24 Oct - The Strange 'Dr Strange' London... event.

October 24th, 2016.

Marvel premieres are BIG. As in : hire out the atrium of a shopping centre for Captain America Winter Soldier, or Civil War, or The Avengers, or Avengers Age of Ultron. Or put it in Leicester Square like Thor2, Iron Man 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy.

Which is why when reports started appearing a few weeks back that the Doctor Strange premiere would be in Wesminster Abbey, the response was twofold. 1. That makes no sense. 2. The Movie is called 'Doctor Strange' so it makes kind of perfect sense.

But then this weekend disturbing reports started coming through. People expecting wristbands to be handed out early found security at Westminster Abbey had nothing to tell them about an event. And then at best Odeon Leicester Square had a 'fan screening'.

And then the big day arrived, and... nothing. Westminster Abbey would be an afterparty for Doctor Strange, and the fan screening *might* have the cast in attendance but there were no barriers, no carpet, and no wristbands.

We could all go home. Or..... if you're single like me (and this is more of a cry for help than anything I'm proud of).... you can wait and see what happens.

Here's how it (improbably) went down:

Let's recap. You're Disney. You're richer than many countries, you own Marvel, you own Star Wars, you own Pixar, and you're DISNEY. You've booked out Westminster Abbey (?) for your London Launch afterparty. But do you have even one person who remembers to go onto the Doctor Strange movie website, right-click the Dr Strange Desktop Theme, and put it onto the giant outdoor screen where your fan gala screening is? You do not. Are you gonna fire somone?

Let's recap. You're Disney. You're richer than many countries, you own Marvel, you own Star Wars, you own Pixar, and you're DISNEY. You've booked out Westminster Abbey (?) for your London Launch afterparty. But do you have even one person who remembers to go onto the Doctor Strange movie website, right-click the Dr Strange Desktop Theme, and put it onto the giant outdoor screen where your fan gala screening is? You do not. Are you gonna fire somone?

"This cosplay is frikkin AWESOME... do I look like I give a crap about peoples' eyeballs or whether I'm blocking this screen?" somebody from the queue of people going in to see the film. (and perhaps see the stars present it...?)

"This cosplay is frikkin AWESOME... do I look like I give a crap about peoples' eyeballs or whether I'm blocking this screen?" somebody from the queue of people going in to see the film. (and perhaps see the stars present it...?)

A ring of fans circles the front entrance of the Odeon, and I might have uttered the words 'if the stars don't come out onto the balcony once they're here, they're D!CKS'. However, by the time the stars arrive the security people have done too good a job and the crowd has dispersed because with no barriers and no carpet... what kind of event could this even be?

A ring of fans circles the front entrance of the Odeon, and I might have uttered the words 'if the stars don't come out onto the balcony once they're here, they're D!CKS'. However, by the time the stars arrive the security people have done too good a job and the crowd has dispersed because with no barriers and no carpet... what kind of event could this even be?

A few hours later....

"Of course he's aware that he's come dressed as Iron Man to a Doctor Strange event,, but you have no idea how long it took me to talk him down from coming as Batman..."

"Of course he's aware that he's come dressed as Iron Man to a Doctor Strange event,, but you have no idea how long it took me to talk him down from coming as Batman..."

Yes, this is the crowd for a Marvel Premiere in the latter half of 2016. It seems a while since I was coming in on weekends for a wristband and taking a day off work for the Captain America Civil War premiere....

Yes, this is the crowd for a Marvel Premiere in the latter half of 2016. It seems a while since I was coming in on weekends for a wristband and taking a day off work for the Captain America Civil War premiere....

Eventually it (whatever "it" is) starts, and the almost impossibly pretty Rachel McAdams slides to the posing area, past a fridge from an ice cream company which the organisers clearly didn't wish to have promoted. But because I like them only slightly less than Rachel McAdams but a hell of a lot more than frikkin' MARVEL right now, I'll reveal them to be Ben & Jerrys.

Eventually it (whatever "it" is) starts, and the almost impossibly pretty Rachel McAdams slides to the posing area, past a fridge from an ice cream company which the organisers clearly didn't wish to have promoted. But because I like them only slightly less than Rachel McAdams but a hell of a lot more than frikkin' MARVEL right now, I'll reveal them to be Ben & Jerrys.

