"Pirates" premiere is a wild carpet ride
The most popular ride at Disneyland Saturday was the red carpet for the world premiere of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest."
And the longest. The red carpet was over 1,000 ft. long, rolling down Main Street, snaking by Fantasyland and ending at Adventureland. But for hundreds of international TV, radio, internet and print reporters and thousands of fans who'd come to see "Pirates" stars Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom, the carpet ride became pretty disappointing by the end of the night.
Fans staked out coveted spots along the carpet when the park opened at 6:30 a.m. The press arrived at 3 p.m. to prepare for celebrity arrivals from 5-6. But by 6:30, only a few non-famous guests came wandering in.
Since the premiere invite stressed 'pirate garb,' there were more eye patches, head bandanas, gold earrings, skull 'n crossbones, puffy shirts, and pirate hats - not to mention dark sooty Jack Sparrow eyeliner - than you could shake a saber at.
Early on, the throng of fans â€“ most wearing Disney's pirate mouse ears (gold hoop earring in one ear) â€“ were hopeful and enthusiastic, shouting, screaming, holding up banners and photos of Depp and Bloom and 'We Love You Johnny!' posters. They were only too happy to jump and scream to create B-roll color for the camera crews and applaud the professional Disneyland pirates who were singing, playing accordions, juggling balls and knives and walking on stilts up and down the carpet.
There was a pre-party with grog and grub at the Blue Bayou and CafÃ© Orleans for the premiere guests. They could also ride the new Pirates ride that features characters from the film (Jack Sparrow, his nemesis Captain Barbossa and the squid-faced Davy Jones) and then fill three huge red, yellow and green bleachers to view the film scheduled to be shown on an outdoor screen at around 9 p.m.
But by 7:30, the fans out on the carpet were getting hungry and hoarse, children began whimpering and even the seasoned press was turning surly.
"We've been standing here 5 hours and we've not seen a single lead actor from the film," groused a KTLA reporter. "This is insane. Why would they make us stand out here this long?" Even a befuddled German reporter asked, "Is this normal?"
"Is Johnny here?" reporters pestered the nervous Disney publicists. "Where's Keira?" "Has anyone seen Orlando?" "Will they talk to us?"
"They're here," one publicist promised. "Johnny's doing the new Pirates of the Caribbean ride and they're taking photographs. But he'll be here. Just be patient."
So reporters relaxed and chatted up non-Pirate people to kill time. "Entourage" star Kevin Dillon told press that his fans scream "Drama!" and "Viking Quest!" wherever he goes. Director James Cameron, who has a cameo on "Entourage," plugged his new film "Avatar," a sci-fi flick set on another planet that will be released next year in 3-D HD. But he admitted he'd probably do better with a real "Aquaman" since it's gotten built-in buzz from the show.
Jon Voight stammered when a reporter asked if he'd seen his new grandchild. The answer was "No" but he's, um, "very proud of Angie and all the work she's doing." And he hasn't sent a baby gift. And he'd really rather not talk about it, if you don't mind.
Holly Robinson Peete was very popular with press because she actually knows Depp from his "21 Jump Street Days." "Who would you like to have a pirate adventure with?" queried a TV reporter. "Well, not Johnny. He's a friend. Unlike every other woman in the world, I just don't feel that way about him," Robinson-Peete explained.
Marilyn Manson â€“ dressed not like a pirate but like Marilyn Manson â€“ was also a hot interview once word spread on the line that he actually knows Depp, who may star in a movie he's making about Lewis Carroll. "I'm just here to see Johnny. He's my friend. He's a real pirate. I've got absinthe in my boots and I'm a pirate, too."
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed autographs, talked to a few TV reporters and tried to ignore the smattering of loud "boos" from the crowd. Inexplicably, his wife Maria Shriver wore a Dolce & Gabbana T-shirt emblazoned with Michelangelo's David wearing a sequin fig leaf.
Finally, around 8 p.m., a few actors who actually appear in "Pirates" made their way down the press line. Bill Nighy, who plays the octo-pussed Davy Jones, said it was surreal having to play piano with his face tentacles. Vanessa Branch, who plays the wench Giselle, revealed how much fun she had slapping Depp in all three films.
All three? ...
Photo Credit: Keira Knightley faces what Disney called the longest red carpet in the world.
Johnny Depp signs autographs for fans at the Disneyland premiere of "Pirates."
Photo Credit: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver walk the "Pirates" plank.