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Friday, June 24 2016 08:00

Rockin' the Red Carpet at Disney's The BFG Premiere...

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Like young Sophie is plucked from a window by The BFG ahead of an adventure in Giant Country, The Rock Father is plucked from Illinois by Disney for an adventure in 'Dream Country'... Hollywood.

It's pretty safe to say I live a dual-life at this point... or at least, it certainly seems like it at times. I have a bad habit of getting caught up in flight delays, and that's just what happened Wednesday night as my 5pm flight out of LAX became a 6:30-ish departure thanks to stormy weather in Chicago. A midnight landing found our plane without a gate, and by the time we had one an hour later, there was no one there to attach the sky bridge to the plane so we could properly deboard. By the time I was off the plane and caught the train to economy lot E followed by a quick bus ride to lot G and an hour drive home, I was back at HQ after 3am. I was running again by 7, my day consisting of taking the girls to/from Summer Academy/Camp, and stopping by Meijer for some groceries before half falling asleep on the couch with the kids while checking out LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures. While my norm is here in Lake County, I was back on the red carpet for the U.S. Premiere of Disney's The BFG this week... another adventure, and a big one - for a friendly giant

The Rock Father at the Premiere of Disney's The BFG
Pictured: The Rock Father on the Red Carpet at the El Capitan Theatre with his Funko Pop! Vinyl version of The BFG. Entertainment Earth was the source of BFG Pop! Vinyl figures for all 25 members of #TheBFGEvent. Want your own BFG Pop? Click here!

Having already made its World Premiere at Cannes last month, the U.S. Premiere of The BFG was perhaps a tad more subdued than it may have been, had it been the first big splash for the film - an event that felt more casual than the first Disney Premiere I had the opportunity to attend, that of Jon Favreau's THE JUNGLE BOOK, back in March. I've had the good fortune over the years to build a great friendship with the folks at The Walt Disney Company, and it's always an honor and a privilege when they invite me to attend an event as their guest (and on Mickey's dime, disclosure and all) - a red carpet being among the pinnacles.

While I was not one of the legions of kids who grew up on Roald Dahl's 1982 book, The BFG, I was one of the kids that grew up on another icon of 1982, Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. All these years later, Dahl's story would come to life on the big screen under Spielberg's direction, from a screenplay by E.T. writer Melissa Mathison (who sadly lost a battle to cancer last year), with an original score by the legendary John Williams, whose iconic themes (including E.T., JAWS, INDIANA JONES and STAR WARS) have been a regular part of my personal playlists for my entire life.

The BFG U.S. Premiere - Jonathan Holmes; Paul Moniz de Sa; Daniel Bacon; Chris Gibbs; Jemaine Clement; Penelope Wilton; Mark Rylance; Ruby Barnhill; Bill Hader; Steven Spielberg; Rebecca Hall; Rafe Spall; John Williams; Frank Marshall
(L-R) Actors Jonathan Holmes, Paul Moniz de Sa, Daniel Bacon, Chris Gibbs, Jemaine Clement, Penelope Wilton, Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Bill Hader, director Steven Spielberg, actors Rebecca Hall, Rafe Spall, composer John Williams and producer Frank Marshall (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

Walking the carpet and grabbing some pictures early-on in the evening, our group headed across the street to the Hard Rock Cafe for the official Premiere Party, grabbing some drinks and snacks while Spielberg and recent Oscar-winner Mark Rylance (who stars as 'The BFG') hung out with family and friends nearby. I spotted some familiar faces roaming the party, including FRESH OFF THE BOAT's Forrest Wheeler (who I'd met last year), Sophie Reynolds (who I'd interviewed on the set of GAMER'S GUIDE TO PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING last summer), and LAST MAN ON EARTH's Kristen Schaal (FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS). 

As our group headed back across the street and settled into our seats at the El Capitan Theatre for the Premiere screening, I was quietly in awe of the fact that we were about to watch a film while some of the most influential forces in entertainment were seated right behind us - people who have not only made such a lasting impact on the world, but whose work has been such a big part of my own life. Premieres are always a special thing, but being a part of this one felt extraordinary... magical. From the crowd reaction upon seeing Cinderella's Castle and the Disney Logo followed by E.T. and Elliott flying into frame for the Amblin Entertainment card, it was obvious that I was not alone in that feeling, and the movie was just getting started.

On July 1, 2016, audiences will be able to enjoy The BFG in theaters everywhere, with a new generation of children bound to experience a film to which they will hold a lifelong connection -- this coming from a "big kid" back in Illinois, typing these words while a statue of E.T. looms nearby, now accompanied by a new friend...

E.T. and The BFG at Rock Father HQ

The BFGDisney's THE BFG:

The talents of three of the world’s greatest storytellers – Roald Dahl, Walt Disney and Steven Spielberg –finally unite to bring Dahl’s beloved classic “The BFG” to life. Directed by Spielberg, Disney’s “The BFG” tells the imaginative story of a young girl and the Giant who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country. The BFG (Mark Rylance), while a giant himself, is a Big Friendly Giant and nothing like the other inhabitants of Giant Country. Standing 24-feet tall with enormous ears and a keen sense of smell, he is endearingly dim-witted and keeps to himself for the most part. Giants like Bloodbottler (Bill Hader) and Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement) on the other hand, are twice as big and at least twice as scary and have been known to eat humans, while the BFG prefers Snozzcumber and Frobscottle. Upon her arrival in Giant Country, Sophie, a precocious 10-year-old girl from London, is initially frightened of the mysterious giant who has brought her to his cave, but soon comes to realize that the BFG is actually quite gentle and charming, and, having never met a giant before, has many questions. The BFG brings Sophie to Dream Country where he collects dreams and sends them to children, teaching her all about the magic and mystery of dreams. Having both been on their own in the world up until now, their affection for one another quickly grows, but Sophie’s presence in Giant Country has attracted the unwanted attention of the other giants, who have become increasingly more bothersome. Sophie and the BFG soon depart for London to see the Queen (Penelope Wilton) and warn her of the precarious giant situation, but they must first convince the Queen and her maid, Mary (Rebecca Hall), that giants do indeed exist. Together, they come up with a plan to get rid of the giants once and for all. 

Get tickets now via Fandango.

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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