"The curtain on the fridge somehow matches the dress! Who do we fire??" I've only photographed Rachel McAdams once before, at the premiere of Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes" back in 2009

"The curtain on the fridge somehow matches the dress! Who do we fire??"
I've only photographed Rachel McAdams once before, at the premiere of Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes" back in 2009

Benedict Wong and Mads Mikkelsen join Rachel McAdams, and the extent of my troubles become more evident : photographers' incidental flashes inside will better light my photos, but might cause all kinds of trouble with detail, movement and reflections.

Benedict Wong and Mads Mikkelsen join Rachel McAdams, and the extent of my troubles become more evident : photographers' incidental flashes inside will better light my photos, but might cause all kinds of trouble with detail, movement and reflections.

If any other media organisation publishes photos from this event with reflections coming off glass, they've faked it in photoshop, okay? Mine on the other hand, (and much like my encroaching baldness) are the real, thing. Oh, and also this is Mad Mikkelsen.

If any other media organisation publishes photos from this event with reflections coming off glass, they've faked it in photoshop, okay? Mine on the other hand, (and much like my encroaching baldness) are the real, thing. Oh, and also this is Mad Mikkelsen.

I forget this actor's name but I know he's the guy that makes the bet about terraforming in 'Prometheus' and says to Idris Elba 'with all due respect you're a shit pilot'. Oh, and the blurry guy in the background is Benedict Cumberbatch, who you might have heard of as he's the main actor in this film. (edited to add : Benedict Wong)

I forget this actor's name but I know he's the guy that makes the bet about terraforming in 'Prometheus' and says to Idris Elba 'with all due respect you're a shit pilot'. Oh, and the blurry guy in the background is Benedict Cumberbatch, who you might have heard of as he's the main actor in this film. (edited to add : Benedict Wong)

Uh. No... this isn't multiple reflections covering the face of the one person I need to make this journal a success : I swear Benedict Cumberbatch is doing this with his actual mind. Or it's the glass. Probably the glass.

Uh. No... this isn't multiple reflections covering the face of the one person I need to make this journal a success : I swear Benedict Cumberbatch is doing this with his actual mind.
Or it's the glass. Probably the glass.

So apparently there's this lens flare / reflection that's got a crush on Benedict Cumberbatch as great as the two Korean tourists behind me who just learned they're seeing Benedict Cumberbatch live and in the flesh.

So apparently there's this lens flare / reflection that's got a crush on Benedict Cumberbatch as great as the two Korean tourists behind me who just learned they're seeing Benedict Cumberbatch live and in the flesh.

"Mr Mikkelsen, if they're going to shoot you through anythin gother than glass or maybe underwater, I'd better touch this up a bit. Also,  you're kind of hot and maybe my fingers will brush against your hair just so-- "

"Mr Mikkelsen, if they're going to shoot you through anythin gother than glass or maybe underwater, I'd better touch this up a bit. Also,  you're kind of hot and maybe my fingers will brush against your hair just so-- "

Benedict Cumberbatch, possibly wondering what he can do to ensure he's seen by even less people at the next Dr Strange premiere? Fortunately, I've photographed him at such premieres as 'Black Mass', such events as last year's 'Baftas 2015', and such street filming as that for 'Sherlock : The Abominable Bride'

Benedict Cumberbatch, possibly wondering what he can do to ensure he's seen by even less people at the next Dr Strange premiere? Fortunately, I've photographed him at such premieres as 'Black Mass', such events as last year's 'Baftas 2015', and such street filming as that for 'Sherlock : The Abominable Bride'

"Tilda Swinton's coming. I'd better get REALLY serious...."

"Tilda Swinton's coming. I'd better get REALLY serious...."

"You know what i could really go for right now?" "Ice cream?" "How did you guess??" - Tilda Swinton has arrived, and not only do I think she's a phenomenal actress, but her hair is such an odd colour that it's actually *helping* the camera expose colour properly through the glass!

