Adventures In Fangirling - What A Difference A Day Makes
In a strange twist of irony, the song At Last has just shuffled it's
way onto my iTunes playlist. It couldn't fit this article better.
A few days ago I wrote about my experiences over the last three years as a part of actor Jeremy Renner's fandom. For those who don't know,
he plays the Avengers archer extraordinaire Hawkeye.
That story involved lots of missed opportunities and almost meetings
with my idol. Whilst I can't yet tick a meeting with him off my list, I am now the proud owner of his autograph. And I didn't have to pay a despicable autograph hunter to get it. This prized possession of mine was earned by my own hard work and determination. The full account of which is to follow.
It started with a 4.15am start on Tuesday 21st April. Followed by a 5.48am train, a mis-read ticket, leading to a missed connection and a
late arrival at Westfield shopping center in London's Shepherds Bush.
When I finally arrived at the scene of the premiere the doors had
already been open for 15 minutes and 400 people were already lining
the fan enclosures. My photographer buddy who accompanied me wanted
to give up. We were at least six rows of people back from the barrier and had no hope of getting any autographs from the stars.
I was gutted, and felt like my two hours of sleep the night before had been for nothing. But my brother told me to be resilient, and so
we stayed. If nothing else I knew my friend would get some great
We met up with two other friends whom we'd first met at the Captain
America: The Winter Soldier premiere around this time last year. They were in full cosplay as Marvel characters Mockingbird (aka Bobbi
Morse - currently being portrayed on Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. by
Adrianne Palicki) and Jessica Jones (who will shortly be getting
her own show as part of the Defenders series - of which the new
show Daredevil is the first part).
Feeling a little under dressed I changed into my Black Widow costume
and re-joined my waiting friends. We spent the next six hours chatting, eating things that would not make us bloat in our skin tight catsuits, hydrating and going for the occasional wander around the shopping
center to stretch our legs. The strangest part of the day (thus far) was being asked by people if they could take my picture. For someone
who's quite shy and retiring this is very weird and not at all
something you get used to. But I suppose putting on the Black Widow
suit really doesn't allow you to stay you. And it certainly doesn't
lend itself to being shy and retiring.
Around 4pm our day took an unexpected turn for the better when my two cosplaying friends were spotted by a member of staff and given
wristbands to a special cosplayers only pen. They told her they
were part of a threesome and took me to find the lady with the
power to put me in that pen and make my dreams come true.
In the space of 10 minutes I had gone from being six people back,
in a pen that easily held 50-100 people, to being in an enclosure
of 10 people. Not only that, but this enclosure was right next to the stage. My luck was finally starting to change, resilience paying off.
In the next half an hour we were told that we were the cosplay winners, although no contest had happened to my knowledge, and we were going up on the main stage, in front of not only the hundreds of people
in the center, but the thousands watching on live streams around the
world. This was not something I signed up for, and I was not handling it well. My friend dressed as Mockingbird took my hand as we marched
up the stairs. I didn't dare allow myself to look around for fear of
seeing all of those people staring back at me. I merely took a deep
breath, and before I knew it we were walking off stage, being given a prize (a pair of Hulk hands which are going to my nephew) and heading back to the enclosure.
Within minutes Director Joss Whedon was on stage, swiftly followed by actors Paul Bettany, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Elizabeth Olsen
and then the man I had been waiting three years to see up close, Jeremy Renner came through the stage doors. Dressed in a sharp blue suit
and shades (clearly his early morning appearance on Good Morning Britain not agreeing with him). It seemed to take forever for him to reach me as they took him to the opposite side first, the cosplayers would
be last. In the mean time I managed to get another signature I was
missing from my collection, that of The Hulk himself, Mark Ruffalo,
who I admired long before he turned green. He partially signed my
thumb too which was a thrill in itself.
Sadly some non-cosplayers invaded our pen at this point, and I ended
up crushed between them and the front row of cosplayers. I knew I
would not get to speak to Jeremy or get a picture with him, but I was determined that after three years I would come away with his signature on my Sarah Dunn Bourne photoshoot cover of Empire Magazine. The
magazine I'd tried to get signed on several other occasions and failed. I held it between two cosplayers on the front row and hoped for the best, and when I pulled it back through to me, there it was, the left handed squiggle of my favourite actor.
He climbed up on the barrier to take a selfie with one of the lucky
lady Loki's who had won the cosplay contest. And although I wished
that had been me, maybe I need to work up to that. Maybe in another
three years I'll have a picture to go with the signature. Until then I am more than content with seeing him up close and finally adding him to my collection of Marvel signatures, which is now just missing Ms Johansson. How ironic that I have seen her twice when I was dressed
as her character, and twice I've come away without her seeing me a
nd without her squiggle.
Oh well, Captain America 3 is out pretty soon right?