On Tuesday, June 20, Chicago was transformed, literally. As I walked to work that morning, crew members were setting up a barge on the Chicago River. However, it wasn’t just a normal, freight-carrying barge. It was intentionally decked out with over-sized Transformers posters and inflated vehicles. It was difficult to ignore the extravagant Red Carpet that was being set up before my eyes for the premiere of Transformers: The Last Knight.
Around 5:30 pm, the lucky fans with tickets to the premiere were lined up along Wacker Drive at the Civic Opera House. It was nearly impossible to walk down the sidewalk without running into a Transformers fan. Only ticketholders would be close enough to easily see the stars. For me, catching a glimpse of Josh Duhamel, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Bay, Anthony Hopkins, Isabela Moner, Laura Haddock, or Stanley Tucci would be just fine.
As the crowd finally filed inside the Civic Opera House, it became apparent where the stars might arrive. They had to make their way onto the barge somehow, and it was unlikely they were going to swim. The perimeter of the building was completely gated for the event.
While we waited, I spoke with Sam from North Chicago. “I’m the most excited to see the last part of the movie because it’s the last installment of the Transformer films,” Sam said.
Sam and I stopped talking abruptly because Hopkins had arrived. He was very quick, but we were fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of him.
Hopkin’s speedy entrance was somewhat disappointing, but shortly afterwards, Duhamel arrived. As he stepped out of his vehicle, our small crowd started cheering, “Josh, cross the street! Please!” To our surprise, he had the Chicago Police stop traffic for him so that he could quickly cross the street to greet us! And I mean quickly. He signed a few posters, took a selfie with me, crossed the street again, and continued down to the Chicago River to the Red Carpet.
Bay arrived shortly after Duhamel left us. Bay, wearing a navy blue suit, followed in the steps of Hopkins and paid no attention to any of us across the street.
The anticipation was real as we waited for the main star, Wahlberg. After about ten more black cars pulled up, “Marky Mark” arrived. He got out of the car on the left so we could see him. He waved and debated crossing the street, but sadly, Chicago traffic got in the way. Although he didn’t cross, at least he acknowledged us with a wave.
John a fan from Woodstock, IL, said, “It was really nice to see Mark Wahlberg, especially because he was just across the street. I probably like Anthony Hopkins more in the film, though.”
After Wahlberg’s arrival, we wandered to the other side of the river, where we were able to watch the Red Carpet and the stars being interviewed on large screens. Bay was just finishing his interview by the time we got there, and Wahlberg was next. Although it was hard to hear the speakers from across the river, the large group of people was so silent, you could hear a pin drop.
“The most fearful stunt I performed was in the first movie,” Wahlberg said. “But there were more demanding physical stunts in this film.”
He implied that he’d prefer to opt out of some stunts in the future. Jokingly, he shared his plan about recruiting a look-a-alike from the street to perform his future stunts.
After Wahlberg’s interview, the group went inside and, just like that, the Red Carpet Transformer movie event was over. It was an exhilarating evening, and although I couldn’t score a ticket to see the premiere, I did get something you can’t buy a ticket for − a selfie with Josh Duhamel.
Alexi Rabin© June 21, 2017