13 Oct 2019 - The BFI LFF 'The Irishman' Closing Gala

October 13th, 2019.

It’s been a long 12 days of London Film Festival. By my count I’ve done 18 events, and I’m not going to lie, what with lack of sleep and rain and work and crowds and pens and wristbands and everything else…. I’m glad it’s over. But before I finally start thinking about getting a good night’s sleep… once more unto the breach, I say.

Here’s how it went down:

Incredibly, despite having wristband #112 I ended up in row one in the pen closest to the stage. It was opened late-ish, and the opportunity to shift pens presented itself. And much as I’d done at the premeire of Knives Out, I had an 18x12 photo of the director (then, Rian Johnson; this time Martin Scorsese) which I’d left in the office, convinced I had zero chance at the time of getting it signed.

Incredibly, despite having wristband #112 I ended up in row one in the pen closest to the stage. It was opened late-ish, and the opportunity to shift pens presented itself. And much as I’d done at the premeire of Knives Out, I had an 18x12 photo of the director (then, Rian Johnson; this time Martin Scorsese) which I’d left in the office, convinced I had zero chance at the time of getting it signed.

“It’s a suspicious pair of masking tapes. Look at them! Look at what they’re doing! Right there on the red carpet!”.  Bag searches at this one were particularly thorough, as were the actions of sniffer dogs and metal detectors. I had four cameras on me… which is weird more than suspicious.

“It’s a suspicious pair of masking tapes. Look at them! Look at what they’re doing! Right there on the red carpet!”. Bag searches at this one were particularly thorough, as were the actions of sniffer dogs and metal detectors. I had four cameras on me… which is weird more than suspicious.

Without in any way passing judgement, I would say this was the premiere with the “oldest average thing to get signed” measurement of any recent premiere : Scorcese, De Niro and Pacino’s work dates back to the 1970s and 80s, and the number of Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Scarface, etc items was remarkable. I think the average age of ANYTHING at a Timothee Chalamet premiere is probably sub-3 years old!

Without in any way passing judgement, I would say this was the premiere with the “oldest average thing to get signed” measurement of any recent premiere : Scorcese, De Niro and Pacino’s work dates back to the 1970s and 80s, and the number of Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Scarface, etc items was remarkable. I think the average age of ANYTHING at a Timothee Chalamet premiere is probably sub-3 years old!

Yep. Those sure are striking posters.

Yep. Those sure are striking posters.

Our first “guest” is actually not an arrival but a departure : 5 time BAFTA winner (and 7 time Oscar Nominee) - writer/director Mike Leigh, who left the screening that preceeded this premiere.

Our first “guest” is actually not an arrival but a departure : 5 time BAFTA winner (and 7 time Oscar Nominee) - writer/director Mike Leigh, who left the screening that preceeded this premiere.

My spot does not really allow me much in the way of long-range photography (owing to the number of guests on the carpet and the layout of said carpet) - but fortunately EVERYONE is set to be interviewed on stage. First up : actor Stephen Graham, who despite being better known for being in two Pirates of the Caribbean movies, as also in a prior Martin Scorsese movie : “Gangs of New York”

My spot does not really allow me much in the way of long-range photography (owing to the number of guests on the carpet and the layout of said carpet) - but fortunately EVERYONE is set to be interviewed on stage. First up : actor Stephen Graham, who despite being better known for being in two Pirates of the Caribbean movies, as also in a prior Martin Scorsese movie : “Gangs of New York”

“So what does it feel like getting a phone call from Martin Scorsese asking you to be in his next movie?”

“So what does it feel like getting a phone call from Martin Scorsese asking you to be in his next movie?”

Although this premiere is noted for the 5 Oscars combined that have been won by Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and Anna Paquin (with a sixth won by Joe Pesci, who was sadly too sick to attend) - three further Oscars just walked in the door before I could take a photo - costume designer Sandy Powell

Although this premiere is noted for the 5 Oscars combined that have been won by Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and Anna Paquin (with a sixth won by Joe Pesci, who was sadly too sick to attend) - three further Oscars just walked in the door before I could take a photo - costume designer Sandy Powell

“Sandy correctly pointed out that her hair and my dress were far too similar for us to be seen together….”  Stephanie Kurtzuba is in this film.

“Sandy correctly pointed out that her hair and my dress were far too similar for us to be seen together….” Stephanie Kurtzuba is in this film.

“You want me to comment on the writing skillz of David S Goyer? I’d rather not. For… several reasons, including ones that cover the presence of children on the carpet”  Writer Steven Zaillian adds a NINTH Oscar to the procedings.

