Event: The Huntsman: Winter’s War Asian Red Carpet Premiere

As I am still recovering from the exhaustion and excitement of 3rd April 2016, I feel that the late documentation of my very first meeting with giant Hollywood stars is still rather timely.

Let’s start at the beginning.

When the news of the 3 main actors reached my ears, I was frankly not as excited about going for the event. Don’t get me wrong – I do love Jessica Chastain (she’s my favorite actress!) but just thinking about the crowd got me rather turned off at the idea. Not to mention, an admission ticket into Universal Studios Singapore was required and I wasn’t ready to part with $70+ just to see them for less than 10 minutes.

But as the day drew closer, I couldn’t deny my desire to be involved. And luckily for me, the awesome website I wrote for had a pair of media pass that I could use!

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YASSSSSSS – SCORE!

Needless to say, I was a freaking happy camper and I was ready to get star-strucked.

The interior of Universal Studios Singapore was seriously amped up to give the stars a huge and warm (literally) welcome.

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Gotta keep the red carpet clean with ’em plastic.
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Gothic arch, representative of the fantasy world the film is set in.
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Behold – the Pantages Theatre that has been ‘frozen’ over.

Despite holding the Media Pass, I actually had no idea where to go upon entering. I walked around the crowd twice, asked the kinda clueless crew and only ended up getting to the Media area after following a couple of other Media Pass holders. We entered via a special entrance, where I found my ‘sweet spot’.

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The sweet, sweet Photo Wall.

Yes people. I found myself standing right in front of the photo wall where I stood vigil for nearly 2 hours, awaiting the arrival of the director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron, Golden Globe winner Jessica Chastain & Thor himself – Chris Hemsworth.

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View of the Gothic arch from my spot.

It was a long wait for the stars to arrive and when they did, it was another long wait for the Media to actually get a glimpse of them. Were they walking at a super slow speed? No – they were not. In fact, they were being really gracious celebrities who took the time to sign autographs, take selfies and generally thank the fans who turned up.

I honestly couldn’t get mad at that. I mean, who would? This was truly a special day and them going out of their way to please the fans, despite the incredibly unbearable weather made everything worth it.

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Director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan signing some autographs.
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Even his attendant looks pleased.

Cedric eventually made his way over to the Photo Wall where a collective sigh from the Media could be heard.

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Director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan staying composed even in the sweltering heat.

Just to give you a little background on the arrival of the stars. The first to step onto the red carpet was the Director, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan. Second was the lovely Miss Jessica Chastain and the third was Mr Chris Hemsworth. The last to arrive (might I add 15 minutes behind Hemsworth’s arrival), was Miss Charlize Theron.

The background is essential for this part of my recount because Charlize was the next to arrive at the Photo Wall after Cedric. It came as quite a surprise to a lot of us who were waiting for either Jessica or Chris to turn up first.

I’m someone with this weird quirk where I need to see a celebrity in the flesh in order to consider them real. So, when Ms Theron stepped up to the Photo Wall dressed in a glamorous white gown that had an ‘Angelina Jolie slit’ at the side, I was in awe. Everything about her screamed ‘OSCAR WINNER’ and I literally had to stop myself bowing and saying ‘We’re not worthy!’. She carried herself with so much elegance and poise that she is simply flawless.

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Ravishing in white.
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She woke up like this. She woke up like this. FLAWLESS.

As if taking Charlize as their cue, Chris and Jessica suddenly appeared along the barricades nearest to the Photo Wall. Although they were still signing and taking pictures, the Media (and I) were ecstatic they were finally at our stop.

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Almost at the Photo Wall!

Chris Hemsworth was the first among the two to break away from the fans and take his spot in front of the Photo Wall. I felt truly bad for Chris seeing him all suited up for this event. The heat was already getting to me in my t-shirt and jeans so I can’t imagine what it must be like for him. Though he tried to clean his sweat away subtly (with the aid of his PA and some tissue), he must have been feeling like he was standing in a furnace. See, even Thor needs to sweat sometimes. But he’ll always maintain that cool, smouldering look of his no matter the weather.