"You know what i could really go for right now?"
"Ice cream?"
"How did you guess??"
- Tilda Swinton has arrived, and not only do I think she's a phenomenal actress, but her hair is such an odd colour that it's actually *helping* the camera expose colour properly through the glass!

"Blurry, therefore 'Art'" I've always said .... albeit sometimes with a whimper when it's the first photos I've taken of Rachel McAdams since 2009.

"Blurry, therefore 'Art'" I've always said
.... albeit sometimes with a whimper when it's the first photos I've taken of Rachel McAdams since 2009.

A stray paparazzi flash allows a random group shot to turn out just right! (I'm sorry : right now I'm too busy trying to take photos to care even slghtly if the movie or the Marvel empire that rests upon it is any good)

A stray paparazzi flash allows a random group shot to turn out just right! (I'm sorry : right now I'm too busy trying to take photos to care even slghtly if the movie or the Marvel empire that rests upon it is any good)

More posing. I have to give the actors some props : they were so focussed that at this point I don't think any of them had even acknowledged some two dozen fans outside the Odeon Leicester Square glass doors peering in. Now THAT'S commitment!

More posing. I have to give the actors some props : they were so focussed that at this point I don't think any of them had even acknowledged some two dozen fans outside the Odeon Leicester Square glass doors peering in. Now THAT'S commitment!

Tilda Swinton is the second actor in the space of about a week to look at me with just one eye open (Ben Affleck at last week's premiere for 'The Accountant' was the other). Is thisa new trend I'm meant to be aware of that the kids are doing now?

Tilda Swinton is the second actor in the space of about a week to look at me with just one eye open (Ben Affleck at last week's premiere for 'The Accountant' was the other). Is thisa new trend I'm meant to be aware of that the kids are doing now?

I get the feeling I should have maybe made sure I took a non-blurry shot of the dude on the far-right as I think he might be in the movie. But.... you know... Rachel McAdams' elbow is a very nice elbow. (edited to add : that 'dude' is director Scott Derrickson)

I get the feeling I should have maybe made sure I took a non-blurry shot of the dude on the far-right as I think he might be in the movie. But.... you know... Rachel McAdams' elbow is a very nice elbow. (edited to add : that 'dude' is director Scott Derrickson)

No... but seriously. just to clarify and confirm:  these are the BEST shots I'm uploading (go on, you try shooting a backlit subject through glass while you yourself are backlit and crowded by koreans and a dude wearing a replica iron man suit) (spoiler : it's slightly less fun than it sounds)

No... but seriously. just to clarify and confirm:  these are the BEST shots I'm uploading (go on, you try shooting a backlit subject through glass while you yourself are backlit and crowded by koreans and a dude wearing a replica iron man suit) (spoiler : it's slightly less fun than it sounds)

Rachel McAdams pretty, and that other dude slightly less blurry (edited to reiterate : he's Scott Derrickson, the director)

Rachel McAdams pretty, and that other dude slightly less blurry
(edited to reiterate : he's Scott Derrickson, the director)

You'll have to forgive me, I just learned in the above comment that this is NOT director Scott Derrickson. But by now even I'm kind of craving a Ben & Jerry's Icecream.

You'll have to forgive me, I just learned in the above comment that this is NOT director Scott Derrickson. But by now even I'm kind of craving a Ben & Jerry's Icecream.

It's a lineup. Not sure who mugged me, but I know who I'd prefer to get mugged by. Alternatively : I'm still tyring to figure out (a) who that gold leaf at the bottom left belongs to, and (b) why somebody's carrying a gold leaf in ths photo

It's a lineup. Not sure who mugged me, but I know who I'd prefer to get mugged by.
Alternatively : I'm still tyring to figure out (a) who that gold leaf at the bottom left belongs to, and (b) why somebody's carrying a gold leaf in ths photo

Blurry therefore Silhoutte therefore twice the art... (no?)

Blurry therefore Silhoutte therefore twice the art... (no?)

