BAFTA Red Carpet Report
Come rain, wind or snow...
The BAFTA red carpet running up to Covent Garden's Royal Opera House was a glamorous, if waterlogged affair tonight, with snow holding off only so the rain could dominate. Surrounded by improbably glamorous people wearing Gucci, Prada and Valentino, the Primark-clad Empire rubbed shoulders with - and gave a few static shocks to - the cream of A-List film talent.
First down the fire-torch lined promenade was Brit boy Dominic Coper, who is up next romancing Helen Mirren on stage in Phèdre, but at the awards to support his summer film Mamma Mia!, and to present an award, "to someone whose name I can't pronounce."
Terry Gilliam was next along, telling us about the progress with his long-languishing Don Quixote, saying that the script should be finished by the end of the month - having only taken seven years to "age and mellow" so far. He wouldn't, however, let on who was in line for the title role, but did dispel rumours that Billy Connelly would assume the position.
Penelope Cruz drifted past, with a gorgeous long black crossver gown - a look that was favoured by many of the female attendees, probably due to the wintery climate - including Kate Winslet (in Zac Posen) and Emma Watson, who rather sensibly opted to wear a coat over her frock. Also in the midst of the madness were the ever-indie looking Jim Sturgess, the stunningly red-lipsticked Marion Cottilard, and Marisa Tomei, wearing what looked to be a shiny Roman toga.
Michael Sheen, meanwhile, let us in on why he is so attracted to those real characters instead of fictional roles: "It's mainly because Peter Morgan writes them and then offers them to me!" He also admitted that he will play Tony Blair for a third time this year in A Special Relationship, telling us: "We're going to do another one, about Blair and Clinton mainly. It'll cover the whole time of Clinton's presidency and the relationship between American and England." But Sheen couldn't shed any light on who will take on the role of wandering-eyed-white-haired-one.
Patrick Stewart, along to present an award with Waiting For Godot and X-Men co-star Sir Ian McKellan, gave us at least a little hope that he will move back to the silver screen, having spent much of the last five years on the London stage, and even hinted that Professor Xavier would be back for more X-Men action soon enough, with a definite sounding "maybe" when asked by Empire if he would.
Also stopping for a chat was Danny Boyle, ever excited and enthusiastic, telling us he still isn't tired of talking about Slumdog Millionaire despite having been on the promotional trail with it for six months. When asked whether there would be a Slumdog 2, he was surprised, but Dev Patel took the idea and ran with it, saying: "What, Slumdog Trillionaire? They could have like 8 children and be on the run from the tax man, Jamal could turn into a wife beater... No of course not! But I don't want it to end."
Dev also shed light on his role in Avatar: (no, not James Cameron's Avatar) The Last Airbender, where he will play the Prince of the Fire Regions, a role he is relishing: "It's totally different: lots of CGI. I wanna have some fun. This is going to be well cool and I can do some martial arts, kick some butt. And then I'm going to go back to something real serious, with a really deep role."
Freida Pinto was also on hand, looking stunningly beautiful, as usual, in a pretty pale pink ruffled number, which managed to look stylish and sleek despite also slightly resembling a toilet-roll cover. She is taking the whole thing in her stride, and plans to get the awards season out of the way before she plots her next move.
And then the screams from the fans lining the carpet reached new heights with the arrival of the evening's biggest names, notably Brad Pitt, who playfully warmed Angelina Jolie in her skimpily strapless black and yellow pleat-fronted gown, Mickey Rourke (clad in his usual caddish smoking jacket) and Robert Downey Jnr., bringing the last ray of glitz to the already star-studded event, before the sodden and windswept but still glamorous crowd made their way inside for the awards themselves, and Empire repaired to the nearest hot cuppa.