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Chris looking dashing in his blue suit.
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He kinda looks like he is Disney-bounding as Captain America, right?

The last to reach the Photo Wall was none other than Jessica Chastain. Seeing her right in front of me nearly brought tears to my eyes. Having been a HUGE fan of hers since her debut in The Help, it was like a dream come true to see her standing there. It took a lot of restrain from me to not wave like a mad person, even though I did sneak in a wave or two.

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The gorgeous Miss Jessica Chastain!
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Pretty in Black!
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Jessica was absolutely patient with the media, walking really slow to ensure everyone got a shot.
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She was in the midst of trying a different pose here.
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All smiles!

As Jessica made her way down towards the videographers, the photographers took it as a mad rush to head to another location. I was one of those who went through the videographers like a whirlwind, stunning them as I quietly push pass them.

This was the most crucial part of my night as I needed to get my hands on the ‘Money shot’.

What is that? Well, it’s the concluding photo of the night where all four of them stand right in front of Pantages Theatre for the group shot.

Some of the regional reporters got lost, others figured they had time to get there. I didn’t. I hurriedly made my way to what I felt was the best spot and not a moment later, the thundering of footsteps can be heard from my right. The others had made their way over just as Cedric, Charlize and Jessica took the stage. When Chris arrived a few minutes later, the ‘Money shot’ was a-go.

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Gorgeous cast, no?
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Makes you wish you could be a part of this group shot..
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Money shot – Take One
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Money shot – Take 2

Once they were done, Charlize and Cedric retreated into the theatre for some much-needed air-conditioning while Chris and Jessica graciously went back to do more interviews.

I stuck around, taking in more close-up views of Chris and Jessica. I had a super close view of Chris Hemsworth as he took a selfie with someone behind me but I never got around to asking him for one. My hopes had been pinned on getting a selfie with Jessica, which I never managed to as her PAs whisked her away after her interview.

Was I disappointed? Obviously. But it was a trade-off for an experience that I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else.

As I left the venue with a cup of well-deserved Starbucks in my hand, I could only look forward to the prospect of meeting Jessica Chastain again someday, where we would finally take that long-awaited selfie.

Event: AMC Special – Fear The Contagious

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So, this was an event I attended last Tuesday on behalf of a website.  I know, I know.  This should have probably gone up before the premiere date of Fear The Walking Dead, but better late than never, right?

What started off as an innocent viewing event on a Tuesday night turned into a full-on start of a Walking Dead nightmare, when the dark surroundings of our cinema suddenly flooded with bright lights.  The large movie screen before us was no longer showing us promo clips of shows available on AMC.  Instead, a bio-hazard sign among the words, ‘WARNING CONTAINMENT AREA’, had taken its place.

You would have expected panic to run through the theatre but, everyone in the venue were Walking Dead fans so in place of that emotion was excitement.  As for me, I was both excited and slightly terrified at what AMC had in store for us.  Was there going to be a stray Walker gracing us with its presence?  Or were we all going to be subject to a decontamination shower?  The latter was definitely not the favorable outcome and I definitely do not want to experience that.  The questions in my head were finally put to rest when I noticed four men in yellow hazmat suits enter through the right and left doors before sealing them shut.

An announcement comes on informing everyone that they may have been infected as they entered the theatre.  The stamp they had given us on the back of our right wrist had been infected with a virus.  To ensure the virus doesn’t infect the entire country, we were confined in the theatre for a check.  That’s when the men in the hazmat suits come in.  Armed with a UV light each, they start doing a check on every single person, row by row.  If there were small dots located around the stamp area, that person might be infected.  As the friendly man in the hazmat suit approached me next after clearing my friend of any sign of infection, I was expecting mine to be a quick check.  ‘Lucky’ for me, when the UV light shone upon my stamp, three small dots said hi.  I obviously wasn’t sure what was going to happen because they did say these people were going to be dealt with accordingly.  Sure, I shouldn’t be scared as it wasn’t real. But what if it was?  I don’t like being a rule-breaker so I’ve never experienced the ‘dealt with accordingly’ part before.