"Sure I can sense the anguish of the fans outside, but with great power comes a great ability to put it aside and answer questions as important as the one you're asking me right now. So... how does it feel to be in a Marvel franchise? it feels great actually"

"Sure I can sense the anguish of the fans outside, but with great power comes a great ability to put it aside and answer questions as important as the one you're asking me right now. So... how does it feel to be in a Marvel franchise? it feels great actually"

"This light feels like being in front of a bar heater that could be both blinding me and roasting me, except this one's just blinding me. Much appreciated."

"This light feels like being in front of a bar heater that could be both blinding me and roasting me, except this one's just blinding me. Much appreciated."

Let's hear it for reflections, lens flares, bokeh, grain and autofocus.... and on the right of the shot, some reflections of a few of my peeps on the pavement outside! .... Dare I say it : we're the true heroes this evening (the fifty or sixty people waiting at the back entrance for the stars to leave and possibly sign autographs are ... not)

Let's hear it for reflections, lens flares, bokeh, grain and autofocus.... and on the right of the shot, some reflections of a few of my peeps on the pavement outside!
.... Dare I say it : we're the true heroes this evening (the fifty or sixty people waiting at the back entrance for the stars to leave and possibly sign autographs are ... not)

"The image behnd me is so convincing I'm afraid to move" Much as I don't really have any faith in marvel movies after the last four or five I've seen (Thor2 : Dull, Age of Ulton : Disappointing, Ant-Man : Average, Civil War : Same plot as Batman v Superman with slightly more likeable characters, plus cowardly)....  the poster campaign for this movie has been truly fantastic.

"The image behnd me is so convincing I'm afraid to move"
Much as I don't really have any faith in marvel movies after the last four or five I've seen (Thor2 : Dull, Age of Ulton : Disappointing, Ant-Man : Average, Civil War : Same plot as Batman v Superman with slightly more likeable characters, plus cowardly)....  the poster campaign for this movie has been truly fantastic.

"I'd have let you all in if I'd known you were out there. Honestly!" - Tilda Swinton is so great as an actress I'd 100% believe her, too.

"I'd have let you all in if I'd known you were out there. Honestly!" - Tilda Swinton is so great as an actress I'd 100% believe her, too.

"Bye guys. I'm walking towards you in order to leave. And if you think that's odd, just use it in an ironic comment in refernce to this movie's title". I shall continue to resist that.

"Bye guys. I'm walking towards you in order to leave. And if you think that's odd, just use it in an ironic comment in refernce to this movie's title". I shall continue to resist that.

"All the others have pretty much left and I hear there's an open bar at some cathedral shindig. Would you mind if I left?". No... I'm going to head on home and kill some brain cells myself.

"All the others have pretty much left and I hear there's an open bar at some cathedral shindig. Would you mind if I left?". No... I'm going to head on home and kill some brain cells myself.

A serial killer waves in my direction... and there goes any chance of me getting any sleep tonight.

A serial killer waves in my direction... and there goes any chance of me getting any sleep tonight.

On my way back to the station, here's what the back of the Odeon looked like. Good luck, people....

On my way back to the station, here's what the back of the Odeon looked like. Good luck, people....

So, that was... some kind of thing. I didn't like having to do this one, voluntary though it was.

It's kind of hard not to be a bit saddened by the fact that Marvel flew out all the main cast to London and given the choice between having a premiere where they might have been able to mingle with fans to promote the film, the elected to have this... this.... thing. I gues some accoutant back at Disney ran some numbers and worked out that it wasn't worth it, and having a big catered soiree afterparty in the opulence of Westminster Abbey would be nicer for all concerned. All the important people anyway.

Well... consider me duly put in my place.

Although if nothing else, this journal (and the archive of premieres that backs it) shows that I'm willing to do this not because I get paid, but because somehow unaccounably I love it anyway.

Feel free to hire me if you think the enthusiasm is transferable to paid work (and if you thnk I can do better when not shooting trhough glass.

And I guess it joins the rest of the marvel premieres in my archive: Thor1, Thor2, Iron Man3, Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Civil War, Ant-Man and Avengers 1 and Avengers 2.

Until next time!

PS. If you ever want to confirm I can photograph a premiere better than this in the future, feel free to follow me on twitter @berndt2_photo, or on facebook at premieresdotco.

PPS. Love you, Disney / Pixar / Marvel!