Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Exclusive Recollections about the Premiere of The Gray Man

gray 12.JPG

The Gray Man Premiere: An Insider's Look from an Outsider’s Perspective

by Mariah Hake Thouin

I love my mom. We are fortunate enough to have a close mother-daughter relationship where we enjoy each other’s company, support one other, and call regularly. But we live on opposite sides of the country so we don’t get to spend much time in person together.

It all began with a donation to Christopher’s Haven by my mom, Lula. When she told me she won a charity contest through Omaze so we were going on a spontaneous, expenses-paid adventure to Hollywood, I was looking forward to finally getting the family time we had been craving.

And then my mom told me why we were going to Hollywood. We had been invited as the plus one guests of Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling at the red-carpet premiere of The Gray Man movie. It felt totally surreal. I had the giddy sense of a little girl, because I was going to get to live out that little girl fantasy that happens in so many movies: An ordinary person gets whisked away by someone who is royalty, or a celebrity, or just absurdly rich, and gets to experience how the other side lives for one exhilarating day. I found out we were about to be whisked away by two iconic actors to be their personal guests on the red-carpet and I couldn’t believe my mom had just won us a golden ticket for a real life movie magic experience!

When we arrived in Hollywood, countless workers were already setting up Hollywood Boulevard for the premiere. As setup grew closer and closer to completion, our anticipation grew higher and higher. From the balcony of our hotel, we could see walls being erected to make the event feel more exclusive. To make sure we looked the part, we spent the day getting ready. We were enjoying our mother-daughter bonding time while also indulging in a little bit of vanity and some desperately needed self care.

When we finally arrived at the red carpet, it had been redone in gray as a cheeky nod to the title of The Gray Man movie. We felt extra special as we were able to skip the line of influencers and personal guests and head straight through security to the red carpet entrance. There, we were greeted by joyful screams of fans and our heads danced in the background of photos in celebrity social media feeds.

Because we were “well-behaved guests” (i.e., we didn’t run up to random celebrities and try to steal locks of their hair), Netflix allowed us to spend the rest of the event in their VIP area. We took in the most supreme views of the red-carpet walk while sipping on fine cocktails. We partied alongside the cast of Selling Sunset, stunning models, the Russo family, Julia Butters, and more. It was hard to contain our excitement as celebrities sat next to us and we casually brushed arms throughout the night. The adrenaline made hours pass by in minutes and time finally came for us to get to meet Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling.

First we were brought over to Chris Evans. He had a charming and commanding presence about him, which made it feel somewhat like we were being introduced to Captain America. The three of us talked about Christopher’s Haven charity and our ties to Boston. Chris’s passion for the charity really showed through. He also made sure we were having a great time at the event and that we got the perfect photo to commemorate our evening. And, yes, ladies, he is just as jaw-droppingly handsome in person as he appears in the movies. (Of course not as handsome as my wonderful husband. I’m not trying to sleep on the couch after this article.)

Then we experienced the excitement of getting to meet Ryan Gosling, the only man who could pull off a powder blue suit and bleach blonde hair while still looking super suave and stylish. He was the most gracious host and even offered us a cocktail so we could toast the new movie together. He delighted us with stories about preparing for the movie with an immense amount of cardio and choreography for the action scenes.

Ryan was a polite and witty conversationalist who also made sure we got our moment in the sun when we were with him. He put his arms around me and had us wave at the fans so people would think we were famous and take our photos together.

What surprised me most was that both actors were so genuinely nice. You expect celebrities to be superhuman or to “put on a face” to be able to handle the craziness of fame with such grace. It was refreshing to experience first hand how funny, light-hearted, and undoubtedly human they were despite the thousands of cameras from press and fans pointed in their direction. After meeting the two film leads, we got to see the rest of the cast up close as they walked past us to exit the red carpet and make their way to the show. We followed suit and headed toward the theater.

Grauman’s Chinese Theater is a gorgeous piece of Hollywood history and held the largest movie screen I’d ever seen. We got to sit quite close to the screen amongst the celebrities we had seen in our VIP section at the premier. We even had to pass two sets of security ushers before making our way down to our seats. My mom and I found it odd that the entire row in front of us was cleared out even though the rest of the theater was nearly full. Our confusion was answered when right after lights went down for the show to start, two of the Jonas Brothers snuck into the row in front of us to enjoy the movie. We were already thoroughly impressed by our seats. However, after seeing that our seating area was good enough for the Jonas brothers, we definitely decided the seats were good enough for us, too.

The movie was action-packed yet funny, featured an overwhelmingly talented cast, and definitely worth the watch. Even though there was never a dull moment, I found I kept having to remind myself to pay attention to the movie because I was perpetually lost in thought over how unique and wonderful this experience was that my mom and I were sharing. When the movie came to a close, we spent the evening reminiscing about the day and the new memories we had made.

The Gray Man premiere event was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the glamor of Hollywood, the kindness of stars, and the thrill of an impressive action movie. And I’m glad I got to spend it with my favorite movie companion, my mom.

Mariah Hake Thouin is an MIT grad (with numerous patents) working as a mechanical engineer in Colorado.