Divergent European Film Premiere

Odeon, Leicester Square, London

Sunday 30th March 2014.

It all starts on Wednesday the 26th March, 2014, I was lucky enough to receive an email asking if I would like to take my daughters to this event.
Well, what could I say? I knew they had been counting down to see this film since it was announced that a film would be made, but I did worry about the cost of train travel from Durham to London at such short notice. After a little consideration I knew I couldn’t turn down the opportunity so gratefully accepted the very kind offer and vowed to keep it a secret until Sunday morning. This was going to be a very different Mothers Day this year! My husband very kindly bought the train tickets as a gift for Mother’s Day.

I picked my daughters up from school as usual on the Wednesday night and headed to swim club with my secret. Well I failed on that count. Knowing how much they were going to be thrilled I couldn’t keep quiet and told them the news before we had a driven a couple of miles!

We then faced a queue of friends who were pleading for us to get them tickets. The news was out and the girls were counting down to the event.

They were on the internet looking for news of the fan experience which was occurring before the film. They were wondering what to wear, would we arrive in time, who would they see, could they get their books signed, the list was endless. The excitement was building!! This trip was going to be out of this world!!

Sunday morning arrived, the alarm was set for 6.15am to ensure they had time to get sorted, do their hair and finally decide on what they would wear before heading off for the first train to London (8.04am). We were first to arrive at the station. It was a cold wet, dark, foggy morning but inside we were full of sunshine. The weather would not spoil this trip. Unfortunately at Durham station the WHSmith and Costa Coffee do not open until after this train has departed. (Durham – get your act together!)

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The train was on time and the journey was smooth, the girls snacked, chatted and reread their divergent books (which they were carrying in the hope of getting them signed by the author and actors).

We arrived at London just after 11am and headed straight for Leicester square via the tube. We had arrived in plenty of time but didn’t want to go shopping elsewhere just to find we were at the back of a very long queue.

The square was already full of fans waiting at the barriers outside the Odeon. The fan experience was open for those with white bands. So, after chatting with security, we headed to the entrance of the fan experience ready for our black band time. We were lucky enough to end up first in this queue, so the girls were chatting with the staff who were all dressed in blue and checking our factions. This was the start of our interaction with the fantastic staff who tirelessly spoke to all the children, teenagers and parents. They were a credit to the event, every one of them. Whilst in the queue, my youngest daughter Natalya was finger printed, ‘injected’ and questioned. The initiation process had started!

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We cleared the registration process, all invitations were checked and we headed to the first test. Which faction would the girls belong to we wondered? This, if you have read the books, will understand is very important and a number of divergents were escorted away during the tests!

Both girls thoroughly enjoyed the fan experience, they completed tests, climbing walls, trampolining, shooting and they were tattooed. Natalya was challenged on the wall by a member of dauntless and it was confirmed, this was indeed her faction. Both Jennifer and Natalya were then tattooed with dauntless faction symbol! However, Natalya was further put to the test with a set of press ups. Her swim coach, Craig Robertson will be pleased to hear that her press-ups were complimented for being REAL ones! The highlight of the initiation process was posing for the film poster photographs. Brilliant!!  Both girls then hung their photos round their neck, proudly worn with the wrist bands. The weather in London was warm, bright and sunny, this day was perfect. The queues for each of these events within the fan experience were not long and we were never more than sixth in the queue. This was fantastically organised, so if this was down to your hard work please take a bow, you deserve the praise!

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Just as we reached the trampolines we heard from Louise Howells. We had spoken to Louise over email for quite some months about books and their reviews. It was a great pleasure to meet her and thank her in person for the books we had received to date, and for this fantastic invitation which had come from her.

We then headed out of the fan experience to join the queue for the film. We had about half an hour to wait for the doors to open, so yes, I admit it we were now getting sore feet and we needed a drink and something to eat. So we bought some ice creams to eat in the queue. The security checked the queue a number of times to ensure that the correct wrist bands were in the right queues. We watch Veronica Roth (author of the books) and the actors all arrive on the red carpet looking very glamorous. The girls were clutching their books ready for autographs, unfortunately, this wasn’t to be. When we reached the red carpet it was final faction decision with another wrist band and straight into the Odeon. This was our only small disappointment of the day, but everything else was perfection.

When we arrived in our seats we had a complimentary faction t-shirt each and a juiced up water. The chatter in the cinema was excitement itself, we were here, we were seated and the European Premiere of DIVERGENT was about to start! Just enough time to grab some popcorn and relax. Ok, who I am kidding? No one was relaxed, and in fact I don’t think we’ve calmed down yet and I am writing this on Monday morning after the event. Would I go again? Oh yes I certainly would! Would I delay saying yes while I checked the cost of my train tickets? Not a chance! Oh! Quiet now…. an announcement in the cinema:  “The film won’t be starting yet, first Veronica Roth and all the actors are going to take to the stage“. Excellent! The mobile phones are back out. As the announcer correctly said this is all down to one lady VERONICA ROTH. Without her writing the trilogy in the first instance, we would not be here waiting to watch this first film; the actors would not be on the stage. Well done Veronica. The crowds loved her, and indeed several people shouting out to tell her this! As an avid reader, it was wonderful to see that most of the excitement was directed towards the author, rather than the actors. The actors of course made the film, especially Kate Winslet, Shailene Woodley and Theo James.

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Both Jennifer and Natalya had read the trilogy, and therefore had an idea what to expect from the film. I however didn’t. Was this going to be a teen film with very little interest for me I wondered? Would the girls agree with how the book was portrayed in the film? Only one way to find out! The film was wonderful; the three of us were gripped throughout. We had nothing to grumble about and the girls were full of admiration for its interpretation of the book!

However, it was now over. That was it! There was nothing else to do except start the journey back home to Durham via Tube and Train. But we didn’t want to go home. We didn’t want this to end….! So out came the mobiles again, we shared our photographs, we texted and phoned friends. We tweeted, we updated facebook status pages, and then we caught the train!

We discussed the film and the experience in detail on the train. We were shattered, but this was the best experience we had enjoyed in years!

Monday morning has now arrived. Jennifer and Natalya will be discussing it with their school friends, then their swimming friends tonight.

We would like to say a very special THANK YOU to Louise Howells of the big shot, to Harper Collins and e one for this wonderful experience!

Fiona, Jennifer and Natalya.


4 Responses so far.

  1. Michelle says:

    Red carpet! London premiere! Sounds like a fantastic event, with loads to keep the girls entertained while waiting for the movie. I hadn’t heard of these books, but if it’s teen fiction like the Hunger Games, I’m sure they’ll be a great success. Nice that the author is recognised too – so very few get to be lucky enough to be published, let alone have their stories filmed.

  2. Darlene Armijo says:

    What an AMAZING experience. Sounds and looks like you all had a fab time. What lucky girls…Mr. Sharp you scored major points 🙂

  3. Melissa Thirtle says:

    Sounds awesome!!

  4. Louise says:

    What a wonderful review and a great family day out. It was lovely to meet you and the girls too. Hopefully see you at the next one!

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