In watching the red carpet event preceding the premiere of The Hobbit last night, I was struck by how different personalities seemed to work on the red carpet live event.
The red carpet is a place for extroverts. As an example, during their first interviews Jimmy Nesbitt and Martin Freeman seemed a little grudging (Martin still had his sunglasses on during the first interview, and while I gather that it was a hot sunny day, it’s just a little off-putting not to be able to see a celebrity’s face especially if that’s what you’re there to see) and their remarks sounded almost forced, like they were searching their memories for nice things to say. But two hours later, both of them were transformed. Jimmy warmly praised everything about Wellington, and his remarks seemed to flow from his heart. Martin was jubilant, almost like he was surfing on a wave of the crowd’s love.
The best “surfer” by far was Andy Serkis, who (probably because he knew what was coming) arrived cheerful and happy and escalated into unrestrained glee. He ran down the red carpet high-fiving members of the crowd who’d stuck their palms out for him to slap. He cheerfully honored a request to “do” Gollum, and came at the TV camera like he was going to eat Wellington whole. He must have a rock star’s appetite for attention, thriving on other people’s notice and goodwill.
And there was plenty of goodwill to go around. The crowd was huge and happy and generally seemed well-behaved. Most people had these big placemat sized sheets (at a distance, they looked a little like Thror’s Map, all aged yellow and bordered in sepia ink) that the stars could sign as they passed by. Maybe that’s what usually happens at premieres, but I don’t know because this is the first red carpet event I’ve ever seen.
But for introverts, I think the red carpet must be more like a gauntlet than a festival of love. In contrast to their more extroverted colleagues, Richard Armitage and Graham McTavish seemed happier and zingier at their very first interviews. Not that they weren’t pleasant, friendly, funny and unfailingly polite in all the interviews I saw them give—it is very hard for me to put into words why I thought they enjoyed themselves more the first time around.
Since I think of myself as something of an introvert, I tried to imagine what my feelings would have been in that situation. The first thing I did was to wish I were an extrovert. Wouldn’t it be nice to relax and bask in all that attention, to just go with the flow of that overwhelming tide? Instead, I would probably feel that I had to meet that outpouring of emotion, counter it, control it, and give back in equal measure. That would be exhausting. Nobody can generate that much energy inside themselves.
Of course, that’s probably the wrong way to go about it—the red carpet can’t be a place for civilized give-and-take. It’s all about riding the emotion.
Well, it was fun to watch and seemed to go off without a hitch. Now I’m waiting to hear about the movie…Not that it would make any difference in terms of increasing my desire to see it multiple times. I couldn’t possibly want to watch this movie more.