think it was Christopher Hehir there, but I somehow missed his arrival.) I had met Lexi at the Tribeca Film Festival, and she remembered me which made it really easy to talk to her this time, and to have a better chance at the others. Everyone was very nice and signed for as many as they could get to, at least on our side of the barriers Elijah also crossed the street and signed for those who hadnt been there early enough to get to the actual barricades. And of course, he happily stopped for several minutes to sign and chat with a group of women in wheelchairs.
Although Edinburgh has now strictly banned camera phones and cameras from the theatre during the screening, they have a procedure whereby all such items are claimchecked, then brought back into the theatre immediately following the movie so that you can have them for use during the question-and-answer period. Thanks to that, I do have a few photos from the Q&A as well. It was only lit by houselights, so the quality of the photos isnt quite up to snuff.
Everyone had quite a lot to say and the Q&A was lively; a lot of questions centered on how the film was being received in various quarters USA vs. UK, by the firms themselves, by West Ham United, and so on. Having seen the film first in the US, I did notice that the British audience did tend to focus on a few different aspects than we had over here, but while I had been worried that they would be turned off by the way the film was pitched at the US market (Matt Buckner serves as our introduction into the world, and things are explained to him so that they are also explained to us), it didnt seem to bother them much. They seemed also willing to overlook (to an extent) that all the accents werent quite accurate, because the dialogue itself seemed to ring true to them.
It was interesting to find out that Charlie Hunnam, who plays Pete (the head of the GSE firm), had no background in football at all he hadnt been a fan as a child, despite coming from Newcastle (a hotbed of football fans). Leo Gregory, on the other hand, obviously supported a London team other than West Ham, but he wasnt saying which. Lexi herself had a brother who was in a firm in her native Manheim (Germany), and she was somewhat of an affiliated member of it for a time (they didnt allow her to actually fight, since fighting either with or against a girl was felt to be demeaning). Elijah talked a little about how this level of passion for a sport is beyond anything hed seen in the US.
After the Q&A was over, Lexi stopped by our group again to thank us all for coming and supporting the movie, and posed for a photo with us.
Then, it was time for bed for some, and for the pub for the rest of us. Little did we know that we were only a few bars away from where the director and cast were celebrating a successful premier oh, well! Then it was off for some to the London screening (the following day) or home, and the rest of us stayed on to see the movie again the following evening, minus the celebrities.