Guest Blog: Peter Lord's Pirates! Diary Part 6 - Viva Las Vegas
Posted on Thursday March 15, 2012, 15:20 by Peter Lord in Empire States
Ahoy swabs and lubbers! This blog comes to you live and direct from Las Vegas (cue trashy theme music). I make no apologies for being here. Heaven knows, I spent long enough in the Aztec West Business Park, north of Bristol. Now that I’ve actually finished the Pirates movie, I’ve got a couple of chances to experience the outside world and by Neptune I’m going to seize them.
I’m in Vegas to meet with members of the World’s Press (which now I come to think about it must be a club with about a hundred thousand members). There were about fifty here this weekend from all over – Japan, Italy, Russia, Chile, you know the sort of thing. I’m not going to list the countries of the World: just “all over”. I’m here to meet them because publicity is important. Nobody’s going to go and see the movie if they haven’t heard of it, so right now my job – and my obsession – is to try to get the message out to as many people as possible.
Now I say ‘meet’ the Press, but it’s not your standard form of meeting. It’s called a Press Junket. I’ve only ever encountered a junket in connection with movies (well, except the sort of junket that you eat) so I’m no expert. But let me give you some idea how it works.
First I did a Press Conference on my own with thirty or so journalists. They’d all seen the film the previous evening, so everybody knew what we were talking about. Next came a series of video interviews alongside Hugh Grant – who plays, as if you didn’t know, the Pirate Captain.
The way it works is you have three cameras: one pointing at me, one at Hugh and the third one at an empty chair. A journalist comes in, says hello and sits in the third chair and then they have six minutes to record an interview. Somewhere out of sight, someone is counting down the minutes so the journalist knows when the end is nigh. Then they stand up, we say goodbye and a new journalist takes the chair. And so on for, well, I lost count: maybe twenty journalists. We sit still, and the journalists come and go. It’s quite odd.
And then the third junket element is the ‘Round Table’ and here Hugh and I enter a room and sit down at – yes, you guessed – a round table (though square is also acceptable) with six or eight journalists who all chip in questions. Everybody records all the answers of course. It’s actually quite difficult talking to so many people even though it’s about a film I love and care for. After a while you inevitably start to repeat yourself. Then you can’t remember what you’ve said, and to whom. Then the remarks which were spontaneous first time around come out sounding sort of contrived at their fifth outing, so you try to vary it a bit and say something new, and suddenly after twenty interviews you do say something new and smart and you think, ‘Why haven’t I been saying that all day?’
Hugh has done a lot more of this sort of thing than I have – he’s the expert – and he has a great line in self-deprecating comedy. He’s English. That’s what we do. Many of the journalists have met him before – maybe many times – it’s like a junket reunion, and many of them want to talk about his plans for future films and projects. Phone hacking, press freedom and Bridget Jones are mentioned quite a lot!
Anyway, it’s all done now. I can continue to drink in the special joys of Vegas: handy on-street volcanoes, 24-hour non-stop Cirque du Soleil action, public drinking and smoking, gondola rides – you know, all the stuff you expect in Nevada. After a few hours, I slip into one of the many casinos this fine town has to offer and unfortunately lose most of my life savings. This is going to be tricky to explain to my wife when I get home.