‘Mr Keaton will not be signing autographs,” we were told last night at the UK Premiere of SPOTLIGHT at London’s Curzon Cinema in Mayfair. Michael and fellow cast members Mark Ruffalo and Stanley Tucci were due to arrive at six, but were held up. (It’s always a curiosity why Premieres are scheduled during rush hours – yes plural – when the traffic in Central London is gridlocked). In essence they were right. It is a physical impossibility to sign autographs when you are not physically there. SPOTLIGHT is the true story of the Boston Globes expose on the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdioceses and a leading contender for the BAFTA and Oscar Best Picture prizes.
The air temperature nudged zero and below by the time they arrived at 7.20, ten minutes before the start of the screening. The paps quickly grabbed pics as the trio raced into the cinema with only Stanley managing to sign on the run. We all hoped that, in a gesture of goodwill, since many had waited in the icy conditions for three plus hours that they might be persuaded to do some graphing on exit.
The film intro lasted five minutes and they emerged in a hurry to get to more media commitments… but stopped to accommodate the gathering, including Mr Keaton who approached the pen near the cinema entrance and attempted to sign, but the barriers began to buckle as the throng surged towards him. Security quickly ushered him towards his waiting vehicle, which, just so happened to be in front of me. The Curzon premieres are unique events when they decide not to close the street. The cast are always dodging drive-throughs in order to satisfy the fans camped on the other side. Anyway he saw this drawing I did of him in the title roles from BIRDMAN and BEETLEJUICE and said, “Oh that’s really nice,” signing and dedicating it for me. After a sporadic handful of graphs he departed.
Trivia note: I found out that his birth name was Michael Douglas, can’t think why he changed it.