“You want me to comment on the writing skillz of David S Goyer? I’d rather not. For… several reasons, including ones that cover the presence of children on the carpet”
Writer Steven Zaillian adds a NINTH Oscar to the procedings.

“Please don’t quote me on the David S Goyer thing…”

“Please don’t quote me on the David S Goyer thing…”

“You want HIM to sign for you, and not me? I mean… he’s good looking and all, and I’m … well… no, you should get his autograph. He’s cool.”  - it’s Martin Scorsese!! And all of a sudden, I’m loving that I’m in a quiet pen where everyone is respectfully calling out to him rather than preparing to eat each other alive at the prospect that he might sign for us.

“You want HIM to sign for you, and not me? I mean… he’s good looking and all, and I’m … well… no, you should get his autograph. He’s cool.” - it’s Martin Scorsese!! And all of a sudden, I’m loving that I’m in a quiet pen where everyone is respectfully calling out to him rather than preparing to eat each other alive at the prospect that he might sign for us.

“The rumours of me wanting to direct a Marvel cinematic universe film were started by me, Edith. I’m just testing the waters”  Martin Scorsese recently raised some ire by comparing Marvel movies to theme park rides. I don’t necessarily see this as being as much of a criticism as fans of those movies might think.

“The rumours of me wanting to direct a Marvel cinematic universe film were started by me, Edith. I’m just testing the waters” Martin Scorsese recently raised some ire by comparing Marvel movies to theme park rides. I don’t necessarily see this as being as much of a criticism as fans of those movies might think.

“Honestly, when I said they were like theme park rides I was just telling the truth…”  Martin Scorsese had additional things to say about Marvel Films that made for easy clickbait articles that kind of obscure the deeper comment he’s making. But you know the internet : if it can’t be turned into a meme or a gif, it’s way too complex an idea (on which note : follow me on instagram!!)

“Honestly, when I said they were like theme park rides I was just telling the truth…”
Martin Scorsese had additional things to say about Marvel Films that made for easy clickbait articles that kind of obscure the deeper comment he’s making. But you know the internet : if it can’t be turned into a meme or a gif, it’s way too complex an idea (on which note : follow me on instagram!!)

“On the plus side, Edith… if you say nasty things about Marvel movies and make your own movies close to 3hours in length, teenagers will be less likely to see your films and spend the runtime live-tweeting and sending texts”.

“On the plus side, Edith… if you say nasty things about Marvel movies and make your own movies close to 3hours in length, teenagers will be less likely to see your films and spend the runtime live-tweeting and sending texts”.

“You guys seem cool. I might hang with you guys for a bit…”  MARTIN SCORSESE IS MAKING A BEELINE FOR OUR PEN - and it’s only 1.5 people deep and contains NO DEALERS!!

“You guys seem cool. I might hang with you guys for a bit…” MARTIN SCORSESE IS MAKING A BEELINE FOR OUR PEN - and it’s only 1.5 people deep and contains NO DEALERS!!

“If you’re going to put this on youtube, could you at least think about your use of music?”

“If you’re going to put this on youtube, could you at least think about your use of music?”

“If Keitel takes off his glasses, then I take off my glasses. If he doesn’t, I don’t”  Jane Rosenthal (blue glasses) is a producer of this film.

“If Keitel takes off his glasses, then I take off my glasses. If he doesn’t, I don’t”
Jane Rosenthal (blue glasses) is a producer of this film.

“I don’t care whose hand I just blindly grabbed… just go with it and follow me to the stage”  Harvey Keitel is best known for being in two Tarantino films : Mr White in ‘Reservoir Dogs’ and The Wolf in ‘Pulp Fiction’. I photographed him previously at a movie that was MUCH less cool (than its premiere, which was very cool) -    “Youth”    at BFI London Film Festival back in 2015.

“I don’t care whose hand I just blindly grabbed… just go with it and follow me to the stage”
Harvey Keitel is best known for being in two Tarantino films : Mr White in ‘Reservoir Dogs’ and The Wolf in ‘Pulp Fiction’. I photographed him previously at a movie that was MUCH less cool (than its premiere, which was very cool) - “Youth” at BFI London Film Festival back in 2015.

“I don’t wear a wristwatch so often these days, Edith”  The Watch Whisperer is back at Covent Garden Markets as at last week, people. Get moving : those piles aren’t going to move themselves.

“I don’t wear a wristwatch so often these days, Edith”
The Watch Whisperer is back at Covent Garden Markets as at last week, people. Get moving : those piles aren’t going to move themselves.

