My Glamorous Life On The Red Carpet
When people see red carpet coverage on TV, they think it’s utterly and superbly glamorous. But the reality is very different, as I experienced when I was assigned to report from the red carpet premiere of the last Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2.
The event was held outdoors at Lincoln Center in New York City, on a sweltering hot July afternoon. It was a mob scene! Thousands of fans swarmed the area around the red carpet, which was barricaded off for the movie’s stars, while hundreds of reporters lined the red carpet, pushing, shoving, and vying for the stars’ attention.
I was the only kid on the red carpet, and I can tell you, it was anything but glamorous. Each media outlet — PBS, ABC, CNN, and scores of other print and video reporters — was assigned to stand in a space the size of a piece of printer paper. For three hours. Sweating. Thirsty. Bigger than their piece of paper.
And so they started pushing.
To borrow a literary theme from Harry Potter, it was Good vs. Evil, and I was playing the role of Good. To my left, Evil’s cameraman, soundman, and producer elbowed me hard—right into Evil’s 7-foot tall Potter-blogger on the other side of me. I was shoved again, only to find Evil #1 occupying most of my paper marker. “Hey,” I thought. “I’m just a kid. Give me a break!”
I had covered a red carpet event before — the movie premiere of Fantastic Mr. Fox. It was also chaotic, but nowhere near as crazy as Harry Potter. Meryl Streep — who played the voice of Mrs. Fox — came right over to me and gave me a great quote for my article. She also let me take a picture with her. It was so easy. It was also 60 degrees cooler.
Back at the hot, sweaty Potter press-pack, I waved and yelled at Rupert Grint, and pleaded with his publicist to ask one question. And then he started walking toward me. Hooray! I asked him how he felt about the end of playing Harry’s best friend, Ron.
“It really is like saying goodbye to a friend,” Rupert told me. “Ron is kind of—I’ve been playing that same character for so long, a character I already felt quite close to. We’ve become this kind of same person, like this Ron-Pert kind of thing,” he said, coining a new name right there in front of me. “It’s gonna be weird not playing him, but he’ll always be a part of me, I think.”
Finally, I got a great quote! It took three hours of sweating and being squeezed to a pulp, but just like in Harry Potter, Good triumphed over Evil! Even in a red carpet line.
Photo: Grace McManus at the red-carpet premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 in New York. (Photo: Kristen Joerger)