So, what was I to expect from this?

Calmly, Mr Friendly-Yellow-Hazmat asked, “Ma’am, have you been overseas recently?”

I wanted to say, ‘Yes, I’ve been to Georgia to visit my friend, Rick. You might have heard of him?’ But not knowing the eventual outcome of this, I decided not to be a smart ass and said, “No.”

To which he asked, “Are you okay? Do you feel unwell?”

I merely shook my head and said, “No.”

He gave me a once-over and nodded slowly before moving on to the next person.  If that had been a real life situation, I would have been sweating like a pig and exclaiming, ‘Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. I’m going to turn! I’m going to turn into a Walker!’  There were a couple of other people playing along, pretending to be sick but knowing it wasn’t real probably added to their ability to make it a joke.

But when it comes down to it, would you really be laughing or faking sick in a Zombie Apocalypse?

Once the rows have all been checked, the men in yellow headed back down to the doors as the brightly-lit theatre turned dark and the silent screen came back to life.  A clip played, telling us that instead of showing us what it was like to experience fear, they wanted to let us physically experience it.  Cue a video footage showing us a group of people who went through the theatre doors just like us before taking their seats.  Unfortunately for them, they had no idea what they were in for.  As soon as the friendly hazmat dudes appeared, panic ensued.  There were people getting out of their seats heading towards the sealed doors; even when they were told to stay in their seats.  Fear was literally written all over their face.  Eventually a mob started charging the doors and that’s when the whole experience was over.  Relief washed over their faces as they realized just what they had been a part of.   The footage changes and everyone in our theatre were told that we had just gone through the Fear Experience as well.  Everyone clapped; thankful for AMC giving us this experience and also thankful we were not one of the unsuspecting viewers from the footage.

Aside from the Fear Experience, which wanted us to understand what fear being a contagious emotion meant; we were also there to view exclusive clips from Fear The Walking Dead.  Most of which were 30-60 second snippets from the show including messages from Robert Kirkman.  A four to five minute long featurette with interviews from the cast was shown as well, where they further explained the idea behind Fear The Walking Dead.

Explained by the producers of the show, Fear The Walking Dead is very much a prequel to The Walking Dead because it is set in the few years between the time Rick Grimes went into a coma and when he got out of it.  The producers wanted to show viewers that the characters from The Walking Dead didn’t just acquired their skills overnight.  They had gone through a long and arduous process that eventually made them who they are in The Walking Dead.  The Walkers that we see in The Walking Dead also don’t just look like they do – with skin and limbs missing with bones broken in impossible ways.  In fact, in Fear The Walking Dead, they look very much like ordinary people but just with terrible walking abilities.  A fair amount of years had changed the way they look, which gives them the rotting look that we see in The Walking Dead.

I liked that they came up with this prequel because I don’t think I’ll be able to master Michonne’s bad-ass Katana swinging skills overnight.  It not only makes it more relatable but it sets us thinking – what if this scenario isn’t too far off?  We have a middle-income family staying in a highly-populated city with real day-to-day problems that they are trying to overcome.  To make matters worse, a pandemic breaks out and no one knows what is going on.  The police and government officials alike suddenly start tightening up the information being released and soon, everyone is at risk.

Sounds very much like a possible scenario in today’s society, right?

Needless to say, like The Walking Dead, Fear The Walking Dead is going to be another exciting series to catch.  Because of the time difference (living half-way around the world here), I am stuck at work unable to watch the first episode.  But I can tell you that I am excited to catch it when I get home tonight.  This is an added bonus for me as I countdown to Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando where I get to face the Walkers from The Walking Dead!

So, here’s a toast to Robert Kirkman for bringing his genius creations to us and creating another likely scenario where our world might end with a Zombie Apocalypse!  We couldn’t have imagined it without you!