When the flag is up – the Queen is home. I used to find this a sweet little tid bit of info but thanks to the ass tearing of 2011 – my love of all things royal – is no more. In April of 2011 I spent about three weeks across the pond preparing to cover that other royal wedding – the one of William and Kate. We had so many people and crews going to London – we were going to cover the fuck out of it. Anything you ever wanted to know about that wedding – we had it. We were launching an all out media war on London and I got to light the match on the first cannon ball fired.
Before we left town we had tons of war meetings in the conference room. We wanted to make sure we had every angle covered. Who knows someone who knows someone who knows anyone who knows anything about anyone who may or may not be going to the royal wedding? Who can we get to cover things for us over there? Who has a British accent? (that was all that was needed we figured) We were convinced Americans were gonna go bananas for this British shit and we were going to pull ourselves out of a ratings slump one royal wedding at a time. We were going to start super early and get a jump on the other idiots not slobbering all over this elegant crap.
A few of us went ahead of the rest of the team and used local crews to shoot b roll to feed back and get Americans excited about the wedding. Our first assignment was to ride around London in a double decker bus with giant ET banners on both sides of it. I wanted to die. I don’t know much about marketing but a two blondes a brunette and a red head on a bus screaming ROYAL WEDDING WOOOOO!!!! doesn’t exactly make me think “royal insiders.” On our third day there we got a big surprise! Hugh Jackman was going to get on our bus and do some stand ups for us. All we had to do was pull up to his hotel and wait for him. My boss was apoplectic about this “get” and wanted Hugh to say as much as possible. If she could have had him voice the whole fucking show she would. But we didn’t have a teleprompter and that meant he had to memorize everything. It started raining and we were set up on top of the bus. That’s right – out in the open! Yay! Then it decided to just switch to freezing cold weather. We forced him to keep popping champagne bottles and saying dumb shit. It was awful. But Hugh did something extraordinary – he read everything – he smiled – and he kissed me on both cheeks before saying thank you and floating away forever. I love that man. I still haven’t washed those cheeks.
Our next assignment was to go have tea and a hot air balloon ride at Jane Seymour’s house. That sounded fun!!! It wasn’t. Some asshole (probably me) decided that Jane should do her show wrap arounds from the hot air balloon. But you can’t get teleprompter in a hot air balloon so that meant we had to tether the basket to the ground – high enough to look like it was in the sky with me in the basket holding copy pages for jane to read. Unfortunately Jane was convinced I could be seen and made me squish down within an inch of my life at the very bottom of the basket. While I’m quite certain a balloon ride around the British countryside is lovely – the view up jane seymour’s nostrils wasn’t. She also ordered me to get her french fries at a cafe later on that night. Jane was kind of a bitch. Jane was probably pissed she got caught up in our shit show bull shit. I know I was. So I forgive her. Ish.
Every day we would get another crazy assignment and every day our heads would hit the pillow just as los angeles would wake us up for the morning call.
Once we got closer to the actual wedding date – what felt like our entire staff descended on London. We were happy we weren’t alone anymore. Maybe we’d finally get some sleep – ha! Then we all walked through the park over to our spot at Buckingham Palace and we knew – we were not in Kansas anymore. We were in – HOLY SHITVILLE.
IT WAS A SEA OF PRESS. EVERYWHERE. There was a two story scaffold city on eaach side of the main road into the palace housing press from around the world. Each twelve foot space had it’s own walls and each box was decorated very specifically to the network. We were right above Barbara Walters which terrified me because it would be bad if our host crushed Barbara Walters. Every one who’s anyone in the news world was there and within spitting distance of us. It was wild. It was an event to be sure – I just wasn’t sure why? None of us were going to the wedding. We weren’t going to see anything. We weren’t getting interviews. The only thing we were part of – was us. But there we all were – waiting for the wedding and then the shot where they come out on the balcony and wave. All this for a fucking wave. It was nuts. It was banana nuts. It was fucking banana nuts.
We were all working our asses off on no sleep and many many meetings. We had a suite in the hotel for morning and evening meetings and we had a massive tent set up with monitors and computers out in the middle of the park where we could watch our own show back in the states. We had this thing wired. London was set up for press. God knows how much money we spent but it was in the millions for sure. We spared no expense getting nothing better than everyone else. We could have stolen the BBC feed and re aired it and saved a fuck ton of money and no one would have cared.
I’ll never forget this one shot we just had to have. There was this balcony somewhere in London that looked just like the Buckingham Palace balcony the couple was going to wave from. We decided it had to be in the show that day which meant it had to be shot that second. So we all stopped what we were doing – and raced over there with talent and crew. The talent raced up the steps and burst out onto the balcony just as the cameras rolled and the talent perfectly shouted their copy. And cut! The cameraman looked at me and quietly said – “I wasn’t rolling.” What. The. Actual. Fuck. So I told him to just be quiet. I told my boss that I wanted to do it again just in case. She screamed at me for ten minutes solid and I thought that was the night I would get sent home but we did it again and got the shot and that cameraman got to live another day. It was in the show for about 1 second.
Every day we would march into that park and think up crazy new ways to cover a wedding no one had any access to. I’m not sure I ever worked that hard. It should have been fun and exhilarating but it was bloody awful. Today I watch the news and see that they are doing it all over again . This time they have an American princess and they are not sparing a second trying to uncover every awful little detail they can about this poor girl. All I know is – you HAVE to be madly in love or bat shit crazy to marry into the royal family because I’ve seen the press from the inside and we are not a pretty bunch. Waking up to that kind of scruitny every day? That’s love. It’s also something an actress knows how to do better than anyone.
I never went back to that job after the wedding. I remember we went out for dinner the night after it happened to Hakasaan and ate a billion dollars worth of food and charged it to the company. It wasn’t enough. But it was a start.