“Usually at these premieres, the basic question is “What was it like working with ‘X’ “ where “X” is the biggest name attached to the film (or the second biggest if you’re asking the biggest) - but this cast kind of makes it impossible.”

“Usually at these premieres, the basic question is “What was it like working with ‘X’ “ where “X” is the biggest name attached to the film (or the second biggest if you’re asking the biggest) - but this cast kind of makes it impossible.”

As a photographer I’m loath, nay offended by the thought of me taking a photo of a TV screen and putting it into a journal of mine. But… damn…. Pacino, De Niro and Scorsese together in the same frame. That’s pretty amazing.

As a photographer I’m loath, nay offended by the thought of me taking a photo of a TV screen and putting it into a journal of mine. But… damn…. Pacino, De Niro and Scorsese together in the same frame. That’s pretty amazing.

“Today I’m signing my full name for anyone who brought “Any Given Sunday” stuff for me to sign, First or Last name if you brought “Dick Tracy”, and ‘A.P’ for anyone who brought anything else. “Jack and Jill” stuff I’m signing as Joe Pesci. You have been warned”  Al Pacino’s filmography is pretty amazing….

“Today I’m signing my full name for anyone who brought “Any Given Sunday” stuff for me to sign, First or Last name if you brought “Dick Tracy”, and ‘A.P’ for anyone who brought anything else. “Jack and Jill” stuff I’m signing as Joe Pesci. You have been warned”
Al Pacino’s filmography is pretty amazing….

“The sunglasses come off when the producer’s sunglasses come off, and not before, Edith”

“The sunglasses come off when the producer’s sunglasses come off, and not before, Edith”

“The fans are this way, Edith… and yet the Choc Tops and popcorn are THAT way, if you know what I’m saying”

“The fans are this way, Edith… and yet the Choc Tops and popcorn are THAT way, if you know what I’m saying”

“You were good in that Thing” ”Yeah, you too…”  Pacino and De Niro in the same photo. That ain’t bad either.

“You were good in that Thing”
”Yeah, you too…”
Pacino and De Niro in the same photo. That ain’t bad either.

“If you kept on going, eventually you’d get to, like France. That’s like a whole different country” ”Would they insist I sign their movie posters there too, Edith?” ”Almost certainly. But I think they call it ‘Le Taxi Driver’ in France”

“If you kept on going, eventually you’d get to, like France. That’s like a whole different country”
”Would they insist I sign their movie posters there too, Edith?”
”Almost certainly. But I think they call it ‘Le Taxi Driver’ in France”

“They made a SECOND sequel to Meet The Parents?? And I was IN IT???”  Meet the Parents, Meet the Fokkers, and Little Fokkers. Imdb.com is right about this.

“They made a SECOND sequel to Meet The Parents?? And I was IN IT???”
Meet the Parents, Meet the Fokkers, and Little Fokkers. Imdb.com is right about this.

Between you and me and The Internet, I’ve actually been fortunate to have photographed all of Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese before (   Righteous Kill    ;    Righteous Kill    and    The Intern   ; and    Hugo in 3D    (and one Baftas) respectively. But I’ve never photographed Anna Paquin before.

Between you and me and The Internet, I’ve actually been fortunate to have photographed all of Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese before (Righteous Kill ; Righteous Kill and The Intern; and Hugo in 3D (and one Baftas) respectively. But I’ve never photographed Anna Paquin before.

Anna Paquin won an Oscar aged 11 - best Supporting Actress for ‘The Piano’, but is better known for being ‘Rogue’ in the earlier X-Men films.

Anna Paquin won an Oscar aged 11 - best Supporting Actress for ‘The Piano’, but is better known for being ‘Rogue’ in the earlier X-Men films.

Stephen Moyer is married to Anna Paquin, and his tally of starring in 81 episodes of the TV Series ‘True Blood’ precisely matches hers.

Stephen Moyer is married to Anna Paquin, and his tally of starring in 81 episodes of the TV Series ‘True Blood’ precisely matches hers.

… and that, incredibly and amazingly…. was that.

… and that, incredibly and amazingly…. was that.

So, that was that. 12 days in a row (13 in a row if you count BFI Luminous, 14 in a row if you include the premiere of Judy)… and I’m tired. It’s over, and I’m glad. This fortnight was tough, and I apologise to people I might have snapped at or sniped at…. except for those who deserved it, and for those for whom there might be fallout (including of course me).

Whatever. For now… it’s time to do something I basically never thought I’d get to write “Pacino! De Niro! Scorcese!” next to a movie in The Archive of Premieres.

Until next time!

Also good news : there’s going to be a lot less frequent blasts-out on Twitter and Facebook now that London Film Festival is over.