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War Horse London Film Premiere - Report * 09 January 2012


Anyone who has visited Leicester Square in central London recently will know it resembles nothing short of a building site. On arrival at 10:30am on a freezing cold Sunday morning, it looked anything but a venue to hold the Royal Premiere of Steven Spielberg's latest film, War Horse. It is remarkable what six hours, a team of crewmembers, some sleek movie posters and a touch of red carpet can do.

Via a constant stream of chauffer driven Mercedes-Benz, those involved in the film arrived in turn and at length at around 4:30 in the afternoon, just as the light started to draw in. Each received a cheer from the crowd as they emerged from their cars. Jeremy Irvine and Tom Hiddleston were particularly attentive to the fans, working their way up and down the red carpet to sign autographs and pose for pictures as girls craned themselves over the barriers to be photographed with their idols. There was great excitement as Steven Speilberg arrived, and after being escorted down the red carpet by minders, he returned later to meet those who had waited patiently all day for him to sign War Horse novels and posters, under the watchful eye of security.

The approach of one silver Mercedes was unmistakable however. The tidal wave of whispers, washing from one end of the crowd to the other, with the exclamation,"Oh my God, it's Benedict Cumberbatch!" was suddenly all you could hear. When the car finally came to a stop and the security, wearing tuxedos and earpieces, opened the car's rear door, the screams from the fans was overwhelming. His response was to turn to the crowd; arms raised high above his head, and clearly delighted waved in return. In fact, his appearance had caused such a flurry of uproar, with jostling behind the barriers from people desperate to catch a glimpse of him, taking a photo in focus was almost impossible (as you will see from the last image.) Thankfully we just about managed to capture his reaction on camera, as it would be the greatest pity not to be able to share with you, what was quite a remarkable few seconds. It could almost be likened to the appearance of a Beatle in the Sixties, the enthusiasm he received was so great. With the exception of the Royals, his was by a great distance, the loudest of the evening. There can be no doubt that what we were witnessing was the start of his transition from talented and well-loved British actor, to international Movie Star! 


Having attended BAFTA's screening of 'The Hounds of Baskerville' only last Wednesday, being amongst the crowd and seeing this first hand felt quite surreal to say the least. What it must feel like for those this reaction is for must be quite a remarkable feeling indeed. It is a privilege to see both sides of the coin to acquire the smallest glimpse of the nature of celebrity. From Benedict, chatty and relaxed at the bar like any other person in attendance at the private after party for 'Hounds' in Cardiff, to the glitz and glamour of an A-List Celeb on the red carpet and the extraordinary excitement just the mere arrival of him prompted, you can understand why it must take a bit of getting used to. 

By 5:50pm, under the cover of rain, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge - otherwise affectionately known as 'Will 'n' Kate' - had finally arrived at the Odeon, accompanied by the flashing blue illuminations of a police escort of course, and once they were out of sight the crowds started to disperse. It had been a very long day, but the atmosphere had been fantastic. Obviously given the choice of being in the crowd or having an invite in hand, the latter would have been preferable, but it was an immensely fascinating experience. And providing you don't mind standing around for eight hours, quite a rewarding one.

The one thing to come away with that evening, was the strong sense that Benedict is now well on his way to becoming a HUGE Star! He has recently commented in interviews that members of the public often approached him to ask if he's 'Sherlock Holmes', to which he replies, "No, I just look a bit like him." With upcoming projects including The Hobbit and the second J.J. Abrams Star Trek film, the name Benedict Cumberbatch will almost certainly be a household name across both sides of the pond and many other countries very soon. And so you have to ask yourself, if there is to be a third series of Sherlock, will the Great Detective have the same response should he be asked, 'Are you Benedict Cumberbatch?'